College Students Say They Don’t Know How To Buy Stamps

Kids today.

College students apparently aren’t voting absentee because they don’t know how to buy stamps:

FAIRFAX, Va. — ”Vote or die.” Unless, it’s too hard to find a stamp.

A Fairfax County focus group this summer found many college students who have gotten an absentee ballot simply fail to send it back because a U.S. Postal Service stamp seems to be a foreign concept to them.

“One thing that came up, which I had heard from my own kids but I thought they were just nerdy, was that the students will go through the process of applying for a mail-in absentee ballot, they will fill out the ballot, and then, they don’t know where to get stamps,” Lisa Connors with the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs said.

“That seems to be like a hump that they can’t get across.”

The focus group included college interns from across numerous county departments.

“They all agreed that they knew lots of people who did not send in their ballots because it was too much of a hassle or they didn’t know where to get a stamp,” Connors said.

“Across the board, they were all nodding and had a very spirited conversation about ‘Oh yeah, I know so many people who didn’t send theirs in because they didn’t have a stamp.'”

To take on the apparent challenge, the county hopes many students will vote in-person absentee while visiting home during fall breaks. In-person absentee voting begins Friday.

“We’re really working on information to get the college students to be able to actually vote where they’re registered and vote absentee because it’s very confusing and it has a lot of pieces that can sort of go wrong in the middle of it,” said Kate Hanley, Fairfax County Electoral Board secretary.

Students could have changed their voter registration location if they got a new driver’s license or filled out a new voter registration application on campus.

Fairfax County General Registrar Gary Scott also wants to ensure students fill out absentee ballot request forms correctly, listing their home address where they are registered to vote in the area labeled “residence address” and the address where they want the ballot delivered in the separate area that is more clearly marked.

In part, I suppose that this is a generational thing. Mailing things is a fading tradition to begin with, and the number of places where you can buy stamps is dwindling, especially with post office locations closing. That being said it does strike me as odd that someone can make it to college, even in today’s day and age, and not know how the USPS works or where one can buy a stamp. Additionally, it seems odd that there wouldn’t be somewhere on a college campus where stamps would be available. I hate to turn this into a “Kids today” or “Get off my lawn” post, but geez, Kids today. You all need to get off my lawn and get your butts to the post office.

Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Timothy Watson says:

    Okay, what the frak? Do kids not know what the post office is? How hard is to get to a post office and buy a single stamp from an electronic machine?

    And, at lot of universities, mail is delivered to the college’s central post office/mail service building. They don’t sell stamps there?

  2. If you can’t figure out how to buy a stamp, you shouldn’t be voting.

  3. On the one hand, yes: they can and should be able to figure out how to get stamps. On the other, having just watched my 16 and 18 year-olds navigate letter writing to a friend in the army who can only receive snail-mail it was striking as to how foreign using the mail was to them. It is more of generational divide than might seem obvious at first glance.

    Remember: if you are college age these days you honestly think that e-mail is for old people, so think how they think about the post office.

  4. Another point that comes to mind is that ideally mailing back an absentee ballot seems like one of those things that should be postage free.

    But yea, I mostly posted this to poke fun at millennials.

  5. CSK says:

    @Timothy Watson:
    I know of no campus that doesn’t have an on-site post office. They all sell stamps. And all students have boxes.

  6. Kathy says:

    They should be able to ask their phone how to get a stamp.

  7. Moosebreath says:

    They can buy stamps at most supermarkets. Mine even stops its background music to give a reminder of that every 20 minutes. It’s not that hard.

  8. Ratufa says:

    If only there was a way to search for information on the internet!

    More seriously, this sounds more like an excuse for laziness than an actual reason.

  9. SKI says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    And, at lot of universities, mail is delivered to the college’s central post office/mail service building. They don’t sell stamps there?

    How much mail do you think they get?

