Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Well Done To The US Post Office – Using The Wrong Statue Of Liberty

As we all know the US Post Office is a shining paragon of efficiency and good economic practice. So much so that we should and do use it as the argument in favour of increased Federal government involvement in the economy. If only all of our service industries operated on such reasonable grounds and with such smiling and happy staff. Equally, the USPO’s staffing costs are the reason why union power should be dramatically expanded. There is no doubt of this shining beaconness and example to us all.

There is however the odd fly in the ointment. Like this $3.5 million payout they’re having to make for using the wrong Statue of Liberty on a stamp:

It’s a mistake that’s costing the U.S. Postal Service $3.5 million — the Statue of Liberty Forever stamps released in 2010 didn’t actually show New York’s Lady Liberty.

The photograph featured in the stamp design actually shows a Statue of Liberty replica outside the New York-New York casino hotel in Las Vegas.

It took 3 months after issuance to realise the mistake, some 3 billion were printed.

The Post Office licensed a photo of Davidson’s statue from the image service Getty for $1,500, initially believing it was a photograph of the original statue. (The license only covered the rights to Getty’s photograph of the statue—not the statue itself.)

The stamp with the resulting image was released to the public in December 2010; it took four months before anyone pointed out the mistake to the Post Office. In March 2011, a spokesperson said that the USPS “still loves the stamp design and would have selected this photograph anyway.” The Post Office continued using the photo for almost three years before retiring it in January 2014.

Well, no, it’s worse. They carried on using it for nearly 3 years even after they’d had the mistake pointed out to them. And yes, the sculpture is indeed the copyright of the artist so he gets the $3.5 million payment.

So, you know, not everything is perfect with the US Post Office. But we should definitely copy its union dominance, cost structure and happy and smiling customer service because they’re all just so great, right?

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6 years ago

No one here touts the Post Office as the epitome of How To Do Anything, and in fact people use the Post Office as the epitome of How Not To Do Health Care. It is never compared to an American business (though it somewhat resembles Ford Motor, “a pensions company that incidentally builds cars”). It is only judged against postal monopolies in other countries.

6 years ago
Reply to  Tim Worstall

Yes, I sensed your sarcasm but wanted to make a related point without sarcasm, not to rebut you.

6 years ago

They couldn’t have found a free image? Could have run a competition to submit images, the prize being having your image on a stamp?

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