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Why are some envelopes marked "Place Stamp Here"?

Dear Matthew Alice:

I was paying my bills when a question occurred to me that only you could answer. Why is it that envelopes that come with bills are always marked "Place Stamp Here" or some such message? Do the companies think we think they are going to pay for the mailing?

-- Greg, San Diego

You're amazed that some sorehead would intentionally mail a Visa payment without a stamp? That someone would be so peeved at the finance charges he'd figure, "They can make me pay the bill, but they can't make me pay the postage"? Why, even Matthew Alice has had that cheap revenge fantasy.

Those instructions on the envelopes are put there precisely because people love sticking it to the gas company, the phone company, department stores, etc., by mailing their bills without stamps. Guess they have visions of their creditors shelling out thousands each week in postage-due payments. Well, fat chance. Ordinarily the postal service intercepts the naked envelopes and whips them back into your mailbox, politely requesting that you pay up. And if you leave off your return address hoping to foil that plot, the P.O. will just set your envelope aside until they have time to open it and find your address on your check or bill stub. And then they whip it right back into your mailbox. In either case, your payment is late, and, as usual, all you've done is shoot yourself in the foot.

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Dear Matthew Alice:

I was paying my bills when a question occurred to me that only you could answer. Why is it that envelopes that come with bills are always marked "Place Stamp Here" or some such message? Do the companies think we think they are going to pay for the mailing?

-- Greg, San Diego

You're amazed that some sorehead would intentionally mail a Visa payment without a stamp? That someone would be so peeved at the finance charges he'd figure, "They can make me pay the bill, but they can't make me pay the postage"? Why, even Matthew Alice has had that cheap revenge fantasy.

Those instructions on the envelopes are put there precisely because people love sticking it to the gas company, the phone company, department stores, etc., by mailing their bills without stamps. Guess they have visions of their creditors shelling out thousands each week in postage-due payments. Well, fat chance. Ordinarily the postal service intercepts the naked envelopes and whips them back into your mailbox, politely requesting that you pay up. And if you leave off your return address hoping to foil that plot, the P.O. will just set your envelope aside until they have time to open it and find your address on your check or bill stub. And then they whip it right back into your mailbox. In either case, your payment is late, and, as usual, all you've done is shoot yourself in the foot.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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