What’s it worth to you to be able to order Mint products by telephone?
We all know airlines charge extra fees for individuals who still purchase their tickets by telephone rather than by doing so online.
The U.S. Mint is now in a summertime experiment where it waives the $4.95 shipping and handling fee for all products ordered online.
Anyone using the order telephone number still has to pay the $4.95. In effect, this amounts to an extra fee as applied by the airlines.
This fee-free internet situation will end at the end of September.
I expect the Mint will study the results.
Is the absence of the fee an inducement for collectors and other Mint customers to feel good and order more items?
Is the absence of the fee online something that will persuade telephone customers to change their habits and migrate to online ordering?
Questions of this kind will be asked and answered by the Mint as it reviews results.
It would save a great deal of money if the Mint and every other business could simply turn off their phones and push all business online.
Yesterday it was reported that about 20 percent of Americans don’t use the internet and this percentage has not changed since 2009.
Does this group of people still represent a large enough market to keep the Mint’s approach even handed?
We will have to wait until later this year to find out.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."