Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Postman Always Sniffs Twice

The U.S. Postal Service has finally waddled into the scented postage stamp game, announcing the release on June 20, 2018 of a set of “Frozen Treat” forever stamps. That’s right: America’s first scented stamps will celebrate . . . popsicles.

Could the USPS have picked a more innocuous (and boring!) scented theme?

Also hard to imagine: could they have launched the new issue with a more tepid press release?
The stamps feature 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.

Weirdly, while it describes a bunch of popsicle flavors (watermelon, blueberry, orange, strawberry, chocolate, root beer, cola, and kiwi) [Kiwi? Really?—Ed.] the press release doesn’t explicitly say which of these scents will appear on the stamps.

The release also says “Some frozen treats even have two sticks, making them perfect for sharing,” although none of the stamps shows a twin-stick popsicle. Each stamp, however, displays two popsicles side by side. Is the Postal Service trying to tell us that each stamp will feature the two corresponding scents? If so, that would be a philatelic first—in research for my post about smelly stamps I didn’t notice any examples of doubly-scented stamps. You’d think that would be something worth bragging about.

At any rate, the USA has finally joined the smelly stamp club. Here’s hoping the USPS will branch out into more compelling scents and themes. I stand behind the suggestions I made a few years ago:
I think it’s time the U.S. Postal Service joined the party. How about a Boston Tea Party commemorative? Or one for the Washington, D.C. cherry blossom festival? A mint julep scent to celebrate the Kentucky Derby. Why not a series of classic hot rods with scents of burnt rubber, gasoline and asphalt? A firearm series of historic muskets and revolvers with a gunpowder scent would be cool too.

UPDATE May 23, 2018
According to MarketWatch, “Each of the stamps features an image of popsicles in various forms, ranging from fruity to chocolate. The exact scent will be the same for all stamps, and will be announced with the launch of the stamps on June 20.” This is even more confusing. Does it mean the scent will be the same for given sheet of stamps (with multiple scents across the issue) or that the entire issue will feature only a single scent?

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