    I was at college pre-email and it wasn’t unusual to go months without checking your mailbox – and finding it empty other than advertising flyers. Today? c’mon…

  10. MarkedMan says:

    I have two kids in college and I write them a short missive on notecard every few weeks. In both cases these are the only letters they have ever received in their lives. They don’t experience stamped media anymore. So it’s fine to blame the kids for being clueless, but where would they have developed the information if the adults in their lives never sent more than a birthday card with a check? This is becoming their world and they get to decide how it runs. If we still need to use postage on absentee ballots, why can’t the forms be postage paid?

    I’m not slamming the kids or the adults. My kids are more in touch than I ever was with my letter writing, through texts and instagram and so forth (or at least one of them is.) Do they send their family birthday cards? No, except for maybe their Mom and Dad. But they certainly acknowledge birthdays way more than I ever did, with all day long extended family group texts with various jokes and confetti and general camaraderie. Letters and cards are nice and all but don’t really rank up there as a civilized necessity. I learned to use a slide rule in high school, as well as log tables. I learned how to set the timing on my car and adjust the spark plug gap. These things are no longer relevant. The world turns a page…

  11. MarkedMan says:

    @Moosebreath: But if we are talking about dorm dwellers, how much time do you think they spend in a supermarket? Heck, 25 years ago I had a guy working for me who was somewhere in his mid to late twenties. He invited a bunch of people over to the apartment he had lived in for nearly three years. One person asked for tea and he apologized, explaining his microwave was broken. It literally had not even occurred to him to heat the water on the stove. It turns out he had never turned it on the whole time he had lived there. I think he got 95% of his meals from drive throughs…

  12. Timothy Watson says:

    @CSK: Yep, I did voter registration in 2016 at University of Mary Washington, all I needed was a student’s box number since every volunteer/organizer knew the campus building’s address.

  13. Timothy Watson says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I would have no problem with postage on returned absentee ballots being free or even being covered by the state.

  14. Mister Bluster says:

    When I was in grade school in the ’50s my family drove from Rochester, New York to Danville, Illinois in our 1948 Studebaker on old US Route 20 before the Interstates were built to visit the grandparents every other summer. When we got there my grandma would make me a toy trolly car out of an old shoebox that I would pull across the floor with a string. Grandpa would tell me stories about how when my dad was a kid gramps would send him to the local tavern with an empty bucket to get it filled up with beer!
    I couldn’t believe it!
    Times change.

  15. JohnMcC says:

    Couple of months ago I showed my grandkids an old Princess phone we have laying around. How it required the wire be connected to the wall plug. How you could talk to the operator. How ‘long distance’ was separate and more expensive than ‘local’ calls. How you could call ‘collect’ if using a ‘pay phone’.

    Yeah. It’s their world now. I’m just hoping they share it with me a couple more decades.

  16. Franklin says:

    I thought schools were emphasizing how to learn these days. Surely they’ve had a teacher that asked something like, “what do you do when you don’t how to do something?” The beauty is that there’s more than one correct answer.

  17. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    If they aren’t smart enough to figure it out…they are probably Republicans anyway.

  18. KM says:

    Fun fact: I just had to go on a stamp-acquisition mission on my vacation last week. We just got back from WDW, the place that sells everything and anything so long as Disney can put their merch on it. A relative called and wanted a set of commemorative stamps – sounds fairly easy to find, right?


    After visiting over 30 different stores and kiosks (including places labeled Newsstand, Emporium, Camera Stop and General Goods) in 4 different parks, where do you think I finally managed to score some? A tiny, out of the way place called The Art of Disney that sells figurines and framed artwork off the beaten path in EPCOT!!! Most cast members stared at me when I asked, seemed confused about the entire concept or directed me to the obvious spots that clearly didn’t have jack. Now postcards, there’s freaking everywhere but no where to get postage or mail them. A major destination that sells “wish you were here” crap with no easy way to send out said crap….

    My point is, finding stamps isn’t always as easy as you think it is. The “obvious” places don’t always carry them anymore or run out because they don’t keep as many in stock. In an age when you can get a digital postage meter online, actual paper stamps aren’t as ubiquitous as they seem.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I’ll bet they know how to buy a condom.

