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Topic: The 2 opposites of the spectrum

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Subject: The 2 opposites of the spectrum
Date Posted: 10/15/2008 11:55 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Today I get 2 books!  YaY!!  But neither had plastic wrapping and I'm fortunate that it was a dry day.  The problem is becoming more frequent.  Scotch tape.  Need I say more??  I got a huge 978 page paperback in a PBS wrapper held together by  a small amount of scotch tape.  Well, some of it was held together. The wrapper was still attached to the book. I thought a long time about my response about this to the sender since I think feedback is in order here.  At first I thought it was a new member maybe.  Nope!  The member has been here a year longer than I have.  That was one heavy book to be taped into a wrapper  with Scotch tape.  I finally decided to be frank about it and mentioned the condition of the wrapper when it arrived and then cited that PBS and the USPS both require clear packing tape.  And since I was giving feedback - I mentioned that plastic wrapping of some kind would better protect the book from all kinds of hazards.   I tried to be gentle and polite - that's why I waited all evening so I could get the incredulity out of my head.   I'm expecting an angry response.  But really!  Seriously!!  The other book that arrived was taped 100% all over.  If it had rained the packing tape would have protected the book.  I'm wondering if she didn't use adhesive sheets to wrap it in because it was so smoothly done.  And not hard to get into.  I thinked her for her great efforts.  What do you think?  Should I just have let it go (except for telling the Scotch tape thing on the receiving report)??

Ruth

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 9:46 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2007
Posts: 96
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Ruth,

The book was improperly wrapped per PBS guidelines, and I would view a PM as appropriate.  However, since plastic wrap is only something to "consider" and not a PBS requirement, I would have been miffed (but not to the point of truly offended) to receive your "feedback" about it.   If it's important to you, perhaps you could include it in an RC.  RCs are for requests/requirements that are beyond the PBS requirements. 

I see that the October Newswire is urging (but still not requiring) the use of an inner layer of plastic.  If that becomes a requirement, I may trade elsewhere.  I mail my books from work and I'm not bringing along or hoarding plastic to wrap books in.  I already mail my books in envelopes with edges taped and will not also wrap it in plastic.  IMHO PBS books are mailings, and my other mailings don't come wrapped in plastic. 

Karen

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 10:25 AM ET
Member Since: 8/8/2006
Posts: 182
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i had something in my RC's about wrapping in plastic until i had someone decline to send me a book because they did not have anything to wrap the book in. come on!!!!!! that is pretty darn hard to believe! i use old bread bags, zip loc bags, etc.... any plastic will do.

that being said, i reworded my RC's after that and now say something like "i would love it if you would wrap the book in plastic to protect it". i would say about half of the books i receive have been protected like that. so apparently a lot of people don't want to bother for some reason.

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 10:42 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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Susan, some people truly do not have plastic in their home.  Maybe they make their own bread, don't use zipper bags and don't have a need to keep plastic in their house.

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 10:51 AM ET
Member Since: 10/24/2007
Posts: 2,166
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I buy large zip-lock bags from the Dollar Tree to put books in to send out. I think they come in boxes of 25 (?) It's worth the dollar to me to insure the books I send don't get wet . I also send out from work, and I just keep the box in my desk drawer. No big deal to me :)

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 12:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/18/2008
Posts: 1,050
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I use bubble wrappers to ensure my books are encased in plastic.

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 1:08 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2005
Posts: 1,709
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Karen, I so agree with you.  I'm surprised at how many people say they get ruined books because it is raining and their mail is getting wet.  So is all their other mail being destroyed too?  I have a cheap mailbox and we can get torrential rain and my mail does not get destroyed.  If it was I would look into the condition of my box or how my mail man is handling the mail. 

If someone puts it in their RC's to wrap in plastic I will with no problem  but I just do not think it should be a requirement here.  I think it would drive alot of members away.

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 2:58 PM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2007
Posts: 1,011
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I had a RC that books be wrapped in plastic before mailing and got turned down several times for books (their loss because I had actually looked at their bookshelf and been interested in adding a couple of books from there to my order). My request wasn't snarky or anything. Another member then offered me a nice compromise about this and I used her idea. Now not a RC but here is how it reads:

"This is not really a requestor condition or requirement for sending, but I politely ask you to please consider a waterproof layer when sending books to me as protection from the elements. It can be simple and recycled, such as a plastic grocery bag or saran wrap. Thanks."

I am a major recycler and try to avoid plastic as much as possible, but I always make sure I get plastic from others who will be throwing it away or I use the bubble mailers that at least offer protection. The people I work with save the large ziplock bags that refrigerated medications come to our unit in when they empty them and I use these (totally free and would have been thrown out).

Yes, my other mail does get wet sometimes. We even got a different mailbox but it still happens sometimes. I have also received books where the outer wrapping was terribly damaged, but because of a simple little plastic wrap, the book was not damaged. I am not saying that every book I get is exposed to rain, but it has happened more than one time. I am lucky that several of those times the book was snug and sound because it was wrapped in plastic first.

