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Topic: Anyone ever had this problem with PO packages?

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Subject: Anyone ever had this problem with PO packages?
Date Posted: 4/6/2013 10:57 AM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,724
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In less than a year I have gotten over half a dozen PBS book packages that smell of smoke, most simply reek.  Since I have an RC against smoky smelling books due to my allergies, I have gotten suspicious that the packages are being exposed to the smoke at the PO sorting room or in the delivery vehicle.  Anyone think that is a likely scenario?

A few of the book senders have admitted it's possible they sent a book that smelled, but haven't had any outright rants that I was accusing them of ignoring my RC.

I try to remove the smell using some of the solutions recommended here by other members, but a few of the books simply won't give up the stench! 

Date Posted: 4/6/2013 1:05 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Yes, I've seen posts by members who receive smoky books due to USPS exposure (ie delivery person).

Date Posted: 4/6/2013 1:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,471
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I believe they are not allowed to smoke inside the building.  But some do smoke in the trucks and on the loading docks.  I have had a RC from one member who specifically asks for plastic as she knows her carrier smokes in the truck.

That said, I do get a small percentage of books from members who just do not have any sense of smell.  We can get glasses and hearing aids, but nothing can be done if you lose your sense of smell.  One of my friends lost most of his during to dental work.  With it went most of his sense of taste.   It is slowly coming back.



Last Edited on: 4/6/13 1:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 4/6/2013 1:39 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,142
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If it's the mail carrier smoking, then the smell should be on the outside of the package and book, not the inside. If the pages themselves reek, then it probably did come from the sender that way.

I am lucky as my books arrive smelling of rosemary rather than smoke. My neighbors have a big hedge of it about 2 feet from their mail slot, and the carrier must rub against it as he grabs my mail from his bag.

Date Posted: 4/6/2013 2:06 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 822
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Well, this is an interesting thread... And, kind of timely, too. Just this past week, I had a conversation with my favorite USPS postmaster about smoking. I will admit that she never actually came out and said where & when smoking was prohibited. But, I came away from that conversation believing that USPS facilities - and, by extension, delivery vehicles - are all "smoke-free zones". Is this not true? (A chiime-in from any PBS members that are also USPS employees who see this would be helpful.)



Last Edited on: 4/6/13 2:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/6/2013 2:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 703
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I would say, does the rest of your mail smell of smoke?  Greeting cards, bills, ads, etc.? 

Date Posted: 4/6/2013 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,286
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Years ago, I was a postal employee, one of those who sorted the mail, and we did not smoke in the building.  I didn't smoke, so not sure if other postal employees went outside for smoke breaks or not.  I can say that we had breaks at specific times (everyone) and lunch (4am) at specific times also.

Pat

Date Posted: 4/6/2013 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,471
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It is my understanding that some of the delivery routes are contracted out. Such as the rural routes.
Date Posted: 4/6/2013 4:06 PM ET
Member Since: 10/24/2008
Posts: 1,426
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It might also be the packing tape. I know that when some packing tape gets too hot, it will give off gases that have a smoky odor.

Date Posted: 4/6/2013 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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- and, by extension, delivery vehicles - are all "smoke-free zones". Is this not true?

Not even remotely true. While they may be able to dictate what can be done in the USPS trucks they own, many delivery people use their own vehicles to deliver the mail.

Date Posted: 4/6/2013 10:32 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 822
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"...many delivery people use their own vehicles to deliver the mail."

Actually, I wasn't referring to non-USPS vehicles. I live in a semi-rural area, so I know all about the fact that often carriers use their own vehicles. But, that said, we also have a number of carriers - like mine - who use a USPS  truck.

Date Posted: 4/7/2013 10:12 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,724
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Though we are considered a rural delivery route, (Lithia is a very small town and we are in a housing development miles from the PO with farms along the way) all of our delivery vehicles are marked USPS, though it's possible some of those have those magnetic stick-0n signs. And the ones I've seen close up have the steering wheel on the right side so carrier can just pull up to the mailboxes at the curb and put the mail into them.

I've wondered about the packing tape--- our solid black mailboxes (required by our HOA)  get very warm on hot FL days and the mail can feel "cooked" if it's there for over an hour before I get it out.

Diane, you made a good point.........NONE of my other mail ever smells smoky, but could it be that just the package sorting area is getting exposed to the smoking area at our PO? And, Cathy made a good point too-- some of the books I got had smoky smelling packaging too while some did not.

I do know where the postal employees take their smoke breaks as often when I go there to mail books out, I see one or more employees leaning against the outside wall for their smoke break. However, there is what I guess is a loading dock near them that is often open so I wonder if the smoke is entering that way?  (And yes, all federal gov't employees are supposed to have an "approved" area for taking smoke breaks, usually a gazebo outside away from the building or a covered walkway. Federal Health Initiatives state NO Smoking may be done within 50 feet of any exit or entrance to a federal place of employment. (I worked as a fed employee for 12 years in the mental health/ prevention field so the smoking rules were part of what I had to know. Part of that time I was the quit smoking counselor for the employees also.)

 



Last Edited on: 4/9/13 10:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/8/2013 7:04 AM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2011
Posts: 551
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I initially was going to list that I wouldn't accept books from a smoking home but then decided not to, unless I started getting smoky smelling books. I am very sensitive to smoke and have asthma. I'm happy to say Ive never gotten a book that smells smoky. Now watch, the next book I get will smell smoky, LOL. 

Date Posted: 4/9/2013 8:47 AM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2011
Posts: 218
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I am on a rural route with a contract carrier.  She delivers the mail from her own private vehicle.  I guess I should be glad she doesn't smoke- even't if she weren't smoking while delivering mail, the car would probably still be permeated with it.

Date Posted: 4/12/2013 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2006
Posts: 2,552
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I am lucky as my books arrive smelling of rosemary rather than smoke. My neighbors have a big hedge of it about 2 feet from their mail slot, and the carrier must rub against it as he grabs my mail from his bag.

that is so cool!

Date Posted: 4/12/2013 7:45 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,916
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There is someone at PBS who has posted about their mail carrier carrying mail/packages under his arm ... and yes, the smell.

So, good for smoke!

Date Posted: 4/14/2013 12:43 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,724
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Just got another book with a slight smoky odor, but this one was only the book, not the packaging.

Date Posted: 4/14/2013 3:21 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 620
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If you're receiving enough books that smell like smoke that it's an issue for you, maybe you'd be better served by buying new books or at least used books in a store where you can smell them before you spend money on them.  There will always be a risk of it here, even when members send books in good faith.... As Emily pointed out, people have varying abilities to smell different odors. 

Date Posted: 4/18/2013 12:50 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,724
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Interesting that just yesterday when I was at the pharmacy, I overheard the pharmacist tell the mom in front of me that zinc supplements are causing a lot of people to lose their sense of smell!  

I had never heard that before!

Date Posted: 4/18/2013 12:58 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 822
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"zinc supplements are causing a lot of people to lose their sense of smell"

Well, not so much zinc supplements, per se, but nasal sprays and gels that contain zinc (like Zicam) have been long-known to have this effect.

(In an odd twist, the body has no mechanism for storing zinc, and those with low zinc levels often report a decreased sense of smell and taste.)