(Closed) Extra postage for “bumps” in envelope

posted 12 years ago in Paper
Post # 17
Member
161 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

in my experience, the post office is a total crap shoot.

I recently mailed on of those fancy new "singing" birthday cards, and because it was square, I brought it all the way in to the counter to ask how much xtra postage was required.  PO Drone said, "60 cents".  I said, "huh?  Its a greeting card.  and SEE I already have a 41 cent stamp on it".  She said, "its a package.  It’s lumpy."

 SERIOUSLY.  My little square envelope (with only the slightest bump) is a package.  I’m convinced that if I would have asked a different person, they would have said 15 cents or something and gone on with their day. 

Post # 18
Member
78 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

Trust me, you wanted them to classify it as a package. I sent one of those to my Fiance, even added two 41 cent stamps on it, and it arrived completely destroyed and they had the nerve to ask my Fiance for more money to cover the "missing postage." I had words with both my local post office and his, determined the problem was at mine, then decided to send my invitations from his and hopefully avoid the same thing happening to my invitations.

Post # 19
Member
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

My invitation sample (took it in today) has been classified as a package – it is a tri-fold pocket, with four inserts – and it is a package because it "won’t bend."  It is also square and oversized, so the conclusion is (taa-daa) $1.47 per!!  And of course there is no actual combination of postage that will add to that.  I had been going to order Zazzle, but if I have to use multiple stamps I may go with wedding hearts (two 58c and one 41c = $1.57).  Good grief.  At least I know they won’t go through the machine and be mangled beyond all recognition.

Post # 20
Member
113 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

How funny!  I had the same thing!  I weighed it using my food scale. =X It was a little less than two ounces, then I went to the post office to get a price for sure and it was $0.97 too! 

 LOL!  I just had the fiance read your post and he said "Is that you?  Funny!

Post # 21
Member
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2007

In my former job, the USPS was the bane of my existence. It now just seriously annoys the heck out of me.  I did, however, learn some "useful" stuff…

http://pe.usps.gov — this is the ultra geeky, official USPS "professional" site — it differs from the regular USPS site in that it has alllll their arcane rulings and all kinds of templates, calculators, etc.  If you use it, you will probably end up knowing more than your average postal clerk.

The two issues I noticed most people complained about above are the surcharge for square, and the surcharge for "bumpy" stuff.  There’s this weird formula to calculate an "aspect ratio" that’ll tell you if you have to pay what I call the "funny shape surcharge," which is basically if your envelope isn’t "normal envelope shaped" — including squares.  I have no idea why they hate squares, but they do.

The other thing they hate is not being able to send your mail through their mail-eating machines. Should you give them something that denies these beasts potential food, they complain…and charge you more. That includes bumpy stuff AND things they determine "too rigid" — so, if you send anything like a pen, or a pair of chopsticks, or a popsicle stick, you have to pay that surcharge too.  Also, clear plastic envelopes; they charge extra for those too. (Vellum/glassine are, I think, still OK, but those mylar ones, or clear plastic, not so good.)

Also, there’s a class of service called "First Class Flats." It’s different from "First Class Cards & Letters" which is what most mail in envelopes we’re used to falls into. If you move up to the "Flats" designation, your piece can be a bit bigger in dimension, and may be OK w/ some of the characteristics that are no-no’s for "Letters."  Of course, it costs more.  It IS, however, LESS than "First Class Parcels" (box-ish things) or Priority mail.

If in doubt, print out the DMM (Domestic Mail Manual – it’s on the site I referenced above) page that seems to support your case, and take it to your postal clerk to prove why you should/shouldn’t get the rate you think you should.

Good luck!

Post # 22
Member
12 posts
Newbee

Ugh I am so OVER  the post office. Today I went to get 2 straggler invites (just TWO) hand cancelled. The woman at the counter tells me that they don’t do that because it’s a waste of time. "WASTE OF TIME" her exact words. I said other post offices have let me do it before and it takes just two seconds. She gave me an EVIL look and basically spat at me, saying "It’s people like you that make the lines at post offices so long"

WHAT?! argh

Post # 23
Member
133 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

I flattened the bump by sitting on all the envelopes before sending them. They were pocketfold invitations with a ribbon. Only 3 of them came back. The rest made it without any problem and I only paid 58 cents. I would just buy the stamps, flatten the envelopes as much as I can and then post it in a mailbox. We send out 130 invitations.

Post # 25
Member
1061 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

i’ve heard that even if you get them hand cancelled, they still might go through the machine (depending on how remote you’re sending them i guess?). the way they explained it to me, even though the hand cancel stamp might mean that it won’t go through the machine when you drop it off, it might end up through there anyway along the journey to its destination.

Post # 27
Member
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2007

Hi Candi!

Former mail-geek checking in…I would suggest you look up (on the mail geek site) the "Business Mail Entry Unit" contact for your area.  Call them up and be suuuuuper sweet.  Tell them that you’re not a business customer, but you thought that their expertise might really help you, as you have a large quantity (go ahead and fib!) mailing that has special requirements.

Then ask your questions.

The BMEU is where people who do bulk and special (magazines, catalogs, etc.) mailings have to consult with to process stuff.  I used to talk to them all the time. I never asked about "regular" mail, but they may be perfectly happy to talk to you and explain their arcance and geeky rules. (On the other hand, sometimes I knew more about rulings than they did, and it was *very* frustrating.) On the plus side, they probably do not deal with as many retail customers as the average Post Office branch clerk, so they may be less angry with the world, and they will know more rules than the PO clerk. Also, they are likely more accustomed to "weird" questions and special situations.  It’s worth a shot.

This office also might be able to put you in touch with the regional Post Master (chief mail geek in charge) who may or may not be of any help.  

PS, I don’t know anything about that particular endorsement line for non-machinable, but I do know they have an absurd fondness for having you write stuff in very specific places.

Post # 28
Member
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

It is my understanding that wedding invitations are supposed to be hand cancelled — you don’t want them ran through the machine because they can be damaged.  The post office is very particular about anything that is not standard sized. 

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