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 3:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,309
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My grocery store doesn't offer plastic bags any more, but I use the wonderful plastic bags my newpaper comes in.  Double thick, and just the right size.  That said, I perfectly understand someone who doesn't have plastic available.  In some areas of the country, it's not as prevalent as it used to be. 

So go easy on the plastic suggestions, and consider adding RCs -- great idea -- but do send a message about the tape!  Scotch tape is great for holidays, but does not hold up to the heat and stress of the postal sorting machines.

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 3:39 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2007
Posts: 369
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I'm surprised at how many people say they get ruined books because it is raining and their mail is getting wet.  So is all their other mail being destroyed too?  I have a cheap mailbox and we can get torrential rain and my mail does not get destroyed.

Speaking for myself - yes, all my mail gets destroyed.  But I don't care if my bills and junk mail are destroyed!  I can dry them and pay the bills anyway - but even if I dry the books, they're now unpostable.

I think, in some cases, the damage a book gets can depend on where you live, kind of.  My dad lives in a rural area, miles from neighbors - the mail carrier drives from mailbox to mailbox and the mail ends up covered the whole way because it's in a vehicle.  I, on the other hand, live in Chicago.  My mail carrier walks door-to-door, for blocks, with the mail in an open cart.  My mail getting wet has nothing to do with my mailbox - it's wet before it gets IN the mailbox!

Subject: Wrapping Books
Date Posted: 10/16/2008 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2008
Posts: 6
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As a new member, I have sent many books. Today I wrapped 3 and it can be a pain...then again maybe I just need more practice!  I read that one gentleman uses 6 x 9 poly mailing bags that he buys on ebay. Does anyone else use wrapping methods other that the downloaded wrapper? I'm wondering if the poly bag is still able to be sent Media Mail and if the cost is increased. I did use freezer paper for a larger book because it was all I had. I don't want to add a lot of cost, but it might be a trade off for the frustration of wrapping.

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 4:45 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Linda - I use poly bags, too.  Ones that fit trade paperbacks and regular paperbacks.  They are cheap. You can get them on AMazon (more expensive that way ).  And re-use everything that come to you.  Re-using mailers saves time, money, resources and is so easy!  Just unwrap them when you get them so that you can re-use them.

As to the mail question - yes when it rains, etc, all the mail gets wet.  Not a problem unless it's a book you want to read and maybe even repost.  My mail carrier delivers to clumps of mailboxes on a busy 2 lane (55mph) state road.  So he's more interested in not geting hit and thus does it quickly usually not closing up the box all the way.

I'm not urging everyone to please invest in plastic - far from it - there is so much of it in our lives that we con't have to buy it.  Use the wrappers that come to you or use product wrappers like for toilet paper or paper towels.  It's everywhere!

But my post wasn't so much about the plastic as about the Scotch tape that seems to becoming more prevalent.  Scotch tape doesn't hold up.  Scotch tape is a no-no here and on the USPS.  Why does anyone think it will hole up?  I'm not so much in a hurry to get a book that I can't wait for the sender to get the proper materials if they are out of it!  It just amazes me that a long time member would use it.  I don't have an easy time getting the supplies I need - I'm homebound.  But I have managed to do so by myself.  I even buy it online when it's on sale. 

I'm surprised that this became a thread on plastic.  I did mention it because the second book I received was so well and thoroughly wrapped in packing tape that it was water proof (in terms of my mailbox).  No need to mention that to the sender except as a compliment!   I only mentioned it to the Scotch tape sender because it defintiely would have needed some kind of protection since even the PBS wrapper was torn away from the book. 

I am a crusader for using water-protective packaging - but please - people - use packing tape - not Scotch tape!

Ruth



Last Edited on: 10/16/08 5:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/16/2008 5:01 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2007
Posts: 369
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Linda - you can ship in almost anything. A few years ago, my kid sold candy bars - just the other day, I re-used the box they came in, lol.  The only thing that adds to the cost is weight and most poly bags don't weigh much at all.

I use tons of shipping materials, including poly bubble mailers and get them at http://www.altusmarket.com/index.php/cPath/11?osCsid=fb815735aff7f0b0d12ef67bfdac6e3f  The prices can LOOK higher, but they don't charge shipping at all, so it evens out most of the time. 

 

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 7:25 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2008
Posts: 370
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Many of us are making a very concerted effort not to use plastic grocery bags.  It's quite believable to me that someone would not have any.

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 7:37 PM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2007
Posts: 1,011
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The bubble mailers are also available at Sam's Warehouse and such for a really good price on a box of 50

 

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 7:44 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2005
Posts: 1,709
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Well, now after reading all the responses I may just start using more waterproof wrap.  I just really never thought wet mail was such a problem.  I didn't even think about bills could be dried out but yes, a book IS ruined once wet.  Now I wish I hadn't of thrown all those grocery bags away when I got home from shopping.  LOL  But to get back to the original subject, the use of only scotch tape is a big pet peeve of mine.  I have been very fortunate in that the books I have received with only scotch tape haven't been destroyed but I can't believe people do that. I just usually assume it is a young person with limited  knowledge of the postal system.  I've yet to PM someone though about it but I've certainly thought about it. 

