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The Postal Service lost $1.1 billion in its latest quarter. That number would be even larger if it weren’t for direct
mailings, which now constitute 52 percent of mail volume, up from 38 percent in 1990. Revenue from direct mail “is
the financial underpinning of the Postal Service—it could not survive without it,” says Michael Coughlin, former
But 89 percent of consumers say in polls that they’d prefer not to receive direct-marketing mail; 44 percent of it is
never opened. That’s why 19 state legislatures have debated Do Not Mail lists, which would function just like the
federal Do Not Call list. But partly due to opposition from postal workers, not a single bill has passed. When
Colorado state Rep. Sara Gagliardi held a public meeting on a bill she was sponsoring, she was surprised when a
crowd of postal workers showed up to express vehement opposition.
Both the Postal Service and the Direct Marketing Association say direct mail is a key source of customers for small
businesses. “Advertising mail is a very valuable product to many consumers,” says Sam Pulcrano, Postal Service
vice president for sustainability, who points to two-for-one pizza coupons as especially welcome surprises. To blunt
opposition, the DMA recently launched the Mail Moves America coalition to lobby against the restrictions.
GreenDimes founder Pankaj Shah isn’t sympathetic. Not only is his company providing a service to consumers, he
says, but it has also used its fees to plant more than 1 million trees. “We’re all about giving consumers choice, not
about bringing down the post office,” he says. Still, as more consumers opt out of junk mail, rain, sleet and gloom of
night may seem like the least of mail carriers’ problems. From Newsweek October 27, 2008 © 2008 Harman Newsweek LLC, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission and protected by the Copyright Laws
of the United States. The printing, copying, redistribution, or retransmission of the Material without express written permission is prohibited. © 2012 The College Board.
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-7- 2012 AP® ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION FREE-RESPONSE QUESTIONS Source F
Cullen, Kevin. “Sending, Getting ‘Real’ Mail Still
Magic.” Commercial-News. Commercial-News,
20 Mar. 2010. Web. 28 Sept. 2010. The following is excerpted from an online article.
E-mail is fast and simple, but to me an old-fashioned, handwritten letter has value in this speed-obsessed world. I
have deleted hundreds of e-mails in one fell swoop, without taking the time to reread them, but I still have a letter
that my Grandpa Cullen sent to me when I was 8.
I like to receive letters, thank-you notes, birthday cards and Christmas cards, and I like to send them too. Even today,
it costs just 44 cents to send one from Danville to Sandybeach, Hawaii, or Frozentoes, Alaska . . . a genuine bargain.
Historians worry about the disappearance of permanent, w...
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