- 5 years ago
- Wedding: May 2013
Warning: This is a long post.
I just got off of work and my machine destroyed 8 beautiful gatefold invites. This happens so often at my work I’m making a post because I’m sick of beautiful works of art essentially being destroyed
I work for the post office. Not in the main office, and not as a carrier. I work in what’s called the P&DC-process and distribution center. When you mail a letter after it goes from the post office box to the station it will come to me. The P&DC- or “The Plant” as I will refer to it- is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We never close and we’re always moving.
I’ve worked in many parts of the plant-in automation (letter sorting), the SPBS (automated package sorting), Priority (hand package sorting), but I’ve spent the longest is what is known as automation-this is who handles your invitations. I’m the one who sorts them and I see hundreds in a week. Depending on where I am, I work about 50,000 to 100,000 pieces of mail a night.
I am sick of pulling pieces of fancy invitations out of my machine in shambles. Here are some tips from your friendly automation clerk who wants your wedding invitations to make it their in one piece.
- Just because you pay the “non machinable” mail price doesn’t mean your letters are going to be sorted by hand the whole way. I’ve worked at 3 different plants, and their is a special machine for bulky letters. We try (at the supervisors discretion) to run all mail that’s deemed non machinable if it looks like it could fit. Each automation clerk uses their own judgment. Some use better judgment then others. Because of this-make sure they are closed properly!!
- Make sure your envelopes are sturdy. Do not cheap out on the envelope. Mail is processed on large machines and when mail gets stuck, it will rip when we pull it out. The heavy duty envelopes-the glossy thick ones-slide out much better in the machine. They usually emerge unharmed
- A sticker or wax seal alone is not going to keep your invite closed. I get so many pretty gatefold invites that have just a sticker holding them together. The mail pulls the letters one by one though a series of belts and levers. The suction created from the belts pulls off the stickers and your invites are all over the place. Because the mail is mixed in large trays of 250-500 letters per tray , unless your invites is an odd shape, I can’t see it until it’s too late and we’re shoving your broken invite in a “I’m sorry” bag
- We feed the mail one tray at a time, not one letter at a time. Because of how difficult wedding invites are, all clerks who know better tend to pull them out and send them to the hand sorting area. I don’t always see the rectangle invites but I ALWAYS see the square ones.
- The best chance you have for your invitations to be hand sorted and not come back to you is to go into the station and pay for postage there
- At the plant, the clerk’s job in the hand sorting area’s is to to make sure no one is skimping out on the postage. They’re not like us on the machines. They look at each letter and have to check 3 different things before they put it in the corresponding box. If it’s a slow day or if they are really detail oriented and follow the rules to a tee-they’ll send your invite back for lack of postage. It’s not because we hate you-it’s just our job.
- The machine is going to spray OR affix a barcode sticker on your invite. It’s going on either the bottom or the top, depending if we feed in upside down or not. Don’t put any important information there. It’s going to get covered.
- Our machines can’t detact black envelopes. Some clerks get frustrated with them and always pull out all black envelopes. That means it gets sorted by hand
- Take an invite, hold it out from your shoulder, and drop it on the floor. Does it burst open? Find a better way to keep that sucker closed!!!! This is the main reason invites are ruined.
At my work, we love wedding invites and want them to get their as pretty as they came in. We don’t do anything to your mail on porpose-I promise! It’s how our machines run that sometimes gets your mail roughed up.
if you have any questions, just ask! Hope I was helpful!
Edited to add: If your sending packages over 10oz please PLEASE put a return address where we can see it. If it has stamps, is over 10oz and no return address it’s called Annon mail and it will take forever to get there. It has to be cleared and sometimes inspected.