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Post Office Proposes Special Rate For Mailing DVDs 176

Posted by timothy
from the let's-get-the-doj-right-on-this-monopoly dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The United States Postal Service is seeking to implement a special postage rate for companies such as Netflix, GameFly and Blockbuster (PDF), which send DVDs to their customers and then receive them back. This proposal for special rates for two-way mailers of optical disks follows a protracted legal complaint from GameFly, which argued that Netflix was receiving special handling by the Postal Service while paying a cheaper postage rate."
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Post Office Proposes Special Rate For Mailing DVDs

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  • You buy volume and pay a different price? Basic economics ... how can a company do business otherwise?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by hairyfeet (841228)

      Because unlike every other business on the planet Dubya passed a law that says the USPS has to have the ENTIRE retirement plan, to the very last penny for every single employee, funded for something like 40 years?

      I have to wonder if this law getting passed couldn't be traced back to Fed Ex and UPS wanting the business that USPS was doing so found a way to stick them with a bill that they could never pay while remaining able to compete. After all you don't see Fed Ex and UPS funding 40 years worth of retir

      • Re:How is this news? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya@gmail . c om> on Saturday July 27, 2013 @01:43PM (#44400705)

        I have to wonder if this law getting passed couldn't be traced back to Fed Ex and UPS wanting the business that USPS was doing so found a way to stick them with a bill that they could never pay while remaining able to compete.

        USPS is also not allowed to raise prices beyond some (official/fudged) price index increase.

        It lets them tie a boat anchor to USPS so that USPS ends up in a bind and either has to cut service or raise prices, both of which benefits UPS and Fed Ex.

        UPS/FedEx constantly use USPS on "unprofitable" routes, because USPS is also required to keep prices relatively constant. So if the package is going to the middle of nowhere, UPS and FedEx will gladly outsource it to USPS which will deliver it at a loss. USPS cannot actually raise prices, but if they cut services, that may actually harm their competitors.

        • Re:How is this news? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by NJRoadfan (1254248) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @03:19PM (#44401289)
          Both offer "last mile" USPS delivery to ANY address in the US for reduced costs. FedEx calls is "SmartPost" and UPS calls it "SurePost". Your package is still shipped via the parcel company's network, but instead of being delivered directly to your door, it gets dropped off at the local USPS distribution center where they take care of the rest of the delivery. The trade off is that it usually takes longer for your package to arrive. The only perk is that you get Saturday delivery (for now).
          • Re:How is this news? (Score:4, Informative)

            by g1powermac (812562) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @03:50PM (#44401527)
            And, as a former rural carrier, I can tell you that arrangement is quite profitable for the post office. The rural carriers have to go their routes anyway, so the extra package load costs quite little. The only costs are some time for the clerks/management to sort the incoming packages in the morning, and the slightly higher evaluations for the routes (which translates to a small bit more money to the carriers).
          • by emt377 (610337)

            The only perk is that you get Saturday delivery (for now).

            A much greater factor is that the USPS has a key to your mailbox and possible front gate, and will leave mail for you regardless of whether you're home or not.

            • Not relevant if your mailbox has no lock and you don't have a front gate (or leave it unlocked). UPS and fedex leave things regardless of whether I'm home or not. For some people, though, that isn't a perk...
      • Re:How is this news? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Y-Crate (540566) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @02:11PM (#44400873)

        Because unlike every other business on the planet Dubya passed a law that says the USPS has to have the ENTIRE retirement plan, to the very last penny for every single employee, funded for something like 40 years?

        It's worse than that. The law gives the USPS 10 years to come up with 100% of the money needed to fund all of its pension requirements for the next 75 years.

        It's designed to destroy the USPS so Republican lawmakers can bemoan how government has once again failed to deliver. Except that they're the ones who have failed us.

        • Yeah, how dare they fully fund the pensions, when they should be funding them like Detroit funded their worker pensions. Oh, wait...

          I'm not saying the republicans may not be putting the USPS in a bad spot. But is is really rare for pension funds to be adequately funded and most of those stories end up with the workers promised the pentions being royally screwed..

          • by Y-Crate (540566)

            But this is like telling you: "Since a lot of parents fail to account for the true cost of raising their future children, you have ten years to come up with every penny you'll spend for the first 18 years of their lives, their college tuition and their retirement. Anyway, congratulations on graduating high school!"

