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My mother recently had 2-6lb boxes of books to send to me. She lives in a fairly large area -- Virginia Beach -- so I didn't expect her to have many issues. I told her to take them to the PO and tell them they only had books and that she wanted the Media Mail rate. Otherwise she'll tend to go the "easy" route and take 'em to fedex or something and pay out the nose. So, she goes to the PO, she tells them what I told her to say, and the first guy told her that she couldn't have Media Mail. Wouldn't say why, just that she couldn't have it. This was also after waiting 45 minutes. My mother is not a patient woman, so I'm surprised she waited. She then decides to go to a diff PO near where she works. She has to wait over an hour this time, and then she's told that her packaging isn't appopriate for Media Mail. I've never heard such a thing! She simply used Amazon boxes with the old UPS labels torn off and the address put on it. She sealed it up pretty good too. She ended up going to UPS and paying 3 times the amount she really needed to to get some books to me. Frustrating!
So, I'm curious what is appropriate packaging?
The Amazon boxes were appropriate. My guess is, because of the heightened awareness of folks trying to mail non-media items by Media Mail, the clerk would have found fault with any wrapping where s/he could not immediately tell it's a book.
The regs (DMM 173) don't specify a specific type of wrapper for MM, they do say it can be inspected to verify it's books. I'm quickly reaching the point where clerks can tell me something that I know is wrong and I say "Show Me" (as in, show me in the regs where it says that).I say it nicely, but I won't back down. Which is what your Mom could have done, that or offered to let them open the box for inspection right there.