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Topic: Books returned to PBS

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Subject: Books returned to PBS
Date Posted: 1/31/2009 2:27 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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I just went to update one of the settings on my account and a thought popped into my head.  In your settings you have the option of using your own return address on the wrappers of books you mail, or using the address of the PBS HQ.  So now I'm wondering... what happens to books that get returned to PBS?  I know you won't get your credit, but what happens to the actual book?  Is PBS HQ in danger of being swamped with returned books?  Is all the office furniture made out of returned book "bricks"?  Would they consider selling them by the box full?


Date Posted: 1/31/2009 3:12 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2008
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I actually had this happen to me last summer.  A book that was sent to me had insufficient postage and the PBS return address -- so it was sent to them.  PBS sent it on to me. 


I don't know what arrangments they made with the sender to pay the additional postage.  But I do know they didn't keep the book.  ;-) 

Date Posted: 1/31/2009 5:37 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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As I just mentioned in another thread, a book I sent got "returned" to the PBS adress and they very kindly mailed it out again. (I'm still not sure why it didn't get through the first time, but oh well.) They charged me a credit for the postage, reasonably enough. I wasn't expecting that to happen, since they disclaim responsibility for books that come to them, but I guess they do their best to keep the books moving.

(I wonder why sometimes the PO sends things back for insufficient postage and sometimes just asks the receiver to pay the extra?)

Date Posted: 1/31/2009 8:25 PM ET
Member Since: 5/22/2007
Posts: 9,682
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You do have to wonder if there's one person designated to send all those books back and forth at PBS HQ. I can see them sitting there at their "book desk" waiting for the days mail to arrive....

I'm with you Bernhard, if they're selling the books I want 'em!

Date Posted: 2/1/2009 9:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2005
Posts: 253
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From the Help Docs:

Note: any book sent with the PBS return address that is returned to PBS will not necessarily be forwarded, and will not earn you a credit if not.  If we receive a book and can identify the sender, we will contact you by email.  If more postage is required to send the book on, we will deduct the postage from your PBS Money if you have any; if not, we will deduct a credit from your balance.

So, if they can identify the sender, they will just take their money/credit and send the book on its way.

Date Posted: 2/2/2009 7:44 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2007
Posts: 6,447
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I never thought to wonder about it.

But I love your signature Bernhard! That's a classic.

Last Edited on: 2/2/09 7:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/3/2009 8:17 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2006
Posts: 547
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I bet there is some intern left in a corner who has the job of sorting the returned book mail.  First, he separates out all the books that came back for no reason.  Then he deals with the insufficient postage books.  This takes longer, as he has to PM all the senders.  Finally, he deals with all the books that have no way of knowing who they were being sent to or from who.  Some of the wrappers might have  part of an address left.  So he does some fancy specialized search to see if he can identify the destination of the book.  But some times, the only thing left is the PBS logo.  Those books are the most fun to deal with.  He logs on to the special intern account and posts all those books.  Some times they are wishlist books, some times they are not.   But the special intern account has a special feature that puts all its bookshelf books first in line.  This is necessary to keep the books out of the office.  Can't have books piling up. 

I imagine an office about the size of a large closet.  He has two bookshelves, a lap top sitting on the floor and a couple of those plastic mail bins againest the wall with little signs that say "mail" "needs postage" and "?" taped on the wall above them.  On one bookshelf, are books.  Nicely sorted alphabetically by author.  No unsightly book piles here.  On the other shelf, there is a pile of printer paper, a printer, extra ink, packing tape and a couple boxes of cling wrap.  A roll of brown paper is attached to the wall above.  Scissors and sharpies can also be found on the shelf.  Not to mention the occasional recycled envelope.  Some of the other staff members are helpful.

The intern's job is thankless.  He doesn't even have a desk, because there just isn't room for one.  Some days, he gets lucky and can use the conference room.  Or an extra desk.  Other days, he finds himself alone, wrapping on the floor of his closet.  But his job is so important and he gets a Starbucks gift card that he uses every day when he runs to the post office with his newest basket of goodies ready to mail.  The fresh air is a bonus too.  Sure it gets annoying when the other staff members ask him to wrap their personal books, but they are so busy and the books really do need to go out.  Rumor is that the intern is getting a promotion soon.  There is talk about adding two more shelves to his room so he can care for the CDs and DVDs that are coming in too.  There is even talk of a motivational poster for the wall.

And that's the way things work in the imaginary PBS office in my head.


Date Posted: 2/3/2009 10:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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It is interesting to note that, in the Help Center, under "PBS Privacy Policy", it states:

"You do not have to have your return address appear on your printed PBS wrapper. Note: if you use the PBS return address, and your books are returned to PBS, we will not forward them or give you credits for sending them."

So ... apparently someone was feeling generous that day :-)



Date Posted: 2/3/2009 10:36 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Or possibly the stack in the lobby was starting to teeter...  ;)