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by MightyYar (622222)

              The timeline was aggressive and they didn't allow for additional revenue. But let's say that and not pretend that the Post Office wasn't running a scam before. At the very least, those unfunded pensions should have been showing up on the balance sheet like the liabilities that they really were.

          • by Rockoon (1252108)

            But is is really rare for pension funds to be adequately funded and most of those stories end up with the workers promised the pentions being royally screwed..

            We've heard the narrative before. When someone gets fucked out of their pensions because it wasnt fully funded, the Democrats blame the Republicans.
            When the USPS is forced to fully fund its pension, the Democrats blame the Republicans.

            See how this works?

        • The company needs to pay $X in 75 years. To meet that obligation, the law (TLDR, assumed from parent) says that $X is needed in the bank today.

          Well looking at me as a private citizen, if I plan on retiring in 75 years and put $Y in the bank today with an interest rate of dick% it will still be $Y by then. (And of course purchasing power will halve).

          So... what's the problem?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It's worse than that. The law gives the USPS 10 years to come up with 100% of the money needed to fund all of its pension requirements for the next 75 years.

          It's designed to destroy the USPS so Republican lawmakers can bemoan how government has once again failed to deliver. Except that they're the ones who have failed us.

          Oh, it's even worse than that. When a veteran from the military gets employment at the USPS, now instead of the military budget being responsible for his/her retirement, the USPS is now responsible for it. Even for the years they were in the military! (Does any money already put in for that person by the military to any funds transfer to the USPS? Of course not, silly.)

          This of course makes the military budgets look better, and the USPS budgets look worse. And veterans are given hiring preference by the US

      • by arobatino (46791)

        When the PAEA was passed in late 2006, it was at right about the peak in total mail volume (which of course they didn't know at the time) and the recession was still 2 years off. Everyone (Democrats, Republicans, and the postal service and unions) thought the prefunding was easily affordable, so it passed with bipartisan support. For example see this [nalc.org] from the NALC (the main letter carrier's union) giving it high praise. (Although after things went sour, they started insinuating [washingtonpost.com] that it had been shoved down

      • Actually private companies DO invest money so the pensions they promised will be paid. Typically, the employer sendd their part to an IRS or 401k account in the employee's name. That way, the money is there 40 years later while the employee is retired.

        Occasionally, an employer will get caught screwing around with that and not properly investing that money on behalf of the employees they promised it to. That's called fraud. It's just that federal agencies were allowed to commit this type of fraud. With t
        • by TubeSteak (669689)

          With the internet, USPS may not have the revenue to in 40 years to cover the retirement pay for today's employees. That's why they now have to invest retirement pay for today's employees today, just like private companies do.

          Except USPS has to prefund for 75 years.
          They're literally socking away money for employees that haven't been born yet.

          • That's a rumor put out by the union, and false.
            They have to ESTIMATE, not pay, what today's employees might collect 75 years from now.

            When they hire a 20 year old worker, they are promising to continue paying that worker when he's 80 - which is 60 years from now. They have to make a written estimate of how much today's promises will cost them in the future.

            This is standard stuff, what's called Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP). Every company that issues stock follows the same rules.
            • There IS a problem for them. The problem is they were allowed to get forty years behind. Now they have to get caught up. Private companies generally don't get behind to begin with.

              What they were doing is using today's revenue to pay retirement for employees who worked forty years ago. Now they have to switch to investing today's revenue for today's workers. Paying as you go, as they are now required to do, isn't a problem. That's how everyone other than government does it. The problem is the switch -
  • by KalvinB (205500) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @01:35PM (#44400649) Homepage

    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2011/03/the-cost-difference-in-mailing-netflx-vs-gamefly-all-of-gameflys-profits/ [arstechnica.com]

    The reason GameFly pays more is because their mailers weigh more. Netflix keeps the mailer at 1 ounce and pays 44 cents each. GameFly's mailer is 2 ounces and they pay the two ounce price. The big giant clue in the linked article is that the USPS is considering changing the price of the 2 ounce mailer to the price of a 1 ounce mailer.

    So the real story is that GameFly wants a discount with zero actual justification.

    The packaging for GameFly costs more. Work it into your business model or reduce the packaging weight.

    I don't do business with GameFly but if I did, I'd cancel. They actually have the nerve to pretend Netflix is getting some kind of special treatment while they are the ones seeking it.

    There is nothing unfair about what the USPS is doing. The rest of us have to pay by the ounce for our mail.

