i got an invitation to a wedding in Canada (congrats!) and included was one of these, an International Reply Coupon (Coupon-Réponse International) for the response card. all you do is take it to your local post office and exchange it for postage. so cool — i had no idea there was such a thing as (basically) a stamp gift certificate, or even a Universal Postal Union. i’ve always wondered how international mail works in terms of payment (like, if i send a letter from here to Croatia, and it stops and gets transported through several European countries on the way over, who gets paid for what), and the UPU wiki article has a brief but insightful explanation. can you imagine an era of having to buy and affix stamps for each country your letter transited through? yikes! (though granted, snail mail is becoming less and less relevant in today’s world, and i’m not really lamenting it, but that’s beside the point.)
what got me, though, is that English is not the official–or even secondary, given the text on the reverse–language, which is something that as a native-English speaker you take for granted (and, admittedly, expect). i think it’s things like this that got it into my mom’s head that i should take French instead of Spanish (which i did).
i hope they don’t mind me posting a picture of the coupon — i added the VOID just in case.
ohhhhhh now i get it. i thought it was weird that on the front left center they said UN is contre le changement climatique (“UN is against climate change,” with English “is”), but it’s Unis contre le changement climatique (“United against climate change”), with a stylized UNis to signify UN involvement. clever!
UPDATE: I took it to the post office to redeem and neither of the two ladies knew what to do with it so I ended up paying the 85 cents for a stamp to Canada.