  20. Kathy says:

    The world’s been changing in many ways pretty much since the Industrial Revolution took off.

    No doubt many here have sent letters, know where to get postage, maybe collected stamps, had to wait home for an important phone call (Get off the phone!!”), sent money orders, etc.

    But we also heard about what our elders used to do, which we no longer do. Things like soda fountains, telegrams, listening to the radio for things other than music and news, etc. were before my time.

    Remember when movie previews included newsreels and cartoons, not just ads and movie trailers? I swear I can remember a time when traffic wasn’t that bad, too.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @tm01: yeah, so we can have a guy in the white house who is ignorant of everything.

    As to what these kids know how to do, pretty sure they know more than you. Of course, that ain’t saying much.

  22. Mister Bluster says:

    This is why we have an Electoral College.

    No it’s not. This is:

    231 years ago yesterday. Monday September 17, 1787.
    “On the whole, Sir, I cannot help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention, who may still have objections to it, would with me, on this occasion, doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.” He then moved, that the Constitution be signed by the members, and offered the following as a convenient form, viz: “Done in Convention by the unanimous consent of the States present, the seventeenth of September, &c. In witness whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names.”

    Dr. Franklin did not get his wish.

    The Constitution being signed by all the members, except Mr. RANDOLPH, Mr. MASON, and Mr. GERRY, who declined giving it the sanction of their names, the Convention dissolved itself by an adjournment sine die.

  23. Mister Bluster says: a condom

    Here at Sleepytown U alot of the bars and other student hang outs all over town have free rubbers available in their restrooms.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Free rubbers?????? Damn! I knew I was born too soon!

    “My Kingdom for a quarter! My Kingdom for a quarter!”

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Moosebreath: Yeah, but the question may be how to buy ONE stamp. You can get a PACKET of stamps for $10 at the store, but most college students also know how much beer the rest of that $10 was going to buy. Really, when are the going to use those other 19 stamps?

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: “I think he got 95% of his meals from drive throughs…”

    Not quite the same, but while I was living in Korea, at two schools I taught at I ate meals in the faculty cafeteria most of the time. During on of the 8-week breaks, I experimented between buying lunch and dinner at Korean diners (as opposed to more expensive restaurants) and cooking at home. In Daegu where I was living, seven days eating out was less expensive than cooking at home by a non-trivial difference–$5 or $10/week or so IIRC. And mostly not junk food type fare, too. So I can see not cooking at home really easily.

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..when are the going to use those other 19 stamps?

    Don’t know if it still holds but one Postmaster told me that if you brought unused postage into the Post Office they had to buy is back.
    Also vaguely recall postage stamps being accepted as payment in lieu of cash along with a cereal box top for Rocket Ranger Secret Decoder Rings or a Spy Camera!

  28. I think the point remains: sure, they can and should figure this stuff out, but people of a certain age can be really obtuse about how the paradigms have shifted in some areas.

  29. Sleeping Dog says:

    This has all the claw marks of a beat on the kids meme. If they don’t vote using absentee ballot is because many states make it difficult to obtain the ballot unless you show up in person to request it.

  30. Gromitt Gunn says:

    No, not every college has a post office. No, not every college student has a mail box on campus. My college has neither. We don’t have dorms. Or a dining hall, or an athletics complex, or a rock wall.

    What we do have is a campus that could be mistaken for an office park, one of top 10 transfer rates in the entire US and an annual cost of attendance that is less than 40% of the flagship research university several miles down the road, providing exceptional value for money.

    Reading this thread has provided some insight into the socioeconomic and experiential background of a majority of the commentariat here at OTB.

  31. Joe says:

    I once asked my college-aged son to mail home a car key he had inadvertently taken to the camp where he worked. First I had to explain where to buy an envelope and how to calculate postage. Eventually, I got an empty envelope, unsealed (it was the kind you peel the wax paper off of to seal). Sealing the envelope was new and news to him.