    • by kiddailey (165202) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @01:49PM (#44400751) Homepage

      Not excusing this, but perhaps they've tried and haven't been able to redesign a mailer that doesn't somehow infringe on Netflix's mailer patent (and any others that likely exist):

      http://www.google.com/patents/US6966484 [google.com]

      • by OzPeter (195038)

        Not excusing this, but perhaps they've tried and haven't been able to redesign a mailer that doesn't somehow infringe on Netflix's mailer patent (and any others that likely exist):

        http://www.google.com/patents/US6966484 [google.com]

        All they need to do is to license the technology from Netflix. Is that what patents are meant to be all about?

        Even I'm not sure if I should be appending that comment with a "</sacasm>" tag or not.

    • by Kal Zekdor (826142) <kal.zekdor@gmail.com> on Saturday July 27, 2013 @02:24PM (#44400963) Homepage

      http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2011/03/the-cost-difference-in-mailing-netflx-vs-gamefly-all-of-gameflys-profits/ [arstechnica.com]

      The reason GameFly pays more is because their mailers weigh more. Netflix keeps the mailer at 1 ounce and pays 44 cents each. GameFly's mailer is 2 ounces and they pay the two ounce price. The big giant clue in the linked article is that the USPS is considering changing the price of the 2 ounce mailer to the price of a 1 ounce mailer.

      So the real story is that GameFly wants a discount with zero actual justification.

      The packaging for GameFly costs more. Work it into your business model or reduce the packaging weight.

      I don't do business with GameFly but if I did, I'd cancel. They actually have the nerve to pretend Netflix is getting some kind of special treatment while they are the ones seeking it.

      There is nothing unfair about what the USPS is doing. The rest of us have to pay by the ounce for our mail.

      Just read the article you linked. While interesting, it does kinda support Gamefly's case. A 2-ounce mailer cost $1.05, whereas a 1-ounce mailer cost $0.44. In other words Gamefly pays ~238% of what Netflix pays, 38% above any differences in weight. Further, at these weights, the majority of the cost of delivery is a flat cost, rather than an increase in fuel consumption due to weight. The cost of fuel to transport 1 ounce of additional weight is certainly less than a penny; the vehicle, occupant, and other cargo make up the vast majority of the weight (and the occupant's time is no small factor on the cost). Just basing numbers on the weight of the packages alone, charging ~$0.10 extra for the additional ounce will more than make up for the added costs.

      • http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2011/03/the-cost-difference-in-mailing-netflx-vs-gamefly-all-of-gameflys-profits/ [arstechnica.com]

        The reason GameFly pays more is because their mailers weigh more. Netflix keeps the mailer at 1 ounce and pays 44 cents each. GameFly's mailer is 2 ounces and they pay the two ounce price. The big giant clue in the linked article is that the USPS is considering changing the price of the 2 ounce mailer to the price of a 1 ounce mailer.

        So the real story is that GameFly wants a discount with zero actual justification.

        The packaging for GameFly costs more. Work it into your business model or reduce the packaging weight.

        I don't do business with GameFly but if I did, I'd cancel. They actually have the nerve to pretend Netflix is getting some kind of special treatment while they are the ones seeking it.

        There is nothing unfair about what the USPS is doing. The rest of us have to pay by the ounce for our mail.

        Just read the article you linked. While interesting, it does kinda support Gamefly's case. A 2-ounce mailer cost $1.05, whereas a 1-ounce mailer cost $0.44. In other words Gamefly pays ~238% of what Netflix pays, 38% above any differences in weight. Further, at these weights, the majority of the cost of delivery is a flat cost, rather than an increase in fuel consumption due to weight. The cost of fuel to transport 1 ounce of additional weight is certainly less than a penny; the vehicle, occupant, and other cargo make up the vast majority of the weight (and the occupant's time is no small factor on the cost). Just basing numbers on the weight of the packages alone, charging ~$0.10 extra for the additional ounce will more than make up for the added costs.

        There are other factors you haven't considered. Perhaps larger, thicker, or heavier packages tend to jamb in the automatic processing machines more often, requiring more manual intervention and slowing everything down. And even if that doesn't apply to gamefly's specific case, it may apply to packages greater than 1 ounce in general. And if that's the case, it would justify the post office making a special exception for gamefly since they wouldn't actually be costing more.

        • There are other factors you haven't considered. Perhaps larger, thicker, or heavier packages tend to jamb in the automatic processing machines more often, requiring more manual intervention and slowing everything down. And even if that doesn't apply to gamefly's specific case, it may apply to packages greater than 1 ounce in general. And if that's the case, it would justify the post office making a special exception for gamefly since they wouldn't actually be costing more.

