Where did those stamp machines go?

Hilary Smith

Stamp-vending machines have been disappearing from post offices of late as part of an effort to streamline services and cut costs.

In the past two months, machines have been removed at post offices in Bloomfield, Victor and Clifton Springs as well as Churchville, Hilton, Newark, North Chili, Penn Yan, Scottsville, Spencerport, Charlotte and Brighton.

The removals were part of a nationwide plan that began in January 2007, said Karen Mazurkiewicz, a spokesperson for Western New York postal operations. With options for buying postage online and even printing postage from home, the stamp machines are not a strong revenue source anymore, and as they age it has been difficult to find replacement parts, she said.

The Postal Service first targeted older and less-utilized machines for removal, but within a few years, it aims to remove all of them, she said. So far, local postal workers say the change hasn’t caused too many complaints.

Patrons looking to buy stamps after hours “just go to the Big M and buy them at the service desk,” said Tom McLouth of the Bloomfield Post Office.

Stamps are also available at Tops and Wegmans stores and can be purchased on the U.S. Postal Service Web site,

The stamp-vending ma-chine at the Canandaigua Post Office was removed about two years ago and replaced by an automated postal center (APC). The newer APC machine has the capacity to weigh letters and packages, arrange for package insurance and confirmation of delivery — and vend books of stamps, too. The APC is located in the post office lobby, which is open 24 hours.

“A lot of people are intimidated, like with anything that’s new,” said Canan-daigua Postmaster Bob Propester of the APC machines. “But once they go through it once, they’re fine.”

The removal of stamp machines locally comes just weeks ahead of an increase in postage rates. Starting May 12, prices will change on first-class and standard mail, periodicals, package services and special services. Full details on the price changes are available at, but the most noticeable change will be an increase in the price of first-class stamps from 41 to 42 cents. “Forever stamps” will still be usable after the price increase, even if they were purchased for 41 cents.

“We’re trying to get more people to buy them,” said McLouth of the perennially usable 41-centers. Patrons like the patriotic Liberty Bell design, he added.

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