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Topic: APC question

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Subject: APC question
Date Posted: 7/8/2007 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2006
Posts: 30
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I'm not sure I want to know the answer to this one, but here goes:  I had a bunch of PBS pkgs. to mail today.  The APC was for once working, AND the bin to put the pkgs. in wasn't jammed shut.  However, the "buy stamps" feature wasn't working--AGAIN.  The only way to buy postage was on the pre-printed label with the space for the address, that has the postage and the zip code and bar code already printed on it.  And of course, you can't get those for media mail rates.  SO, I figured the difference btw. the parcel post rate and the media mail rate and said the pkgs. already had enough postage on them so that all I needed it to print me was a $2.47 label (media rate for over 1 but less than 2 lb. pkg.) for each. 

With me so far?  Anyway, the labels pop out and they've got "parcel post" printed on them both in the stamp area and in big letters underneath it.  So I blacked out the words "parcel post" and made sure the pkgs. all said media mail prominently, put the addresses on them and dropped them in the box. 

My question is, was it OK to mark up those labels like that? 

Date Posted: 7/8/2007 1:38 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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I usually use the APC for PBS books, and haven't run across your problems: I can always print a "stamp" for 2.13/2.47 and the bin has never been that full (and my P.O. is pretty busy!). I truly believe the fact that your Buy Stamps feature wasn't working "again" meant that the machine isn't working right; you need to file a complaint with the Postmaster about it ASAP (or it never will dispense "raw" postage).

The other day I asked an employee whether I could use a regular (blue) mailbox to send APC packages. Her reply: "As far as I know yes, but ... the package has to be (physically) mailed from the same zip code as the APC postage label." Perhaps our resident postal workers can shed some light on this one?

 



Last Edited on: 7/8/07 1:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/8/2007 6:59 PM ET
Member Since: 3/17/2007
Posts: 445
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I have no idea about the answer to your question, but I just wanted to say that I share in your frustration about the APC machines.

There is only one post office around me that has one, and in the 10-12 times I have been in to use it, it has only been able to dispense postage to me twice.  It is super frustrating and not convenient at all.  I usually stop in at around 6:30 in the morning on my way to work, and I can't believe how many times it wasn't working. 

 

Date Posted: 7/8/2007 10:39 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2005
Posts: 209
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Sorry, I can't help.  We don't have an APC were I work which is OK with me because it would just be one more headache from something I would have no control over and they would probably use it to cut the other clerk leaving me there by myself  :-(

Date Posted: 7/9/2007 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2006
Posts: 315
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the package has to be (physically) mailed from the same zip code as the APC postage label." Perhaps our resident postal workers can shed some light on this one?

I would guess that's because postal employees from post offices that have no APC often have very, very strange ideas about what the rules about APC postage are (since said rules are, so far as I can determine, printed only in the APC manual ... and if they don't have an APC, they don't have a manual either). I've gotten some REALLY bizarre interpretations of  APC-postage rules from employees at non-APC offices. I've even had them return APC-stamped packages to me for being mailed two days after the date on the APC strip (I hand-carried it in to a station that DOES have an APC, and they basically said, "Those idiots have no idea what's going on, give me the package, I'll send it for you.").

Date Posted: 7/9/2007 11:51 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2007
Posts: 527
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Last Edited on: 1/18/09 1:10 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/10/2007 8:05 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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Well, I'm not a postal worker, but I can shed some light on this, as I was here when this issue came up some time ago. Seems each PO has a spending and shipping track record. If you buy the postage (APC or office stamp or whatever) and it is marked as being purchased for that zip code/PO and then go to another district to mail it, one gets credit for mailing and the other had like the reveue tally. So basically one had expense the other profit. It's not QUITE that simple, but that's the basic idea, and the reason this is important, is that this kind of information determines their staffing, budgeting, and other factors. So, if they are making mone but not spending it all, they get less budget expense, whereas the other PO would be spending money to ship the pkg, but didn't receive revenue for it.

Hope I explained that in somewhat a format that you get what I mean. It just messes with their funding tracking is the overall reason. :)

Date Posted: 7/10/2007 11:35 AM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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Thanks - I didn't realize they monitor/record the postal "value" of outgoing mail?

Date Posted: 7/10/2007 6:23 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2006
Posts: 315
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Sherry: how perverse. Now if only they'd put an APC in my very own zipcode I'd be happy to mail all my APC-stamped postage through their blue pickup boxes. :-> As it is, I drive twenty minutes west to hit Oak Park's APC, stock up, stamp at home, and often drop them in boxes downtown (eight miles EAST of my house) on my way in to school.

Date Posted: 7/10/2007 9:33 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2005
Posts: 209
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I haven't heard the rule on mailing APC postage at the PO it was purchaced at but since we don't have an APC I suppose it's possible.  I've only seen a few APC postage strips (we have two in this city) and I don't recall a ZIP code on them but then I wasn't looking for one either.

Perhaps one of my fellow employees who does have an APC can answer this or now that Jean has one maybe she can tell us.

The ZIP mailed from is a very real issue on Click N Ship and PayPal postage pretty much for what Sherry says.  This is why when you use these services you have a field to enter "ZIP code mailed from" and we do pay attention to it when customers drop off packages.

The ZIP code defaults to the ZIP code of the return address unless the customer enters another one in this field.  If I notice a "regular" dropping off packages with a ZIP code from another PO I explain to them why we would prefer for them to please enter our ZIP code.  When they understand they are more then happy to do it.  I think in most cases customers aren't even aware of it until something is said to them.

A classic example is two small POs just North of here in two small towns.  Their areas butt up against each other.  In one area there is a company that shipped, from what one Postmaster told me, a minimum of 30 or so good sized boxes/day.  They would drop them off at her PO but the other one was getting the revenue for them.  This added up to quite a bit and the other PO was getting credit for it while she had to do all the work.  This was before the PO added the "ZIP code mailed from" option to the on line software used at PayPal and Click N Ship.

Each PO is just like a branch or store in any other multi store business with budgets, goals, standards to meet, etc.  A case like above can wreck havoc on a Postmaster and his/her budget and staffing. 

Date Posted: 7/11/2007 9:10 AM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2006
Posts: 315
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Hrm. I don't want to screw my PO, but I simply can't be making two or three trips a week to the post office to buy more APC strips and mail them directly in that box -- I wonder what the solution is? I'd love to mailorder custom amount stamps (or even, say, $2 stamps) with built-in trackability-to-me from USPS.com and then mail them from whatever box I happen to be at that day ... and I'd hate to either have to cut back my swapping or mail books only once every two weeks (when I can get to a PO during business hours).

Date Posted: 7/22/2007 11:36 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,398
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So in other words, If I happen to use the APC machine at the post office in the town 40 miles away, where the nearest machine is that i know if, I would have to mail them from that same zipcde?

Date Posted: 7/23/2007 6:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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It that's the way they're going to play it, then it's a little misleading to refer to them as "stamps" on the APC!

If they're going to sell it as a stamp, then it should work like a stamp - i.e. useful everywhere!

Date Posted: 7/23/2007 8:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2005
Posts: 209
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I thought I answered this a few messages ago?  As far as I know the ZIP code on APC doesn't matter, along with the date, but not all POs will accept that.  The ZIP code and date are criticle on PayPal and Click n Ship postage.