          Haven't claimed to have considered all factors, just refuting one. :-P

          For example, the Ars article indicates that because Netflix does ~97% of the DVD mailer volume, and because of that, and the fact that Netflix mailers are easily identifiable due to their red packaging, they are often sorted out from standard mail and handled differently, reducing costs. I'm not sure how I feel about this, as on the one hand, a business has the right to pass costs (or savings) on to the customer, but on the other, a gover

          • Interesting things about "favoring and discriminating." The cost difference is all because of the way that Gamefly ships vs Netflix. That's discriminating based on package weight.

            Everything else the arstechnica article is talking about refers to the likelihood of breakage and the time to deliver. Gamefly uses only a few shipping facilities while Netflix has many. If you don't have to ship cross county then things are going to be faster, and thus have less of a chance of breakage.

            The other trick is that

            • by icebike (68054)

              If special handling is required, and special treatment is offered to NetFlix Red mailers, and all of that for a reduced fee (the same as a first class letter) it sounds to me like Gamefly had a significant case. (And the fact that the Post Office is knuckling under would seem to support that).

              If the NetFlix mailer is so inconsequential and light weight and offers so little protection for the contents that it requires special handling, it is clearly rate-abuse. They should have never been given special han

              • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Saturday July 27, 2013 @06:24PM (#44402399) Homepage Journal

                I was a Netflix subscriber when they switched over to the current, thin mailers. The story at the time was that the new mailers could be handled by the automated sorting machines at the USPS facilities and that the difference in cost between postage and breakage was strongly on the side of postage - Netflix was willing to absorb the additional breakage, which they expected but at a low level, based on statistical sampling and tests they'd conducted.

                One discontinuity is that, I think, the game discs are several multiples more expensive than the DVD's, so GameFly can't absorb as much breakage. That's probably why they've still got the thick mailers and why their subscription prices are 50% higher than Netflix.

                It sounds to me like they have a more expensive business model and are asking the USPS to subsidize it.

            • by cdrudge (68377)

              The other trick is that Netflix has highly identifiable mailers that are all the same. The post office employees immediately know that the contents of these mailers are fragile. I would expect the post office to group similar items together. Especially if they're breakable.

              I think you're really overestimating the amount of handling actual employees do of standard mail including Netflix envelopes.

              After the mail has been collected, it's dumped onto conveyor belts. Envelopes are ran through automated machiner

          • Netflix does ~97% of the DVD mailer volume, and because of that, and the fact that Netflix mailers are easily identifiable due to their red packaging, they are often sorted out from standard mail and handled differently...on the other, a governmental institution should not be favoring or discriminating.

            I would hope like hell that ANY business, government or not, would evolve a special process to handle any one item that represented such a large percentage of traffic. Although it might appear to be favorit

    • by GIL_Dude (850471)
      Well, when you are in business you try to stay in business. As more and more content becomes "deliver over network" and more and more is DLC with only one user able to access the required DLC (killing rental and resale), the physical disk business (for both GameFly and Netflix) is drying up. GameFly will go out of business, drastically downsize, or convert to another method of making money within a couple of years. They might as well try to grab as much capital as they can from their declining business so t
  • Then Netflix will just start using UPS or Fedex. If it costs the same, why use USPS when the others offer better service?
    • by Mitreya (579078)

      Then Netflix will just start using UPS or Fedex. If it costs the same, why use USPS

      Hehehe, have you tried to send a letter with UPS?
      At the current rate that prices are increasing on USPS postage (controlled by Congress), it would be centuries before a USPS letter is as expensive as UPS (I believe FedEx is similar).

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by metiscus (1270822)

        In the USA, it is illegal to deliver first class mail unless you are the USPS, unless it is delivered at a cost of 6x the current USPS delivery rate.

        http://about.usps.com/who-we-are/postal-history/universal-service-postal-monopoly-history.pdf [usps.com]

        We have laws preventing exercise of free enterprise in the delivery of standard mail. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_Express_Statutes [wikipedia.org]

        Companies in the past have attempted to circumvent these restrictions and have been run out of business by the government through l

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The reasons for the Postal monopoly are not at first obvious. A Libertarian minded person would cry foul at the legalized monopoly, citing private enterprise being able to do it cheaper. Until one looks at what would happen if the USPS was not the only game in town.

