Monday, July 27, 2009

Not all Post Offices are created equal

In researching different post offices and stuff I have found that not all Post Offices are created equal. Of course you get the occasional mean post office clerk, but that is the same with all types of businesses. What is really weird is how much they will charge you for things. Here are some things to be aware of when you mail your invitations:

1) The electronic postage system that some post offices have outside of the door cannot be trusted. It is not always calibrated correctly because the little kiddies like to mess with it. If you are right on the cusp of a weight limit, it is better to go to the postal clerk to have them measure it. You don't really want to chance 100+ invitations in your mailbox stamped "Return to Sender".

2) There is no charge for hand canceling. What is hand canceling? Hand Canceling is process of a postal clerk manually stamping the envelope to postmark the stamp and cancel it out so it can no longer be used. Generally the mail is run through a machine to do the canceling. People rather hand cancel delicate mail, like invitations, to reduce the wear on the envelope and contents inside. If a Post Office charges you for hand canceling, report them to the Postmaster General because it should be free of charge.

3) Not all Clerks are created equal. Each postal clerk will vary in the amount that they charge you. I went to mail through the electronic machine and it was 44 cents. I gave it to one clerk and she said I was right at the 61 cent mark. I gave it to another clerk at the same office and she said it was 44 cents plus 20 cents for a bump. Not everyone is the same. Measure it on the electronic scale first to get a gauge, then take it the post office clerk to try to get that amount. If one gives you a higher price, take it to another until you get someone who gives you the lower amount.

4) Bumps may not incur an extra 20 cent charge. The post office has a machine for which all of the mail is run through. If they can't run it through the machine, then they will charge you an extra 20 cents on top of the paid postage. This includes bumps, rigid articles, fragile articles, etc... For bumps, this is the most arbitrary of them all. It is all up to the clerk to determine whether or not the bump is major enough that it won't go through the machine. If a clerk charges you for a bump, you can ask her to run it through a slot that they have that mimics the opening of the machine. If the mail passes through that slot, then you are fine and do not have to pay that extra 20 cents. You may think 20 cents isn't a lot, but when sending 100 invitations, that is 20 bux and a good dinner.

All and all, just try to go to a post office that isn't busy and has nice clerks. If they aren't nice, go somewhere else. If they are busy, come back another time. A lot of couples spent a lot of time putting together the invitations, there no point in being hassled while sending them, so do yourself a favor and try to make it as easy as possible.

1 comment:

Randy El. said...

By far the most informative post in the entire history of your blog.