  32. Jen says:

    This seems like an opportunity for the campus College Republicans/Student Democrats. I am not joking. Members should have stamps with them at all times. Charge face value for the stamps or give them away, I don’t care which.

    It’s certainly something I would have suggested, had I read something like this back when I was in college (and a member of one of said groups).

  33. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Very good point. I’m 47 and I don’t own a book of stamps. If I can’t pay it or respond to it online, it goes into the “someday I’ll get to the post office to buy a couple of stamps” pile. I stopped buying books because I would use two stamps and then lose the rest and have to repeat the process six months later.

    I probably get dental cleanings more frequently than I drive to the post office.

  34. Kathy says:

    A bit of hasty research revealed you can buy stamps at some banks.

    Can anyone confirm this? It seems rather odd.

  35. KM says:


    And these comments. Wow.

    No wonder all The Kids love socialism.

    They don’t know how to DO anything.

    Oh shut up. Do you know how to can your own vegetables or make your own jelly? How about operate a switch board for calls? Know how to shoe a horse? Why the hell not, those were common things people did once upon a time!

    God! You don’t know how to DO anything so you must love socialism, you spoiled child of the 20th century!!

    (FYI, those “kids” are going to be the ones taking care of you in your old age. I wouldn’t piss them off too much. A great way to make SS solvent again would be to just cut off everyone born before 1980 or so when they’ve used up their fair share….)

  36. Kathy says:


    FYI, those “kids” are going to be the ones taking care of you in your old age.

    They’ll probably have an app for that (Geezer?). And they’ll moan about their kids not knowing what an iPhone is or how to install apps.

  37. Jen says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: When we moved to a new house a few years ago, I found an envelope full of stamps in varying denominations. I held on to them because they have value, and I could still use them.

    Since then, the post office has by and large moved to “Forever” stamps, which you can use whenever, they are always valid for first-class standard postage.

    I now own an assortment of denomination stamps and a variety of Forever stamps…our town is small and the post office is very convenient/close by. I keep meaning to send the handful of cards I mail with a bunch of denomination stamps but always forget…

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: It happens that I was just at the post office in August of this year asking that very question. No, according the the Post Office in Kelso, WA, the Post Office no longer buys back unused postage. They encouraged me to use the stamps and supplement the needed postage with stamps from the automated mail meter–of which, Kelso does not have one but neighboring Longview across the river does, so no big deal. I’ve actually done that before, buying 13 cents in postage to supplement 37 that was already on the letter from in old postage. Worked well. Printed out a QR code stamp for 13 cents. It will also print out a postage-paid mailing label with the address of the destination for a business size envelope, but it’s better at larger formatted ones (9 x 13 flats).

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:I don’t have a problem with what to do with the stamps, but I mail in payments for most of my bills in any given month–paranoid about ID theft, so I use a packet of stamps over the course of a month or two. Still, even though the post office is one block away from my apartment, I’m just as likely to buy stamps at the supermarket.

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: The only place that I ever encountered buying stamps as the bank was in Korea, where for a sizeable portion of the population the post office is the bank, just like some places in Europe. Because I’m a credit union guy, I haven’t darkened the door of a commercial bank in almost 35 years, so I didn’t know about Wells and the others.

  41. Matt says:

    @Mister Bluster: Danville Illinois has gone down hill MASSIVEly since then.

    I can’t help but feel it’s just an excuse for laziness. It takes less than five seconds to say to your phone “How to buy stamps”…

  42. Tyrell says:

    Here are some other skills that young people need to be taught – by someone*:
    How to change a flat tire
    How to write a check
    How to negotiate a car purchase
    How to avoid getting scammed (for all adults)
    How to turn the power off and on
    How to check and put oil in.
    How to jump start a car from another car with battery cables
    How and where to turn the water off – at the fixture cutoffs and main cut off
    How to get a traffic ticket dropped or reduced
    How car insurance works
    How a home mortgage works
    How to grill a steak

    *This should be the responsibility of the parents. They should teach these by demonstration
    Maybe some of you have some more ideas

  43. Gustopher says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    If I can’t pay it or respond to it online, it goes into the “someday I’ll get to the post office to buy a couple of stamps” pile.

