The San Francisco Chronicle ran a test to see how easy it is to mail a letter with less than the 32-cent first-class rate. The newspaper sent 96 first-class letters around the nation with postage of 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents and 23 cents. All of the 23-cent and 10-cent letters were delivered without postage due, as were 20 of the 22 letters carrying 20 cents and half of the 5-cent envelopes. While letter carriers and mail handlers are supposed to be on the lookout, they’re pretty busy. Automated machines check stamps for a special chemical coating, but lots of stamps costing less than 32 cents have the same coating.
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