Bloomberg's Angela Greiling Keane writes that the inspector general of the money-losing USPS singled out overproduction of commemorative stamps as one example of not properly gauging the needs of customers.

The 44-cent "Simpsons" stamps, which sold in 2009 and 2010, came in five designs, featuring Homer, wife Marge, and children Bart, Lisa and baby Maggie.

One problem, the IG notes, is that the stamps are tied to their 44-cent price, and became unwieldy for customers when the price of mailing a first-class letter went up by a penny.

The IG also criticizes the process for deciding how many stamps to print, saying it is too unscientific and dependent upon the experience of one individual, which can lead to "costly miscalculations."

Bloomberg notes that the USPS, drawing upon recommendations of a citizens' advisory board, produces about 20 commemorative stamp designs each year.

It would help, the IG points out, if the postal service would limit its initial production, then print more as demand warrants.

By Douglas Stanglin, USA TODAY