How do Post Office Workers Handle Stamps?
May 11, 2010 1:11 PM Subscribe
How do post office workers handle the insane amount of special stamps?
posted by Bugbread to grab bag (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Stamps (at least here in Japan, and I expect in most of the world) don't have bar-codes or other machine-readable data. They are just stamps. However, an insane amount of special stamps are issued constantly: seasonal stamps, commemorative stamps, whathaveyou. These stamps (to my knowledge) don't expire, so any given letter might have, say, a forgotten minor commemorative stamp from 1997, or from 1982, or the like.
As such, as far as I can tell, post office workers have to either 1) be able to remember every stamp ever issued, or 2) just accept any stamp-sized piece of paper in the corner with a number as being a valid stamp.
1 seems totally unreasonable. 2 seems absolutely ripe for abuse (just print a random picture and number on a piece of paper, perforate the edge like a stamp, and stick it on an envelope, and you can mail something for the price of your raw materials - 1 cent (yen) or so).
Is there some other sort of system involved? How do post office workers identify stamps as being "real"? Or do they, even?