Coming June 20: Stop And Smell The…Er…Stamps?

On May 22 the United States Postal Service (USPS) made an important announcement that was second perhaps only to North Korea’s complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization:

Scratch-and-Sniff Stamps.

The first ever.


Yes, that’s right.

Scratch-and-Sniff Frozen Treats Forever stamps.

This is a collection of 10 stamps that when scratched and sniffed, will emit an odor – excuse me, a scent, to use the USPS word – that will maybe smell like the picture on the stamps.  According to the USPS official announcement, the stamps feature:

…The work of Margaret Berg of Santa Monica, CA, depicting whimsical watercolor illustrations of frosty, colorful, icy pops on a stick…Today, Americans love cool, refreshing ice pops on a hot summer day.  The tasty, sweet confections come in a variety of shapes and flavors.

It’s unclear whether the stamps’ scents will come in a variety of flavors.

does anybody care croppedIt’s unclear whether anbody’s going to care.

But USPS no doubt thinks it’s a clever marketing ploy and we’ll keep buying the stamps until we’re sure we’ve scratched and sniffed all of them.

It’s also unclear as to why USPS is doing this, except to:

…add the sweet scent of summer to letters of love, friendship, party invitations and other mailings…

In other words, for the betterment of mankind, specifically, the ever-dwindling number of people who use snail mail.

But speaking of marketing, picture a bunch of USPS honchos sitting around a conference room table and saying…

Team Leader:  Team, I’ll cut to the chase.  You’ve all seen our fiscal report for 2017 that detailed our loss of $2.7 billion.  The Postal Service has now incurred cumulative netbusinesspeople sad losses of $63.6 billion from 2007 through June 2017.  In addition, we will most likely default on $6.9 billion in payments for future retiree health benefits for the fifth consecutive year.  We owe $33.9 billion in unfunded retiree health obligations from unpaid dues in 2012 through 2016.

Silence.  And then…

downward graphTeam Member #1:  Um…were all those “billion” with a “b”?

Team Leader:  Yes.  We’ve now operated at a financial loss for 11 straight years.  Going forward, what are we going to do about this?

Team Member #2:  Um…how about raising the rates?

Team Leader:  Now, that’s thinking outside the box.  But we just raised the rates on January 1 – now it’s 50 cents to mail a first-class letter.  So I don’t think our customers – the few that are left – will buy into another increase.

Team Member #3:  How about if we get more people to buy more stamps?

Team Leader:  OK, let’s run with that.  How do we do that?

Silence.  And then…stickers vintage

Team Member #4:  Well, I had an idea…it might sound crazy, but – does anybody remember scratch-and-sniff?

Silence.  And then…

Team Leader:  I vaguely remember that.  I’d assumed it referred to a rather nasty skin condition?

Team Member #4:  No!  Scratch-and-sniff was popular during the late 1970s to mid-1980s, and people would buy stickers that had pictures on them, scratch them, and that would produce a smell related to the picture.

Team Leader:  And why would people do this?

scratch peachTeam Member #4:  Well, it was mostly for kids, and teachers used the stickers as rewards.  So if you were a good student, the teacher would put a sticker on your homework assignment and you could scratch and sniff it!  Like, um…a peach or an apple!

Team Leader:  So as a reward, a kid could sniff a peach or an apple?

Team Member #4:  Um, yeah. kid smelling apple cropped

Team Leader:  Couldn’t they just sniff the real thing?

Silence.  And then…

Team Member #5:  I think I see where he’s going with this.  Scratch-and-sniff stamps, right?  We create scratch-and-sniff stamps, and customers will use them on their mail, and the recipients will get so excited when they scratch and sniff the stamps that they’ll go out and buy them, too?

Team Member #4:  Yes, exactly!

General murmuring in the room.  And then…

Team Leader:  So scratch-and-sniff was popular in the late 70s to mid-80s.  The fact of the matter is, half the population of the U.S. is under 40, so they won’t even remember this, or why anyone wanted to do it.  Are we all on the same page?

Team:  Um, yes.

crowd post officeTeam Leader:  Then let’s get our ducks in a row.  We’re considering a scratch-and-sniff stamp, with an odor – I mean, smell – yet to be determined.  We produce scratch-and-sniff stamps and the masses will go wild buying them and everyone will be scratching and sniffing?

Team:  Yes!!!

Team Leader:  And it won’t be due to a nasty skin condition?

Team:  No!!!

Silence.  And then…

Team Leader:  OK, team, this really has legs.  I want to see – and smell – a prototype first thing tomorrow morning.  I want to really crush the envelope on this.

Team Member #3:  Ah, I think you meant push the envelope?

Team Leader:  No, I meant crush.  This is the Post Office, after all.  I want a big, splashy first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony on that Facebook thing, I want Tweetter, and I want kids – lots of media coverage of kids scratching and sniffing and demanding their parents buy the new stamps.  So somebody come up with an odor.  I mean, smell. gym shoes Whatever.

Team Member #5:  I’ll find a smell that will be expensive to produce and kids will love!  Like popcorn!  Or chocolate!  Or dirty gym shoes!

Team Member #4:  I’ll find a company that remembers how to make expensive scratch-and-sniff!

painter croppedTeam Member #3:  I’ll find an expensive artist to create images!  Something whimsical!

Team Member #2:  I’ll find an expensive art designer!  No, I’ll find two expensive art designers!

Team Member #1:  And I’ll…I’ll…find something expensive, too!

Team Leader:  Team, I see a paradigm shift coming!  I envision multiple lines of scratch and sniff – today, ice pops; tomorrow, animals, vegetables, and um…did somebody say dirty gym shoes?  The Post Office is on its way to Profit City!

Profit City Print Screen

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