Homer Simpson has managed to bungle things once again—this time for the USPS. Bloomberg reports that the agency's run of 1 billion Simpsons stamps turned out to be a money-losing proposition for the money-losing service. It sold only 318 million of them, washing some $1.2 million in printing costs down the drain. The cartoon-theme bust was mentioned in a report by the USPS' inspector general, who noted that if the service was able to put a stop to overprinting, it could save $2 million a year.
The Simpsons stamps, sold in 2009 and 2010 to commemorate the show's 20th anniversary, were priced at 44 cents; it now costs 45 cents to mail a letter. How did the USPS calculate how many to produce? In a very unscientific manner, according to the inspector general. "This process depends on manual procedures and the experience of one individual, which increases the risk for costly miscalculations." It apparently bet that the cartoon family would be twice as popular as the best-selling commemorative stamp of all time: an Elvis Presley stamp issued in 1993. The USPS says the issue is moot, thanks to the introduction of forever stamps. (Read more USPS stories.)