In case you are wondering if stamps are still relevant in today’s world, the answer is yes. Stamps do not go out of fashion although the advent of the internet and e-mails have made its widespread use much reduced. Since the introduction of the first stamp in Britain in 1840, they have been used as the form of payment for taking letters and packages from one point to another using the postal system.
Though stamps are small pieces of paper, their value lies in what they represent. They carry the messages close to our heart: declarations of love, job applications, and congratulations; to where we want them.
How Did Stamps Change The Face Of Communication?
Before phones, letters were the most important means of communicating among family and friends that do not live together. The anticipation preceding the arrival of a letter from a loved one can be likened to how we now await the arrival of the latest iPhone series. But the early postal system was a luxury, affordable to the rich only.
It was expensive (charging was based on the distance covered and the number of sheets of paper contained in a letter) and the recipient had to pay for a letter. It was also labor intensive, and the system did not use mass transportation. The truth is that the system did not give access to the individual to enjoy personal communication across great distances.
Rowland Hill changed this. He felt that the postal tariff was ridiculous (which it was) and proposed that the system be scrapped. He gave a better form of charging: a uniform fee of one penny, paid by the sender. He was at first met with resistance but after three years and a lot of work, the first stamp ever, the Penny Black, came out. There is no better evidence to support how this revolutionized the communication industry as the number of letters sent in the following year – 70 million! Not to be left out, the United States came out with her own stamps on July 1, 1847.
Where To Get Stamps
Believe me; I have not forgotten that this is not a History lesson so let us go back to what you really need. Because we send most of our letters in the electronic format, it is not surprising that you hardly find people having stamps lying around in the house. What this means is that when you do need stamps, you visualize a visit to the post office.
Well, you don’t have to. You can buy postage stamps through these other means without stepping into the post office. You may choose to:
- buy your stamps online:
- buy at ATMs
- check your favorite grocery chain/pharmacy
- buy at office supply stores
- buy at USPS kiosks
- make a call
Buying stamps online: If you have ever asked the question where can I buy stamps near me, one of the answers is: on your personal computer. Go to www.usps.com and register. To register, you should click on ‘sign up’ where you are expected to provide your shipping information and create a password. After this, click n ‘quick tools’ on the landing page. Go to ‘buy stamps’ and select the stamp you want. You will also have to indicate the quantity and the format you prefer. There are stamps they will only allow you to buy sheets. Add the selected stamps to your cart. Go to checkout and follow the payment prompts. You can use a credit card or a debit card with a MasterCard or VISA logo to pay.
Buy at ATMs: If you live on the West Coast, there are automated teller machines sell stamps especially Wells Fargo. You can even buy single stamps there. The beauty about this is that you can buy your stamp 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week.
Your favorite grocery chain or pharmacy sell stamps: Many chain stores now stock stamps in a bid to make life easier for their customers. From Walmart, Walgreen’s, CVS, RiteAid to Bartell Drugs, Krogers, Wegmans, and Winco. Most stores do not sell single stamps but rather by the booklet i.e. 20 stamps. They are a convenient means of buying stamps near you as most of them have stores within a walking distance to wherever you may live in the US. If you are not sure of where a particular store is, use the store locator to find it.
Office Supply Stores: These stores are not only for stationery and office supplies; you can buy stamps there too. Office Depot has about 2,000 outlets across the United States and they carry stamps. Staples is another popular store that sells stamps. Be ready to buy a booklet of stamps when you go over, neither store sells single stamps.
Buy Stamps at USPS Kiosks: These kiosks are automated postal center managed by the United States Postal Service. There are 2,495 of these kiosks in the US and they stay open through all the hours of the day and night. The operation here is similar to what you do when withdrawing funds at the ATM. Touch the screen and select ‘buy stamps’. You can make your choice of stamps from express mail, priority mail, international postage, or forever stamps. Pay with a debit, credit, or EBT card and take your stamps. Log out and take your card.
Make a call: Call the United States Postal Service at 1-800-782-6724 any day of the week. State the type of stamps and the amount you need. Give your credit card information and wait for your stamps. Apart from the cost of your stamps, you will be charged a small handling fee.
So, you see there are many other options available to you when you need to buy stamps. From getting it delivered to your doorstep to picking some along with your groceries, you no longer have to go to the post office for your stamp needs.
Did I overlook an important place? Kindly mention it in the comments.
STAMPS ARE STILL IMPORTANT IN TODAY’S WORLD
Stamps are the evidence that you have paid for your letter or package to be mailed to the destination you requested. The mail handler sees it, then go ahead to process your mail and send it where. I realize that e-mails have replaced snail mail method of communication for many people. Still, hundreds of thousands of mails are still sent each month. Stamps thus make life easier for the post office staff.
They use it to sort mails into the right category so a mail handler can determine how important a mail is by looking at the stamp affixed to it. It also shows whether a mail is to enjoy priority in its journey to its destination. So the handler knows whether to send it by airplane, boat, or car. Stamps usually show a national designation with the name of the country printed on it.
As a customer, you can also customize your mails with the aid of stamps. Personalized stamps allow you stick your photos on it to add sentimental value to what you are sending. For business-related mails, you can use special postage stamps that cost more but which will ensure your mail enjoys top priority. Such mails get delivered quickly.
Uses of Stamps In These Modern Times
Stamps still enjoy use in today’s world. The use of stamps includes but is not limited to the following:
- Stamps form stamp duties during the transfer of assets
- People collect stamps as a hobby
- Posting of letters is the most widespread use of stamps
They form the reason for the term ‘stamp duty’: The legal documents used in the transfer of assets and properties must bear what is known as stamp duty in certain states of the United States as well as countries like Singapore and Australia. Such properties could be homes, copyrights, lands, buildings, securities, or patents. In places where this law holds, no transfer of documents is legal unless a stamp, bearing the amount of tax paid, is attached. The stamps used goes by the title revenue stamp but postage stamps may also be used for revenue purposes.
Stamp collection: This is one hobby that has stayed for many years. Stamp collection means the gathering of materials related to the payment of postage and carrying mails. Stamp collectors have albums in which they stick their stamps. Though it was once the most popular hobby in the world, it still holds the interest of Kings, aristocrats, tutors, children, men, women, young, old. There are more than 5 million collectors in the United States only. Warren Buffet, Bill Gross, and Patrick Dempsey are all stamp collectors.
There are countries that produce postage stamps strictly meant for stamp collectors. Such stamps will never bear a postal mark.
Collectors may base their collection on themes that are important to them such as football, maps, famous people, butterflies, ships, etc. Some may also collect based on countries or continents.
What makes stamp collection very interesting is that it acts as a meeting point of a collector’s personal interest and their love for stamps. To show how serious collectors take stamp collecting, there are stamp clubs where serious collectors go to meet others and learn more.
Posting of letters and postcards: This is what almost everybody identifies stamps with. The stamps you affix to your letters or package depend on the weight of what you are sending. On the average, you will spend between $0.30-0.90 for letters and $22 for packages.
Where Can I Buy Stamps Near Me?
There are many stores and pharmacies that sell stamps. They include:
- Office Max
- Rite Aid
- University Bookstores
- CVS Pharmacy
- Bartell Drugs
- Piggly Wiggly
- Stop & Shop
- Sam’s Club
- Food Lion
- Food City
- Farm Fresh
- Giant Eagle
And of course, you have the United States Postal Service offices and self-service kiosks. Anytime you need stamps, get to any of these stores to satisfy your needs.