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Topic: APO mailing question

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Subject: APO mailing question
Date Posted: 3/25/2009 9:22 AM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2008
Posts: 2
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Hi All, I got my first request to send to an APO box the other day. I usually wrap my hardback books in an old grocery bag (reduce, reuse, recycle!) and tape the label to the outside. I went to the PO and tried to mail this kind of book, but was turned away because there was not room enough for the custom slip AND the address on my label to show (the book is pretty standard 5'x7' size). She said I could use priority to mail it or come back with the book in a larger container or bag. My question is how do others mail to APO addresses? What is the cheapest form of packaging? Thanks so much for any help!

Last Edited on: 3/25/09 9:22 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/25/2009 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Hmm. I haven't had to mail a book to an APO yet.  Maybe a bubble mailer that's larger than the book but so big that the book slides around too much-or stuff it with plastic back to keep it from sliding?

I've sent mmps over seas for another trading sight and never had a problem-they just put the custom label on the back.

Date Posted: 3/25/2009 4:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2008
Posts: 655
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I sent a MMPB to an APO box.  I put it in a 9x12 envelope (not even a bubble mailer).  I put the address label on one side and the customs labels on the other side.  I do the same when I send things internationally (I send books on another site overseas).  As long as the package is large enough to fit the customs labels on one side (and the address label on the other), I don't have a problem. 

I do it all from home (print all forms out and have the customs form envelopes) so I've never had a PO worker tell me if I am doing it right or not, but I've done it a few times and it always gets to its destination.

Date Posted: 3/25/2009 6:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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On my small MMP, they just used a little green one. On my bigger HC one they stuck the customs form to the back of the book. My PO guy said the change from the small green one to the big one was at 1 lb.

Date Posted: 3/25/2009 7:14 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Customs forms, either the small 2976 or the multi-part 2976-A must be attached to the same side of the package as the mailing address.

I'd suggest using a size 2 bubble mailer, which will give enough room for the 2976 and the address label.  I also highly recommend that the package be sent either First Class or Priority, despite the extra cost, because Media Maul can take months to get to an APO address, while FC or Priority take only a couple weeks at most.

 ETA: You must also bring the package to a PO.  You cannot just drop it in a collection box.  It has to be handed directly to a clerk and the proper postmarks applied at that time.  This is especially true for the 2976-A, which you are supposed to keep one copy of, properly postmarked.



Last Edited on: 3/25/09 7:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/28/2009 8:40 AM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
Posts: 63
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I also highly recommend that the package be sent either First Class or Priority, despite the extra cost, because Media Maul can take months to get to an APO address, while FC or Priority take only a couple weeks at most.

 

Months?  Yikes!  I will definitely send my APO packages First Class in the future. Unfortunately, a book I sent on 3/2 has just been marked "Lost" in the system. Why doesn't PBS allow more time for packages to reach APO addresses?

Military swappers should make it clear in their requestor conditions that  FC makes such a huge difference. If senders don't mind filling out customs forms, they probably won't mind paying a little extra postage either.

 

 

 

 

 

Date Posted: 3/28/2009 3:44 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Not all military members realize how long it can take, especially if they are at a new duty station.  Also, military members already have "one strike against them" because of the hassle of dealing with customs forms and having to go to the PO.  There are members on PBS who will decline any request with RCs, regardless of what the conditions might be, simply because there are conditions.  That would be two strikes, making it even more difficult for military members to get books.

To try and compensate for that I usually send things via Priority mail, and I actively solicit requests from military members.  If you're willing to put your butt on the line to defend me, I'm not gonna even think twice about spending a few extra bucks on postage when it comes to making your day.  :)

 

Date Posted: 3/29/2009 7:11 AM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
Posts: 63
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My sentiments exactly.

 

I can understand why the military folks are reluctant to ask swappers to shell out extra $ postage, in addition to asking them to fill out customs forms. But if they just mentioned the fact (as you did above) that a First Class package will arrive weeks, not just days, sooner, I think a lot of swappers would take the hint.

