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Topic: Anyone else have this problem at the post office????

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Subject: Anyone else have this problem at the post office????
Date Posted: 6/27/2010 6:50 PM ET
Member Since: 10/28/2008
Posts: 3,529
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I took a box of books to the p.o. and the box I used was a canned pineapple box. when the girl took the box she told me she couldn't except it because what ever it said on the outside had to be on the inside HUH. I told her I had just gotten the box in the mail two days before and it had books in it just like it does now. She went and got the manager and we went round and round. He told me he would take it this time but all boxes had to either have inside what it said outside or they had to be wrapped. I have always used boxes from different things and never had a problem before


Anyone else have that happen to them?????

Date Posted: 6/27/2010 7:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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No doubt others have had this happen to them, since there are uninformed postal employees everywhere.


As postal employees, we have to assume that what  is printed on the box describes the contents.  If the box says, BLEACH, we have to assumei t's bleach, and bleach is nonmailable.  If your box says it's CANNED PINEAPPLE, then we have to assume it's canned pineapple, and so what?  no prohibition against mailing pineapple.  Now maybe they are thinking you can't send canned pineapple by Media Mail, which is certainly the case.  Also we strongly recommend, DO NOT WRAP BOXES IN PAPER.  It can easily be torn off and then where are you?  The best way, if you need to remove or obliterate markings, is to buy a fat black marker and completely obliterate the markings.  Or I believe there is a cardboard-colored spray paint sold for this purpose. 


But  I  personally, again speaking as a postal employee, would not have a problem with mailing books in an old canned pineapple box.

Date Posted: 6/27/2010 9:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I asked at my PO and they said as long as the box didn't have anything illegal to mail-like bleach, cleaning products, lighter fluid etc...,  then it was fine to use without covering up. 

Date Posted: 6/27/2010 11:08 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I've only been refused for attempting to recycle liquor boxes, the PO will not accept them at all.  I print PBS electronic DC and purchase postage at the counter.  I've re-used meat, coffee, and other small boxes for Media Mail without comment or problem from PO employees.

I would estimate over 80% of boxes mailed are recycled, it's just petty to snivel over what the box says on the outside.

Last Edited on: 6/27/10 11:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/28/2010 2:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2008
Posts: 84
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From the USPS web site( http://www.usps.com/send/preparemailandpackages/preparingpackages.htm:)

The Box
Choose a box with enough room for cushioning material around the contents. If you are reusing a box, cover all previous labels and markings with heavy black marker or adhesive labels.

I don't know if that rule is actually in the manual, or if it's just for the convenience of the postal service (so they don't have to guess what is inside).



Date Posted: 6/29/2010 2:15 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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My old PO had a giant poster demonstrating that you need to cover up old markings. 


I think most of the time they don't care as long as it's not hazardous or bar codes. 


I sell decorative packing tape on my website, and I use it whenever I mail stuff. When I am reusing a box, I just cover up the old marking with the tape and it only takes a few seconds. 

Date Posted: 6/29/2010 12:13 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I'd forgotten the barcodes . . . I deface them with a black permanent marker.

Subject: wrap the box
Date Posted: 6/29/2010 8:28 PM ET
Member Since: 10/11/2008
Posts: 4
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I use paperbags to wrap any boxes that could have problems.  It's lightweight and then they have no problem shipping them.

Date Posted: 6/29/2010 9:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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As a postal employee, we recommend you don't wrap parcels in paper.  The parcels are processed on machinery and the paper can become ripped and separated from the parcel.

Date Posted: 7/3/2010 11:03 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,647
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If you have to wrap in paper, make sure it's securely taped and that your name/address is on the box underneath the paper also just in case it gets torn off.

Date Posted: 7/5/2010 11:19 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I always include an emergency address inside my outgoing packages...JIC.

Last Edited on: 7/5/10 11:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/8/2010 9:29 AM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2009
Posts: 96
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I was told that any box with ANY kind of markings had to be blacked out, or the whole package has to be wrapped in the brown shipping paper. They recommended putting a label with from/ship to addresses on inner box as well as outer, in case the paper gets torn or wet or whatever.

Date Posted: 7/8/2010 11:53 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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POSTAL EMPLOYEES told you to wrap in paper?

Briana -
Date Posted: 7/8/2010 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 4/8/2009
Posts: 2,775
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I see large rubbermaid containers, coolers, suitcases, and all kinds of boxes when i'm standing in line at the PO. It should be okay if you scratch labels/words out with a marker.