          From the USPS Monopoly History link you provided:

          "Without such protection, Congress reckoned that private companies would siphon off high-profit delivery routes, leaving only money-losing routes to the Department, which then would be forced to re

      • by emt377 (610337)

        Hehehe, have you tried to send a letter with UPS? At the current rate that prices are increasing on USPS postage (controlled by Congress), it would be centuries before a USPS letter is as expensive as UPS (I believe FedEx is similar).

        This is because a business is not allowed to compete with the USPS. You can't compete with a better mail delivery service more than you can compete by printing better money. It by definition has to be something other than mail, which includes charging so much no one will confuse you for the USPS. The USPS is an anachronism in the first world and it's embarrassing that our government still runs our mail service.

    • Re:dumb (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PRMan (959735) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @02:11PM (#44400881)
      Because then I couldn't send it back just by sticking it in my mailbox at the curb.
    • The USPS has their own police force. If they think you've been sending non time sensitive things through anyone but USPS then they're legally allowed to fine a company hundreds of thousands of dollars.

      In theory the Post Office gets regulated by congress because congress has granted it a monopoly on certain kinds of mail.

    • by icebike (68054)

      Then Netflix will just start using UPS or Fedex. If it costs the same, why use USPS when the others offer better service?

      Maybe the answer to your question is that IT DOES NOT COST THE SAME?

      Netflix is getting a 44 cent rate, the same as a letter. Lets see you get that from UPS or FedeX.

  • by NormHome (99305) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @01:40PM (#44400675)

    I have Netflix and I'm on one of the bigger plans of 5 at a time and this last week has been a postal service cluster F***. Last Saturday I put 5 DVD's in the mail slot at the post office and on Monday two were received by Netflix and the other three didn't get there until Tuesday. Then on Wednesday I put two back in the mail and one arrived Thursday and the other still didn't arrive on Friday and I had to call and have it declared missing. Now keep in mind that according to the mailers the PO box that it's going to is in the next town over, I can't understand how DVD's that go in the mail at the exact same time some take an extra day to arrive.

    • by PRMan (959735)
      Because the postman liked that movie.
      • by NormHome (99305)

        Don't think that I haven't thought of that, someone could have taken those three discs home Saturday and watched them Saturday night and all day Sunday and then put them back in spare mailers in the mail Monday and so they arrived on Tuesday. The question is how would you ever prove that in any kind of complaint, it's impossible.

        • by g1powermac (812562) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @04:13PM (#44401669)
          That's pretty difficult, actually, at least if you dropped the dvd's at the post office. The back room of a post office is pretty well secured to protect such things, with cameras everywhere. I've worked at a small/medium sized post office and have toured a processing plant, and there is quite a bit of interesting things going on to prevent stealing of mail. I especially liked the closed in catwalks with one way mirrors for the postal inspectors that go all the way around the processing plant. Even at my post office, there was a separate entrance with its own key going to a secured room for a postal inspector to enter only. The joke of the whole thing is though that outside of the post office/processing plants, there's pretty much no security. Most of the rural carriers drive their own vehicles, and there's no inspections to make sure you cleared out all the mail in your car. And for the postal trucks, there's no cameras or gps to track where you're going, but they at least check the truck to make sure everything is out. So, how difficult is it to take mail while on route? Sadly, incredibly easy. And many carriers have went to prison for it because of doing even more incredibly stupid things, like stealing tracked packages. Now, here is a possible reason why those dvds got there at different times. I was told that I needed to separate all netflix dvd's I picked up from the regular outgoing mail. The clerks then did something different with them compared to the regular outgoing mail, but I'm not sure what. I would happen to guess that they are sent through different channels. So, maybe some of your dvd's were separated, but not all. So some got there faster than others.
        • by icebike (68054)

          Don't think that I haven't thought of that, someone could have taken those three discs home Saturday and watched them Saturday night and all day Sunday and then put them back in spare mailers in the mail Monday and so they arrived on Tuesday.

          Someone who actually has a job wouldn't spend that much time watching YOUR movies. If you cam out out your mom's basement once in a while you could have a job too.

          (I know, right? What was I thinking...).

          • by NormHome (99305)

            I don't usually respond to trolls, but for your information I live in my own house and have a full time job. I share the account with my live in girlfriend and my tenant and we split the cost of the subscription and we each get a few DVD's per week.

            Better make sure of your facts before you mouth off.

            • by icebike (68054)

              Lol. Post your pictures and photos of your mom and dad and girl friend, and maybe I'll believe you.