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 8:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2008
Posts: 6
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Ruth, since the poly bags are clear, do you put a wrap around the book before putting it in the bag so the book isn't visible, then just tape the PBS label to the front?

Linda

 

 



Last Edited on: 10/16/08 8:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/16/2008 8:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2008
Posts: 6
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Anna, thanks for the link!

Linda

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 8:33 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2007
Posts: 75
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I always wrap my books in 'cheap' plastic wrap and use shipping tape!  I really appreciate it when they come to me protected!!

You can get a very cheap box of plastic wrap at the dollar stores plus I have actually been able to purchase good sized rolls of shipping tape there too!  I use fun gift wrap and cover it in tape - it is always fun to get a 'present' in the mail!

Books are an important part of my life - wouldn't want to not be sure that they arrived safely to others!

Amy
Date Posted: 10/16/2008 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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I think water-proof packaging is a great thing; I do it myself by using plastic bubble mailers (mostly, sometimes I use the paper ones too) and also plastic baggies.

To make it a requirement to send out books doesn't seem like a good idea, though.

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 9:45 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2006
Posts: 3,343
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Hey Ruth,

I got one of those heavy-books-wrapped-with-scotch-tape a few weeks ago.  Another 900-page book, and it had a total of 4 (yes, FOUR) 1" pieces of scotch tape on it!  The address label was secured by 2 of those, on opposite corners ( so two corners were loose!)

<<still shaking my head>>

The book wrapper was completely open on one end, the address label was diagonally folded over, the book had gotten scuffed/torn.  I was very thankful that it arrived during a dry spell!

I left negative feedback because the book had gotten dirty and slightly torn en route, but I also PMed the sender and made it clear that I did not blame the PO for an improperly-wrapped book.  She had been here since 2006 and wasn't upset about the PM, but I'm still amazed that she considered this appropriate packaging.

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 10:19 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Linda - my bags aren't clear.  They are a gray opaque color.  I also do try to pad the books for some protection...and I wrap the bag up tight around the book so nothing snags or gets caught up.

Ray, I do understand that plastic is a rare thing in responxible peoples' homes.  I also know that many products that we buy come in or are wrapped in plastic.  Those kinds of plastic can and should be recycled/re-used.  That's all I'm saying about plastic - it definitely is around and not hard to get.  One doesn't have to go out and buy it for it to be available.

So far the member with the scotch tape issue has PM'd back.  I surprised that it wasn't a new member.  Live and learn.

Lynn, I'm so glad that your book was still readable.  I hope it is still postable.

I am aware that plastic is seriously recommended by PBS and that it's not a requirement.  I'm not asking that that change, really.  I'm just saying that if a person goes to all the time, effort, and money spent to send out a book - shouldn't it go out with the best possible chance of reaching its destination in good shape ?

Ruth

Date Posted: 10/17/2008 1:13 AM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 755
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Last Edited on: 1/17/09 9:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/17/2008 4:35 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Terri - I agree with you.  I shy away from "make it a rule" part because  I don't think that rule would help with adding new members who are already unsure about what to do and responsible eco-minded folks.  It is a bit overwhelming as it is coming in to this site with the value being on books in goud shape and wrappers to print and use.  Most people who are dedicated to trading books figure it out quickly.   And some people really do react badly to all kinds of "rules".  I'd hate to loose valuable members (and their books) because there is a rule they don't want to be held to.  Most books I get aren't wrapped in plastic.  I do try to ask them to consider it.  Most will do it if I PM them about it.  It's a way to do it if I don't want to use RC"S - which I don't because of the "RC's = bad deal" assumption.  I do try to make it down to the mailbox as soon as I think the mail carrier has been there - esecially if it's bad weather.  But it doesn't always work out.  And not using plastic for anything is important to a growing number of people.  I just want them to consider re-using what they find around them already.  There are bread bags, there are dry cleaner bags, there are product wrappers to keep their toilet paper, and other products dry before sale.  Just re-purpose those.

I do appreciate your opinion - I feel the same way.

 

And don't use Scotch tape! ;D

Ruth

Date Posted: 10/17/2008 6:18 AM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
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The other option if you don't want to use plastic is waxed paper. I always have waxed paper around (i use it quite a bit when I wrap things for my freezer and for some craft projects). I actually like using the waxed paper better myself. However as people have said, I reuse as much as a I can.

 

As for the Scotch tape? I've received quite a number of books using that as the tape and I'm always amazed that the books make it through intact. The only Scotch tape I use on a package is to hold the ends down while I wrap and am pulling off packing tape to wrap the package.

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