The scenario - my mother in law is throwing a baby shower. I volunteered to get enough stamps since I would easily pass a post office on the way home and it is easier for me to get them.
I buy stamps. The line was long so I simply bought them from the vending machine. They were lovely stamps with the American flag on them.
I arrive at her house to drop them off. She opens them up, purses her lips, and says “These won’t do. They are supposed to go on baby shower invitations. They should be themed appropriately.”
Pardon me? The world has now become anal retentive enough that stamps on the outside of an envelope that will most assuredly be thrown away 10 seconds after ripping it into pieces must have some relationship to the contents within? This strikes me as nuts beyond belief. Most people will not notice the stamp. They will be so busy wetting themselves over the fact that someone likes them enough to send them a letter that they will not even see the stamp. If they do see the stamp, it’s not like an American flag stamp on a baby shower invite will cause them to not come to the party. After all, I didn’t buy “The Cavalcade of Serial Rapists” series or “A Salute to Toxic Landfills and Indian Burial Grounds.” They are normal freaking stamps that anyone would use.
Plus, the people receiving these cards are either family or close friends. These are not people that care about having a perfect match between stamp and contents. Just normal, average people that are probably happy you spelled their last name correctly. You see these people’s homes. When you enter, you don’t have to weave a labyrinthian path among 8 foot high piles of old newspapers, detergent boxes, and used coffee grounds that resemble the profiles of movie stars.
The invitation will be tacked on the fridge until the party happens. At that point, it will be forgotten until spring cleaning three months from now. By that point the stupid envelope with the long since forgotten stamp will have turned into a charred glob of filth at the bottom of some landfill in New Jersey.
The mind frequently boggles at some people’s expectations of the U.S. Postal Service. “Themed appropriately” for a baby shower? What kind of stamps does she think the Post Office sells? Maybe she thinks it’s like the Paper Warehouse, where you have all these “theme party” supplies, with napkins and paper plates and stuff, and that the Post Office has “Barney Party” stamps and “Golden Anniversary” stamps and “40th Birthday” stamps (those would be black, of course)…
Tell her, from me, married to a 19-year veteran letter carrier, “Trust me, honey, the Post Office does not make ‘baby shower’ stamps.”
It sounds silly, but I always like to buy interesting or pretty stamps. She probably wanted ones with flowers or something. I’m anal about it, but not enough so to complain if someone got the wrong ones.
I just got some really great ones that commemorate different photographers, some of the stamps really do look like art work.
She probably wanted Love stamps or something; the USPS usually has those. I’ll admit to having purchased Love stamps for my wedding invitations, but I went out and bought my own damned stamps. Flag stamps would have been just fine for me. Oh, and I usually buy seasonal stamps for my winter holiday cards.
[hijack]DDG, I’m married to a letter carrier too. People always find it weird when I say I buy the stamps for our house, but his office is strict about their policy of “no carriers in the front unless they’re on lunch, and even then you wait in line”. It turns out to be more convenient for me to hit the stamp machine that I pass daily in the train station. [/hijack]
If only more people had…
I will buy Christmas themed stamps for my holiday cards if they’re available, but AFAIC, I’m an American and I will go out of my way to buy at least American Flag stamps, if I cannot get the preferred Heroes of 9/11 stamp (the one with the firemen hoisting the Flag at Ground Zero)
I, too, try to avoid the Themed Envelope stamp thing.
When we sent out our wedding invitations ( 1993) I opted for the
**Elvis ** stamp.
what is even more anal retentive is people ( mainly women) who *match * their paper towels to the room.
Ummmmm. They are paper towels. A transient thing in your house and you can’t decide between the Bouty Quicker Picker Upper with a Floral theme or the Scott Paper Towels with Cows on them.
It’s just a friggin’ paper towel. I hate to see how much your knickers would get in a twist if toilet paper suddenly had designs and motifs.
Actually, Shirl, for a long time toilet paper did have designs printed on it…little roses and bows and shit, in a variety of colors. There are still brands that have designs imprinted into the sheets. Printed toilet paper was single-handedly responsible for escalating the bitter and divisive Roll Hanging Wars, wherein my mother and I pushed for the convention of hanging the toilet paper so the designs were right-side up.
At any rate, to get back to the point, an amazing lot of people get really bent out of shape over this. You should have seen the wailing and gnashing of teeth on the wedding planning board because the new Love stamps weren’t available immediately after the rate hike. You would have thought these women’s marriages weren’t going to be legal, the way they were carrying on.
And you really should have heard the howling when they actually saw the new Love stamps. Apparently, it’s not pretty and romantic enough to use on an envelope that will immediately be thrown away. Whatever.
When we send out our wedding announcements (we didn’t do invitations), I’m getting the spay/neuter stamps. I was going to use them for the wedding invitations till we decided not to do them.
Postage stamps are indeed miniature, mass-produced versions of art. Real artists paint those pictures. You know that people collect stamps, right? Many of the pictures are gorgeous.
The USPS currently sells 37-cent postage stamps with pictures of antique toys on them, which would be pretty super for a baby shower. Not that I believe stamps should match the contents. I don’t even use Xmas stamps at Xmas.