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Topic: Eeek! I accidentally put books in the trash, not the mail bin. What to do?

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Subject: Eeek! I accidentally put books in the trash, not the mail bin. What to do?
Date Posted: 7/26/2009 12:24 AM ET
Member Since: 12/20/2008
Posts: 1,417
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After several nudges from my local postal workers explaining that the 24/7 self serve machine is very easy to use, I finally tried it out. But, I would bring my package to the window for them to look at and confirm that I had done properly done everything.

The last time I brought it to the window (after I used the self serve machine to weigh & buy postage) the lady politely but strongly urged me to just put it in the bin by the self serve machine. She said something like "just drop in the bin on the left."

Today, I was mailing my tea swap package, and when I was done, and putting my package into the bin, the man behind me stopped me and explained that I was putting my package in the trash. The mail bin is to the right of the self serve machine. (The entire machine & bin was to the left of the window, that's the left the PO worker meant.)

 I've mailed three books and put them in the trash. 2 have already gone lost, and I'm not sure when the 3rd will, but I'd say soon.

What do I do?

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 12:49 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,445
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Sorry, I think you're out of those credits.  But I believe you have one thing you need to do and a second thing that you 'might' do, as a courtesy, (I think I would since they will wonder what happened and need to know it's okay to go ahead and reorder from the FIFO)  1) just let it go, things happen, the receiver gets their credit back once it goes lost and 2) you could PM to apologize and give them a heads up but there's not really anything you can do about it; they may not care why or what happened at this point.  You could be perfectly honest and explain but those books are probably toast if they went in the trash almost a month ago.

But regardless, suggest the PO please move the trash bin and/or clearly mark it trash.  You can't be the only person who's done this.  Ask them if they ever checked the bin 'just in case.'  I don't know if you could pursue any kind of reimbursement request.  But maybe depending on your past experiences with them and on the tone they take with you in response to your suggestion/complaint.  It's certainly your mistake, but it's also on them to be receptive to helping you correct it.

 



Last Edited on: 7/26/09 12:59 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 7/26/2009 12:57 AM ET
Member Since: 12/20/2008
Posts: 1,417
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Thanks, Linda.  I guess I should have been more clear-- do you think there is anything I can do to speed up having the last book declaired lost? (This way the receiver gets her credit back and won't lose out if another copy is or becomes available?)

ETA: On monday, I will ask if they double check the trash and see if there's anything that can be done about making it more obvious that it's NOT the mail slot. It's not a regular trash can, it's "made" into the wall.

 



Last Edited on: 7/26/09 1:00 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/26/2009 1:03 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,445
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Send a message to PBS, under the 'contact us' link, at the bottom of the page.  Provide the transaction info and explain what happened.  If it's only a day or two away then it may be easier to let it time out if they can't get back to you right way.  But if it's longer than that it can't hurt to let them know.  It may speed up the recipient's ability to reorder the book with a refunded credit.

ETA: that trash drop box sounds just like the regular in the wall mail drop box (where they put a big mail bin behind the wall to catch packages) at many stations.  Definitely say something.  It needs to say trash in big red flashing letters!



Last Edited on: 7/26/09 1:05 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/26/2009 5:07 AM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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Interesting. You've managed to make me simultaneously amused and horrified. What post office is stupid enough to put a trash thing into the wall without labelling it? I can only imagine how many poor packages got lost this way. When you first posted your question and I read the subject line, quite frankly it made me crack up, like 'how on earth could you accidentally throw the books away', but then as I read the info you posted I realized what the full story was, and my humor turned to horror. How stupid are these people? Put an unlabeled trash slot on one side of the machine, and the mail drop slot on the other side, and don't think for a second people may get confused? I suddenly really appreciate my post office. You walk in the door, and straight ahead is the mail drop slots. The trash can is a regular one in plain sight that can't be confused for anything else. The only thing we're missing that I REALLY wish we had is one of the self-service machines. It's such a pain waiting in line for everything when you just need to weigh your package, buy postage, and mail. It'd save so much time for everyone if they'd install one of those here.

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 8:53 AM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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Nevermind. MIsunderstood.

Last Edited on: 7/26/09 8:59 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 7/26/2009 9:17 AM ET
Member Since: 7/11/2006
Posts: 1,070
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I had much the same reaction as Tiffany.

 

Only suggestion I have is to use paypal for shipping and never go the post office again!!   It is so nice and convenient.  Pay and print your label from home and leave in your mailbox or any blue box.

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 11:00 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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we have those built in trash things but they clearly say trash.  if yours doesn't, they need to address that issue pronto!

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 11:13 AM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,517
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I'd make a couple of big signs myself and take them to them.  One saying TRASH and the other saying PACKAGE DROP.  Bring in some packing tape and tell the PO you want to put them up so other people don't make the same mistake.  You can't have been the only person to have done that now that you've explained that the trash bin is built into the wall.

I guess when they empty the trash they don't look for packages on the top of it.  You'd think that'd catch someone's eye.

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 11:23 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,194
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Even if they saw the packages in the garbage, I don't think they could put them in the mail, I would think that would violate some postal regs to send stuff that was not placed in the mail receptical or handed to them by the sender.

I would definitely send the site a message to cancel the last request via the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page. Even if it were only a few days left to the lost date, it would be considerate to get the receiver out of your transaction as soon as possible and let them know what you discovered so they can work on getting the book elsewhere.

And this is one of the best (funniest) reasons for a book to go lost I have seen on PBS :-)

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2009
Posts: 1,924
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Oh no, your poor heart! What a mess!

Please do go in to the post office and let them know about this, you can't be the only one to have done it and things need to be more clear so it does not happen to someone else.

I agree that you should PM those members so they do not wait around for books that will never come and also cancel the last transaction so that person can get back in line now for their book.

Also agreeing with others advice here, look into printing your own postage with PBS here. It is really easy if you have a small food scale (You can get them for around $20 many places) so you can just put your mail in your mail box or any blue mail drop box. I find it worth every penny to do it this way.

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 9:25 PM ET
Member Since: 12/20/2008
Posts: 1,417
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Thank you for the feedback, I did PM the receivers to apologize, and contacted PBS to ask if they can declare the book that is still in transit as lost.

To be clear, once you know which the the package drop and which is the trash, it is impossible to mistake one for the other. But, the PO worker told me to drop in the slot on the left, (she meant "to the left of the window") so I walked back to the machine and dropped it in the slot on the left of the machine (which, I later learned, was trash.)

The actual mail drop is a big horizontal barrel with a bar on it to open/close.

FWIW, I was born blonde.

On monday, I will stop in there and since it's a small PO in a small town, several of the workers recognize me when I come in. I will ask them what can be done to better differentiate the trash slot as trash.

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 9:38 PM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2009
Posts: 36,021
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I would definitely complain to the post office and ask for some kind of reimbursement as they told you the bin to the left,  You put it in the bin to the left.  It they meant left of the window, they should have specified, left of the window, especially if the bins were unmarked.  Let us know what happens.