- The US Postal Service has added a white, envelope-covered crop top to its online store, one of its few sources of revenue.
- The USPS is in the midst of a financial crisis, accelerated by plummeting letter mail amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The mail service doesn’t rely on tax dollars for its operations, so buying stamps and other items from its store — like said crop top and other funky gifts — supports the struggling operation.
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If we’re honest, the first place we go to satisfy our boredom-induced online shopping craving isn’t the United States Postal Service gift shop. But, this new rainbow-accented crop top asks, why shouldn’t it be?
The USPS, contrary to what you might assume, doesn’t get tax dollars to fund its work. It relies on sales of postage, products, and services, and it’s currently in a financial situation the Government Accountability Office calls “deteriorating and unsustainable.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the problem, as employees struggle to deliver our mail without falling ill while receiving orders from above not to log overtime. As of May, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the union that represents USPS city carriers, said the operation would run out of cash by September, despite a (smaller-than-requested) line of help from the CARES Act stimulus package and online campaigns to save the USPS.
There are beach towels and tote bags, T-shirts and wallets. There’s a 3D T-Rex puzzle, and Earth Day coasters with patterns cute enough to distract you from the climate crisis. There’s a stamp necklace draped in 14-karat gold, and framed artwork for every occasion.
But most importantly, there’s a new addition to the lineup: the white, long-sleeved crop top you see above, with rainbow-colored envelopes and “US MAIL” written down the arms, all for just $20. What does this crop top scream? It screams that you support the US Postal Service, and that you do it in style.
No, $20 won’t overcome the pile of factors weighing on the USPS financially, such as a 2006 law requiring the pre-funding of pensions and healthcare for the next 75 years, plummeting letter-mail volumes amid the pandemic, and Amazon taking advantage. There’s also the fact that its fleet of delivery trucks has long outlived its life expectancy, and they’re now catching on fire. But stamp and product purchases do help, even if just a little.
So, for the price of a mere 40 stamps, wear your love for the US Postal Service instead of just tweeting about it. Buy the stamps too, though, because you probably have a backlog of thank-you cards that you really need to get around to sending.
Your love for the USPS, and your midriff, never looked so good.