    If I can’t pay a bill online, they will eventually sell the debt to a debt collector with more convenient payment options.

  44. Mister Bluster says:

    Our family relocated to Danville in 1961 and stayed till ’64. I was a DHS Viking for 2 years.
    Gramps and grandma, lifelong residents, died in the early ’80s. That left my dads spinster sister Aunt Ruth who we figured had to be the worlds oldest virgin when she died at 91 in 2008.
    I still go back and visit the family plots on occasion. Most recently a few months ago.
    I can see the boarded up storefronts on Main Street. I am familiar with the crime stats and the unemployment numbers. As far as I can tell from my recent visits the Buffalo Wild Wings that opened 8 0r 9 years ago might be the newest business in town.
    However I can not take any comfort that Sleepytown can be a better place to live. At least not today.
    Apparently some of Trump’s good people have been busy spreading their vile message at the local Jr. College.

  45. JDM says:

    In May of 2018, after King County, Washington officials voted to pay for pre-paid postage for mail-in ballots, Washington State officials decided to follow suit and authorized the State to pay for pre-paid postage throughout Washington State. So we fixed that problem.

    In looking up the history of the mail-in ballot postage problem, I came upon this section in the US Postal service website that specifically addresses the issue of no postage. Evidently, for mail-in ballots, they will deliver the ballot, even if it doesn’t have postage. However, they will collect postage from local election officials.

    24. If ballots are found in the mailstream without postage or with insufficient postage, should the normal procedures for short-paid mail be followed?

    No. Short-paid and unpaid absentee balloting materials must never be returned to the voter for additional postage. Postage is collected from the election office upon delivery or at a later date. Do not delay delivery of balloting materials. Uniformed (military) and overseas absentee ballots bearing an indicia “U.S. Postage Paid 39 USC 3406” are not short-paid, and no additional postage is needed.

  46. MiSSterious says:

    You’re correct Kathy. You can buy stamps at a bank, grocery stores, Walmart, etc….

  47. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how difficult the U.S. makes voting without any conceivable reason. Why on earth do ballots require postage at all as long as there is a government-owned postal service? Just print “postage free” on the attached pre-adressed envelopes, instruct the USPS to transport them and be done with it.

    It’s not quite as bad as workday voting but still …

  48. MarkedMan says:

    @Ebenezer_Arvigenius:The Post Office isn’t really “government owned”, but rather a bizarre hybrid that is expected to at least break even and be run like a business but that requires a literal act of Congress to adjust their rates.

  49. @MarkedMan: The USPS is actually part of the US government and yes, has some specific (and peculiar) operating strictures.

  50. grumpy realist says:

    Based on my experience at college, here’s another set of tasks teenagers need to be taught (sex specific)

    how to cook a can of corn
    how to operate a washing machine
    how to operate a dryer
    how to follow a recipe (and no, doubling the oven temperature does NOT mean you can cook twice as fast.)
    how to slice a pre-sliced bagel (the guy was known to be a klutz, so this is more a klutz problem.)
    How to sew a button on
    How to fix a hole in one’s pocket
    How to mend a rip in one’s clothing

    how to change a tire
    how to change the oil in one’s car
    how to clean a windshield
    how to put gas in one’s car (this was me, with my first car.)

    Both sexes:
    How to thread and operate a sewing machine
    How to jump-start a car
    How to knit/crochet/mend clothing
    How to substitute ingredients in recipes and still have a decent chance of turning out something edible.

  51. Kathy says:


    It still seems odd. Banks are not places where you think to buy things at.

    BTW, if one goes to the post office to buy stamps to affix to an envelope, one can mail the envelope right there, too.

  52. James Pearce says:


    It never ceases to amaze me how difficult the U.S. makes voting without any conceivable reason

    Affixing appropriate postage or finding a nearby drop-off spot (my preferred choice) is not “difficult,” especially for a college student. Maybe they just don’t want to do it?

