USPS says Amazon should pay 9-12% more for shipping, after Trump criticizes USPS for not charging Amazon more


You seem to remember that because of a rather targeted political act aimed at undermining the post office. The post office has pension funding requirements that aren’t shared by other private or governmental entities. On top of that they don’t have the authority to change their prices when fuel costs rise. That meant that when fuel prices spiked starting in 2003-2014 they couldn’t adjust prices on their own. So while fuel prices more than doubled, the cost of a first class letter only rose by about 35%. A quick look around says the private carriers raised prices by about 5% a year over that period.


Consumerism promotes pollution. Pollution causes climate change. Amazon prime promotes consumerism. It is consumerism on steroids.


Careful there, USPS, Amazon might just start it’s own Amazon Postal Service. They already got the delivery vans, see their trailers everywhere here now, and even bought some freighter 757s.


Except the USPS is not a for profit brick and mortar commercial operation. It is a government service. It is not supposed to be subject to the same market forces as private carriers. The sole criteria of a government service is that it meets the needs of those serviced.


This would have a devastating impact on book-to-prisoners programs. Postage is already a major expense.


Ask any postman who has been with USPS for more than a decade, the US Post is in a weird limbo. It’s a government service, but it’s supposed to be run like a business, and it has been hamstrung with really stringent rules for its pensions and health care that other government agencies don’t have.


Nearly every small US-based seller on ebay and discogs and amazon marketplace uses the USPS for shipments. Only $4 to send an LP or a book from Maine to Hawaii via media mail is a deal UPS can’t match. It’s not just behemoths like amazon, but small re-sellers who scour thrift stores for valuable junk that bring USPS most of it’s revenue.


I think there is a reason for that…


You probably know by now, but that’s not at all how it works. Surprisingly to many (at least U.S. citizens), shipping costs are always paid by the shipper (even when sent C.O.D.), and sales taxes are taxes on sales, not purchases - they’re always paid by the seller, not the buyer.

Of course the costs have to get passed on to the customer, but how they do is up to the seller.

Around here (unlike some other countries) it’s traditional to itemize those costs on at the end, so that the shelf prices look lower and people will put more things in their cart. This comes directly from brick-and-mortar sales where once people get to the checkout with things, they don’t want to go put them back, they’re under social pressure, possibly time pressure, and they know to expect the checkout total to come out to more than the shelf total.

It’s also traditional to have really complex hard-to-precaculate formulas for those add-on charges. Shipping is by some combination of weight, volume, speed, and method or shipper, taxes are a byzantine maze of percentages which vary by location and product classification, sometimes tiered state and municipal, sometimes not. People just expect undetermined add-on fees at brick-and-mortar stores and are under pressure to not argue or deliberate about them.

But once people started shopping online, a curious thing was discovered. It’s not like being at a store where a clerk has just rung up and bagged all your items, and people are waiting behind you in line, and you’re in a rush. Getting to the last step of checkout and suddenly getting a bunch of fees tacked on, and/or having to make unpleasant choices between having shipping delayed or paying more, kinda pisses people off.

It’s just a quick and easy anonymous click away to a competitor, which won’t inconvenience any clerks or other shoppers. There are huge differences in conversion rates for sites that present barriers at checkout vs those that don’t. Abandoned carts are the norm in e-commerce. When I did e-commerce, I pushed hard for sellers to just amortize those costs across their sales and post the final prices up front. Make checkout as smooth, easy, and quick as possible while people are still in the “I’ve decided to buy this” mode. I told them that any competitors that did so and places like Amazon would eat their lunch.

They never listened. They were stuck in brick-and-mortar thinking. Oddly, they tended to come back with even more complicated shipping and tax formulas and more complicated checkout workflows with more decisions, that would drive more people away. Those sites are mostly long gone now.


The seller pays the shipping. How they recover those costs is up to them. That includes whether they call it out as a separate line item to the customer or not. A good way to get more sales is to not do that, call it ‘free’ shipping, and recover the costs elsewhere.


Well it depends on how you define “our pocket” really. If you offer free shipping it is because you can still sustain adequate margin/profit levels whilst doing so. If you could not, then you would increase prices or charge for shipping (or decide to live with a lower profit margin, if it would not put you out of business) - choices you may face if USPS increases costs, admittedly. But spending $4k per month on postage is some sort of sign of success, not something to be offered sympathy for because it “comes out of our pocket”.


Well, apart from the perhaps more important issues raised by the reply from @generic_name regarding USPS’s treatment directly, your comment would be true in an ideal world. USPS ought to be evaluated as a social good, as you imply. But for most fuckwit right-wing Reaganite/Thatcherite neo-liberal morons (i.e. those in charge of our economies and governments) this smacks of ‘socialism’. If it meets the needs of those it serves THEN WHY ISN’T IT MAKING A PROFIT?!?!?!
If it is profitable then privatise it. If it isn’t, then it is just government interfering in and distorting market forces. This is pretty much how they think.


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