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Topic: need help with first "Damaged book by USPS" situation

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Subject: need help with first "Damaged book by USPS" situation
Date Posted: 6/23/2011 1:59 AM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2011
Posts: 64
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so this is my first damaged book received notice and receiver states it was damaged by USPS. receiver says book was totally soaked through with the pages sticking together despite the clean white paper two layers, two pieces of card board and a mailer envelope with all edges sealed with tape. It was a thin childrens book, one of those level reader types. I didn't know how to respond and bought myself some time by requesting the pictures they took. While I understand that PBS doesn't require me to send a credit back, the email was so nice I feel I should to be just as nice. Then again I didn't do anything wrong, I can't control mother nature, the Post Offices in between and any mail carriers that may have handled it. WWYD if this was your first? I'm torn between my good angel bookworm and bad devil bookworm!

Date Posted: 6/23/2011 2:15 AM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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Hi Kristina :) From where I'm sitting, it's a bit of a coin toss, really. You're correct on both counts: the damage wasn't your fault, and the site doesn't consider this a situation in which a refund of the credit is warranted. At the same time, I completely understand the compulsion to refund the credit regardless of blame. It's a pickle, and the fact that you put that pressure on yourself only makes it harder to decide! There's definitely no policy, and as far as I know not much in the way of established etiquette regarding this sort of situation. If it were me, though, and If I didn't absolutely need the credit at the moment, or knew I could wait awhile to make my next request, I'd probably send it back. As much as I love getting new books, I think doing the unnecessary good deed would feel much better, and definitely brighten the Requestor's day :)

Date Posted: 6/23/2011 2:22 AM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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It sounds like you wrapped the book adequately. You're right that you can't control nature. I remember a book I received that soaked up so much rainwater and swelled so much that it burst out of the wrapper. I marked it as "damaged by USPS" in order to get myself put back at the top of the WL line, then immediately marked it resolved since I wasn't expecting the sender to return a credit.

I don't see why you'd feel guilty. But it's up to you to return a credit or not. If the receiver hasn't marked the transaction resolved yet, perhaps she's hoping you are in fact the type to return credits under pressure.

If it were me, I'd probably respond with something like:

"I'm sorry to hear that the book was damaged in transit. I feel that I have wrapped the book well enough to protect it under normal circumstances. If you live in an area that receives a lot of rain, you may want to set up an RC asking that your books be wrapped in a layer of plastic to protect them from the elements." 

Date Posted: 6/23/2011 2:40 AM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2009
Posts: 35,612
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It's a cunnundrum.  That's why I always prewrap in plastic.

Maybe you could compromise- the fault was usps, not yours but maybe to be nice (without forsaking a credit which I doubt you have many as a newbie) you could offer a deal on your shelf.  Tell her that if she likes your books she could request 1 and you would send her another book  of her choice free to replace the damaged one.  It won't cost you much extra to mail.



Last Edited on: 6/23/11 2:42 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/23/2011 2:46 AM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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Ah HA! Bet Kristina wasn't counting on the brilliant compromise bookworm! LOL

Date Posted: 6/23/2011 2:51 AM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2009
Posts: 35,612
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Thanks James, glad you didn't think it was stupid....  I wasn't sure which it was.  lol

Date Posted: 6/23/2011 3:17 AM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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Are you kidding? Right down the middle, Win-Win, TOTAL genius.

Date Posted: 6/23/2011 3:25 AM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 11,710
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I live in an area that gets tons of rain for over 6 months out of the year. So I added an RC stating to wrap the book in plastic. About 1/3 did not do so but luckily those books were okay. So I added no matter what kind of mailer even if in bubble wrap. I've had three different books damaged when the bubble wrap was ripped/poked with holes. Again 1/3 still would not wrap in plastic and one arrived slightly damp in bubble wrap that was torn. Now I state to wrap books in extra plastic no matter what type of mailer used, including box, bubble wrap or whatever. I have gotten one book so far not wrapped in plastic in bubble wrap. I wrap all the books I send out in some type of plastic usually storage bags as I do not get any newspaper. But why, oh why do people not adhere to RCs then get upset if you point it out and ask for your credit back when the book gets wet? Since you are so far away, you may want to use some extra plastic. I reuse any that are sent to me if I can. Just a suggestion.
Date Posted: 6/23/2011 3:48 AM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2011
Posts: 64
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Thanks everyone. Guess I'm so hard on myself because I only post the best books I have and take the rest to swap shop or yard sale them/give them away. I guess also that I'm overjoyed it took only 9 days to get from me to the mid-west! and I can't imagine how it could have gotten so soaked in that amount of time.It's easy to blame the PO from NY to the Midwest but then again from my APO to NY could have done it too. Are USPS sorting bags water proof?

I don't think I have any books to offer as a "deal". If I were the requestor I know I'd be hesitant to request any more from me at this time. Kicker is I know I had two copies (two boys) but must have given the second copy to my son to swap at school!! At first I was just going to send the second copy wrapped up even better! easy as pie right?