Date Posted: 3/29/2009 9:33 PM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2008
Posts: 1,080
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My post office is a test site for a new program with the long white customs form. All information has to be typed into the computer when it is mailed. You can type it in at home and print it out, then it can be scanned in at the post office. If you write one out the information needs to be typed while you are at the post office. The system still has some problems and is frequently off line but it is adding an additional burden on the person mailing packages. The additional time required to complete the new requirements is adding lots of wait in line time both for the person mailing the item and the ones behind them in line.

Date Posted: 3/30/2009 1:06 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Both versions of the customs forms can be filled out on the PO web site at usps.com

You can also use their "Shipping Assistant" software (free download from the USPS site) to print the labels and customs forms, and even compare different shipping methods and prices.

Anyone who is a PBS member obviously already has a computer and Internet access, and the vast majority have printers, so doing this and printing everything out at home before going to the PO is fairly easy.

 

Subject: Shavian--shipping priority
Date Posted: 3/30/2009 3:10 PM ET
Member Since: 9/4/2005
Posts: 12
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It doesn't make any difference if you use priority. If it's going overseas, it doesn't ship any faster than media or 1st.

I ship lots to APO, etc. Just mark "other" on customs form

Date Posted: 3/30/2009 9:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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Shavian - you can certainly send everything express or priority, but I don't think it is necessary. My longest book to an APO took just under 30 days. 

Customs forms, either the small 2976 or the multi-part 2976-A must be attached to the same side of the package as the mailing address. - I did ask my PO guys and they said it doesn't matter what side it goes on, they always attach them to the back or around the bottom edge (little one) if putting it on the front would cover the address. Guess your PO must just process things differently than mine and Laura's. I've never had one not get delivered so the other end must let them through.

Date Posted: 3/30/2009 9:10 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Barb, I ship 30-40 packages per week to friends serving overseas.  Media Maul averages 30-45 days.  FC averages 10-14 and Priority averages 7-10.

Date Posted: 4/1/2009 10:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2009
Posts: 98
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Officially the address and the customs label are supposed to be on the same side of the package, but many Window Clerks are relaxed about it.
I think the point is that they don't want the forms to be accidentally missed, possibly delaying the mailpiece.
The same rule holds for Insurance and Delivery Confirmation labels.

Date Posted: 4/1/2009 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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I quoted from the postal regs Melanie.  If some PO's and clerks are more "relaxed" about it than others, that's up to them.  But, I find it simpler to just comply with the regs, and avoid the hassle of someone suddenly enforcing them.

Date Posted: 4/2/2009 12:58 PM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2005
Posts: 513
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One thing to remember if you are shipping first class or priority to an APO/FPO address you are only getting that service from your post office to the US port that handles the mail for the APO/FPO addresses.  I learned that when I worked in a mailroom at a major Air Force Base.

Date Posted: 4/2/2009 2:23 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Yes, that's true Susan, but that's a significant advantage compared to Media Maul, especially since Customs is involved.

Date Posted: 4/8/2009 10:42 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2008
Posts: 687
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any time i have an apo order i ship priority... that way i know they will get the book they want in a timely manner. whats a few extra $ when they give so much???

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 2:39 AM ET
Member Since: 3/12/2009
Posts: 868
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ah, i got my first apo ... er dpo request today.  i agreed to go through the additional hassle to go to the post office ... i was going to ship it without a dc, but now i feel like i should just in case. i thought if i did ship it with a dc, the po folks might say they couldn't ship it because the dc wasn't through the po ... oh well, i'll see what they say. now i'm paranoid about the size of the book. 

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 12:23 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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DPO is Diplomatic Post Office, so you're probably shipping it to someone in the Department of State assigned overseas.  State has one of the best used book sales I've ever been to, held at the main building in DC each year.  Tons of MMP's, and a really outstanding selection of travel and history books.