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Topic: book mangled by USPS

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Subject: book mangled by USPS
Date Posted: 6/21/2012 10:35 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,555
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I got my first book (of 400) today that had felt the full fury of the jaws of the USPS.

Sent from California by a lady who had mailed out fewer than 20 books in 2 years on PBS. Unfortunately, it was wrapped only in the PBS wrapper. Very few I have received like that are not damaged to some extent. The book was a Pelican Classic (Penguin) about 30 years old. It may be actually unread. It was in that good condition this time last week.

The first thing I notice when I pull the book from the mangled wrapper is that it is no longer, in any sense, flat. It now lays in an odd washboard way. Then I notice the spine is broken -- near the center from left to right. Never seen that before. I finally figured out how by holding the book in both hands with the front facing me and the spine up. Then, if I twist my right hand toward me and the left away --- and if I have enough strength --- the book will "break up" as this one did. I really doubt this would have happened if the book were properly packed. Those PBS wrappers just won't cut it.

Nevertheless, I did not mark it RWAP. Here is my reasoning, probaby not to some or most very good reasoning:  I wanted this book for my personal history collection. This is the definitive history of Scotland, and no more copies of this particular edition are available on PBS. More important, at least to me, I will read it and keep it (maybe in a section for wounded veterans of foreign wars). To demand my credit back and then do this seems terribly hypocritical to me.

Date Posted: 6/22/2012 10:13 AM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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I think you did the right thing by not asking for your credit back. Since the site developed and condones using it, I'm not sure how using the PBS wrapper could be considered improper packaging.

I mostly use bubble mailers because they're quick and easy, but I don't mind receiving MMPs in the PBS wrapper. I'd prefer to receive larger paperbacks and hardcovers in something more sturdy but other than a few bumps  and dents, I've can only remember a few books that were actually mangled during shipment. And I don't remember any of those being shipped in the PBS wrapper.

Date Posted: 6/22/2012 11:01 AM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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John, you should mark it "RWAP -- Damaged by USPS" -- that's exactly what that category is for.  You don't have to ask for your credit back, and you can keep the book.  It will alert the sender that she may need to consider sturdier wrapping if this is an ongoing issue for her, and it will send up a flag to the PBS folks if it happens repeatedly.

PBS condones their own wrapper only when used properly -- when the book is small enough to be completely covered by both pages (meaning not trade PB or cloth books), and sufficient quantities of clear shipping tape are used.

Date Posted: 6/22/2012 11:09 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,282
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I've received over 1000 books from here, a significant percentage of those were in the PBS wrapper. None of them have ever been significantly damaged. Every once in a while, one arrives torn a little, usually due to not enough tape.

I have many more problems with bubble envelopes arriving with punctures, brown paper wrapping arriving with rips and books missing from the wrapper entirely, etc.

Sometimes, the Post Office mangles a package such that no type of wrapping would have saved it.

You can mark those "Damaged by USPS" ... it is not appropriate to ask for a credit back when the package has been wrapped according to the standards of the site. But, it is good for PBS to have accurate statistics of how many packages the USPS damages. That way, they can tell when senders or receivers are exceeding the averages, and investigate those accounts.

Date Posted: 6/22/2012 2:20 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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PBS condones their own wrapper only when used properly  

Yes! A very important distinction.