I worry about wrapping in plastic or Ziploc bags because the books do go on an airplane and would hate for the moisture in the trapped air to damage the book. I've had plenty of items ruined in transit this way with my own personnel stuff. I'm an expert packer now! Guess I've pretty much come to the conclusion I will just give the credit back and call  it good. no sense to get into something over a children's book. Well I'll wait until they send me the pictures though! (pessimistic bookworm at work again!)

Date Posted: 6/23/2011 10:31 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,715
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Did the other sender request the credit back?

Honestly, if it were myself, I would not refund the credit.

It has nothing to do with being nice or not.

But I have received books myself that were damaged by the Post Office. I lose the credit on those. I see no reason to also lose the credit on any well-packaged books that I mail out which are damaged.

There are 2 things that can happen to the book while in the care of the Post Office.

1. It can be lost. In which case the sender loses the credit, and the requestor gets the credit back.
2. It can be damaged. In which case, the sender gets the credit, and the requestor loses the credit.

PBS has assigned the risk fairly, in my opinion. Sometimes the sender is out of luck and sometimes the receiver is out of luck.

But I see no reason to lose the credit in both cases ....  receiving a damaged book, AND mailing one which gets damaged.

 

Also, to be honest, I think that being nice and refunding a credit in this case, sometimes leads people to "expect" that that is how situations like this are handled. They come to believe that it is some kind of unwritten rule or something, and that every sender of a post-office damaged book ought to be refunding the credit to them. There are people who post about other members coming to believe in "unwritten rules" who then complain when they come across the members who are guided by the actual written rules instead.

I don't fault you for trying to be nice ... I think if you want to refund the credit, you certainly can. I just don't think that following the rules and guidelines of the site ought to be thought of as "not being nice". JMO.



Last Edited on: 6/23/11 10:59 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/23/2011 11:43 AM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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I think if you want to refund the credit, you certainly can. I just don't think that following the rules and guidelines of the site ought to be thought of as "not being nice". JMO.

yes

Date Posted: 6/23/2011 11:44 AM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2009
Posts: 35,612
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I don't think I have any books to offer as a "deal".

Offer any of the books on your bookshelf.

James-  I'm http://www.smileyvault.com/albums/CBSA/smileyvault-cute-big-smiley-animated-025.gif

Date Posted: 6/23/2011 1:06 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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I'm agreeing with Sara on this one.  PBS has already assigned the credit risk fairly across senders and receivers.   We have no control over USPS once we mail packages, regardless of how well wrapped.  The choice is yours Kristine (and totally optional), there is no obligation for you to return the credit under these conditions.

I also like Lisa's comment regarding a polite suggestion of adding a plastic RC.  Although I live in a wet climate, I really didn't give this idea much thought until I received a book request attached to a very nice RC requesting plastic underwrap.  The requester explained that she lived in a wet climate and mail service didn't always protect the books...yada, yada.  It really opened my eyes and I've been a true believer ever since...and grateful when plastic has saved my incoming books from water damage (there have been a couple memorable damaged wrappers with pristine contents). 

Date Posted: 6/23/2011 2:11 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2011
Posts: 64
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well I saw pictures of the book and wrapping. It looked as though it was dumped into a bucket of water but was dried. I refunded the credit, for that reason.
The plastic is a great suggestion and I may apply it to the books I send out too.

I guess a follow up would be that if the requestor didn't have the option of checking a box to ask for a refund it wouldn't be so hard to refuse. Having it written by PBS made it seem like that's what they recommend.

oh well, maybe as the swaps increase, I'll grow tougher?!

Subject: Rain and books
Date Posted: 6/23/2011 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,420
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I routinely wrap in plastic, whether or not there is an RC in place. I get a daily newspaper and have a truckload of plastic of one kind or another.

Date Posted: 6/23/2011 9:48 PM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2009
Posts: 2,925
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I always wrap in plastic too. We get a lot of rain here, but worse, the bins the PO uses for sorting incoming are longer than the roof overhang they are under. So - if there's any precipitation when the bins are out - the packages on that end and on the bottom get wet! My carrier walks as well, and even a short-ish walk in the pouring rain will often damage a PBS wrapper, and sometimes the contents too. 

Date Posted: 6/23/2011 9:54 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2009
Posts: 2,468
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I have saved small plastic bags from the dentist and the veterinarian and the lady I buy my soap from. LOL when my daughter bought new curtains I saved the vinyl zippy bags the panels came in. There is always some kind of plastic around.

Date Posted: 6/24/2011 1:51 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2011
Posts: 64
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oh what a good idea the plastic that curtains come in! I have a bunch of those I was going to recycle because I couldn't come up with a use! Ha now I have one! Thanks!

Date Posted: 6/25/2011 3:08 AM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2009
Posts: 35,612
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Date Posted: 6/25/2011 8:54 AM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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I wrap in plastic too and it would probably keep the book dry under normal circumstances. But if the package was completely saturated (as the OP's package apparently was), I'm not sure the plastic that I use (cut up grocery bags or reused newspaper bags) would would be enough to prevent water damage. And if the package is jammed in a machine, the plastic would most likely tear along with the outside packaging material, so I'm not sure there's a way to prevent all mishaps.