  53. MarkedMan says:

    My wife and I actually drew up a list before our kids were born on a set of tasks that they needed to be able to do. We got through a lot of them. For instance, we ate a lot of scrambled eggs when my son was six years old when it was his night to cook dinner. Surprisingly, they were perfectly fine. They both could do laundry, check themselves in for flight, and lots of other things. However, we lived overseas when it was really time for them to do all the car stuff, and we were in a big city without a car. I thought we could do that stuff when we got back. Much to my surprise, a number of the items drawn up nearly twenty years previously simply didn’t apply. Spark plugs don’t get changed every year. Setting the ignition timing. And even I don’t change my own oil anymore. So they basically know how to check oil and tire pressure and remove a wheel if they have a flat tire. But as they point out, by the time they own their own car it could be an electric one with run flat tires.

  54. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Smartphones and widely available high speed internet access have enabled massive changes in the way information gets processed and shared. This particular genie is out of the bottle, there’s no putting it back in, and blaming younger people for living in the world we created for them but didn’t understand ourselves until they showed us how it works is small-minded and short-sighted.

    @Gustopher: Since I live in the year 2018, and even my handyman takes PayPal and both my barber and the guy that mows my lawn started using the Square app a few years ago, I don’t experience that problem.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but I am a CPA so my brain is very aligned to recall money matters and I don’t specifically remember the last time I wrote a physical check. Maybe I had to bring a check when I signed up for TSA PreCheck or renewed my passport a while back? Or one of the deposits when I bought my house might have been a personal check rather than a cashier’s check?

  55. Eric Florack says:

    But I’ll bet they know all about gender studies global warming and the evils of capitalism.


    The worst mistake we made as a nation, as a culture, as individuals was to turn the education of our young over to the government.

  56. MarkedMan says:

    I was talking to one of my colleagues in Shanghai and he said that more and more stores and restaurants are opening that simply do not take cash, especially if their clientele are young. Almost everyone pays with their phone. The clerks don’t have to handle cash, there is no worry about theft (admittedly not a huge worry in Shanghai anyway), and there is never a mistake in the receipts versus what’s in the cash drawer. These young entrepreneurs simply see almost no upside to accepting cash.

    Now that I think about it, I visited Canada three times in the last year or so, spent thousands of dollars, ate dozens of meals and it was only on the last day that I got any Canadian currency at all, mostly so that we could open a bank account for my son and have it active without waiting for a check to clear. (I also left him a little something for his pocket.)

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: My current car has computer diagnostics for tire pressure and oil level (and only 30,000 miles in 3+ years of driving), so I’ve fallen out of the habit of even checking those issues. I just bring it in to get the oil changed every 6 months–at about the 25% level of the 25,000 mile change interval. I expect that I may need to become more proactive when the car reaches 100,000+ miles, but I’m 66 with COPD, so I may never even put 100,000 miles on this one.

    ETA: I’m still old enough to be a cash and checks guy but I was surprised this past year when I found that many of the businesses I encountered while on my last trip to Korea even take Discover now. When I lived there, NO ONE took Discover. That was the main reason I needed a Visa card.

    And good on you for raising your kids to take care of themselves.

  58. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: We’ve got a Mexican casual dining place here in Chicago which doesn’t take cash. I think it’s due to their trying to get as many people processed in the lunchtime rush (which is 90% of their business) as possible.

    On the other hand, I just came back from a location in the wilds of New Mexico, where there ain’t no way they can use cards because there ain’t no damn signal.

    It’s an urban vs. rural split, methinks. Expect no-cash to become prevalent in cities with a lot of bandwidth.

    Will be really interested to see how quickly the no-cash culture becomes established in Japan, because traditionally it’s been the opposite. (I used to get my stipend in the form of 10,000 yen bills stuffed in an envelope.)

    On the other hand….a no cash society is also a we-can-track-all-your-financial-transactions society. Have fun if you’re trying to pay your workers under the table!

  59. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    This particular genie is out of the bottle, there’s no putting it back in, and blaming younger people for living in the world we created for them but didn’t understand ourselves until they showed us how it works is small-minded and short-sighted.

