their least popular stamp

In Topanga, a typical trip to the post office consists of waiting in line, listening to this sort of exchange:

Customer: How much to send this package to Portland?

Person behind counter: When do you need it to get there?

(several minutes later, they have agreed on a class of postage that balances the need for the package to get there with the consideration of cost)

Person behind counter: Do you need any stamps?

Customer: I probably should.

Person behind counter: Would you like to see the book?

Customer: Of course!

(they laugh together)

(later, the customer has settled on something)

Person behind counter: How will you be paying?

(the customer takes out an atm card; the postal clerk seems impressed)

Person behind counter: Would you like to get cash back?

Notice how the postal clerk drives the exchange, not merely catering to the customer’s whims, but even suggesting new ones. But this morning, when I went in to buy stamps, something new happened.

Me: I need stamps.

Person behind counter: Would you like to see the book?

Me: No, just give me your least popular stamp.

Person behind counter: Our least popular?

Me: Whatever you need to get rid of.

The postal clerk’s actions were swift and decisive, like a vegetarian finally tearing into meat after all these years. She pulled open a drawer, reached in and pulled out a sheet from a plentiful supply. Then she said the two words every American dreads to hear. Here’s what the post office says about its least popular stamp:

Calling attention to the essential obligation, shared by all eligible U.S. citizens, the USPS releases a commemorative stamp featuring 12 diverse jury members.

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