      • by artor3 (1344997)

        I've actually got a sneaking suspicion that this is exactly why Netflix uses envelopes that don't let you see the name of the movie without opening them. There's a little window to make the barcode visible, and they could easily make the title visible as well if they wanted. It would even be useful for customers with a multiple DVD plan. But the risk of theft probably goes up if people are able to see what they're stealing.

        • by icebike (68054)

          In bulk, you can buy a DVD for less than the price of postage. (Sub 15 cents in industrial quantities),

          In the quantities that netflix uses it would make more sense to burn disks on demand, and have a peel off top bar code that would destroy the disk when peeled off. You could put those in one envelope, and trash the DVDs.

          It hardly makes sense for them to handle DVDs upon return, clean, Sort, and repackage them for shipment. Way too labor intensive.

    • by icebike (68054)

      I put 5 DVD's in the mail slot at the post office and on Monday two were received by Netflix and the other three didn't get there until Tuesday.

      Oh, NOes! A whole (half) day for non-timesensitive shipment! Big Post Office problem!! Call your congressman!

      You have no idea whether these arrived or not.
      Far more likely the netflix low-lifes on the shipping dock were on a smoke break and didn't get that box of returned scanned on that shift.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @01:44PM (#44400719)

    PDFs can contain all sorts of crapware, and Slashdot isn't exactly known for vetting its submissions.

    • by SeaFox (739806) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @02:24PM (#44400965)

      It's from a government site. NSA paranoia aside, a Postal Regulatory Commission complaint is not going to contain some ridiculous scripts or other executable bits.

      You always have the option of opening it with the built-in PDF reader on Firefox, which would only be able to open the plain document portion of it if there is anything else embedded.

    • by bidule (173941)

      PDFs can contain all sorts of crapware, and Slashdot isn't exactly known for vetting its submissions.

      PDF from People's Republic of China? no way!

      Oh, Postal Regulatory Commission...

    • SWFs from ad networks can contain crapware as well, and Slashdot itself embeds SWF ads unless you subscribe or karma whore to get the "Disable Ads" checkbox.
  • It's called media mail. I've been using it for well over 20 years now.

  • Surprised netflix hasn't just started renting games. They'd kill off gamefly in a heartbeat.
    • by Belial6 (794905)
      I would use them. I used GameFly for a lot of years, but every month I would look at the $40 price, consider how badly they throttle their mailings, and the price of just buying games outright. They only barely a better choice than just buying games. When they started their shutdown of supporting Wii games, they dipped below the value point that they made sense to me.
  • If the USPS were really smart, they could've offered the overnight delivery for an even lower price by taking the media from the sender, ripping it, transmitting the data to the recipient's local office, and making a new disk over there to deliver...
    • and bust all the mail workers for illegal movie distribution?

      Maybe can be a good way to get out paying for retirement plan.

      • by mi (197448)
        If they were really into that, they could as well open the numerous Netflix envelopes passing through them, rip copies, and put them back. Heck, for all we know, they may already be doing it — stealing Social Security checks [washingtonguardian.com] and gift-cards [abcactionnews.com] has already been done by some enterprising USPS workers.
        • by PPH (736903)

          Evidently, you have more industrious postal workers than I do in my town. Here, all they do is borrow my copy of The Economist and read it in the can for a few days before putting it in my PO box.

        • Sadly, this does happen, but really for social security and other gov't benefits checks, it takes a whole corrupt post office to pull it off. When I worked for the post office as a rural carrier, social security checks came in via a different system, outside of your DPS mail. It wouldn't take much at all to tell if a single person in the chain was stealing them. But, if the supervisor was in on it, then all bets are off. It would have to go through the postal inspectors only to try to catch it.
    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      how does making multiple copies of a physical item any cheaper than just moving them when you have no equipment to do such things

      • by mi (197448)
        Yes, I suppose, you'll need to buy the equipment. The burner — even a good one — is still cheaper, than monthly maintenance and fuel of one USPS truck...
        • by Osgeld (1900440)

          yea you are not going to do this at any scale with a dvd burner bought at walmrt and a spare pc

          even a good one = press

          otherwise its a garbage copy that will peel off in transit during summer = waste of time

          wake up to the world of reliable production

  • What is a DVD?

  • I had no idea Blockbuster was still in business.

  • What is the rationale for subsiding DVD rental?

    I understand the special rate means the price difference comes from tax payers' pockets. That could be fine if it was something for the sake of general interest, but here?

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