    Well said, sir. Well said, and all too true.

  60. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Eric Florack: Just think, we could have turned it over to you.

  61. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    at about the 25% level of the 25,000 mile change interval

    Whoawhoawhoa…. Oil should be changed at least every 5000 miles. (I shoot for 3K which means I usually hit it at 4K) The wife and I had this argument recently after I found her fancy newfangled car with the superduper smarty pants dashboard told me her oil was at 25% viscosity, which is little better than water. I said don’t trust me, talk to your mechanics.

    She did. 3-5K.

  62. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Thanks. Earlier this year, when my son was a senior in high school, he organized his own trip from the US to Thailand to meet up with his former classmates for their (self organized, i.e. no adults involved) senior trip. The only think we did for him was buy him travelers health insurance. My daughter did the same thing several years earlier (but from China) and she additionally organized the place she and a half dozen friends stayed, got their payment, and adjusted for last minute changes (and learned the important lesson to never do this again unless she gets non-refundable cash up front). It is a great comfort knowing they are ready to travel and roam around on their own, and that, in a pinch, they can sort things out.

  63. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Regular oil 3-5K. Synthetic oil: more about when it is dirty, which explains the sensors in the car. You can really go 25K without changing.

  64. BTW, back to the stamp thing: the original posts cites a vague focus group that “found many college students” didn’t send in absentee ballot because of the lack of a stamp. It never defines “many.”

    And yes, 18-22 year-olds don’t have a lot of experience with snail-mail (but, probably have had to use jumper cables or any number of other things on the list above). Yes, they can learn to buy stamps, and yes, parents should teach them tons of things (and they will learn a lot and maybe teach us over time).

    All I know (as a father of three in the late teens/early twenties and as one who has been in daily contact with college kids for a quarter century-ish) is that the kids are all right.

    Everyone was a kid once. Every generation seems to think the new generation has heads full of turnips, and yet we keep rolling along.

    I also agree, as several folks have stated, the ballots should be free to mail.

  65. Jen says:


    These young entrepreneurs simply see almost no upside to accepting cash.

    The answer to this used to be that cash works even when the networks go down. Because of this, I used to keep some small-ish amount of cash on hand in the house for emergencies. New Hampshire loses power for multiple days pretty much every other year, so I thought it would make sense in case we needed gas for the snowblower, etc.

    It turns out that all of these pumps now operate connected to computers. So even the “have cash in emergencies when the power is out” really isn’t even a thing anymore.

  66. wr says:

    @Eric Florack: “But I’ll bet they know all about gender studies global warming and the evils of capitalism.”

    I can’t think of two subjects more useful to the good people of North Carolina than global warming and the evils of capitalism — which together would explain why their houses are now under ten feet of water.

  67. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “BTW, back to the stamp thing: the original posts cites a vague focus group that “found many college students” didn’t send in absentee ballot because of the lack of a stamp. It never defines “many.””

    Got to say, this sounded like a clickbait “survey” which has little basis in anything other than a desire for eyeballs…

  68. Ol' Nat says:


  69. Kathy says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but I am a CPA so my brain is very aligned to recall money matters and I don’t specifically remember the last time I wrote a physical check.

    I was a rather early adopter of electronic banking, starting the mid-90s with a tiny, monochrome LCD purpose built little terminal the bank provided. We moved to internet based bank portals soon enough, and my use of checks dwindled rapidly.

    Until I began having trouble paying bills to another bank. The transfers went through, but then the money was returned to my account without warning (and, no, I didn’t check my account daily). this resulted in penalties for delayed payments. So I returned to paying those bills with a check, physically deposited at that bank. I figured I’d best have a deposit receipt from them the next time they alleged I’d paid late. This lasted for a few years.

    I still have a checkbook, though I don’t think I need to write more than a check every year, if that much.

    There were things checks were good for you cant quite do anymore. Post-dated checks, for example, or endorsing a check to someone else (though that was very rare).