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Topic: Hungry Machines?

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Subject: Hungry Machines?
Date Posted: 9/7/2016 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 3/29/2006
Posts: 7
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I've been a PBS member for many years and have never had a problem with books damaged in the mail ... until this summer. Two of the books I've mailed arrived intact but with wrapping badly torn. One was a paperback that went to Michigan; one a hardback that went to Florida. Both were mailed at my local post office and had preliminary sorting in Portland, Oregon, before going on the rest of their journey.

So, the question is -- are the odds just now catching up with me after successfully mailing thousands of books? Or has the post office put in new and more hungry machines?

How about other swappers? Are you seeing more damaged packaging?

Date Posted: 9/8/2016 6:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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I'm not. Everything I've received in the past year or so has been fine. Well, except for one.

Last Edited on: 9/8/16 6:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/8/2016 11:54 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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The Sampsonite gorilla must be moonlighting in a USPS sorting center near you sad


Date Posted: 9/20/2016 9:26 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2008
Posts: 5,373
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I got two today that were mangled in the machines. One book held up ok and just damaged the packaging but the other book was so messed up. It must have happened at the last sorting center. (Neither were PBS books but from Amazon sellers. Both used those poly bags.)

Subject: Use plastic envelopes
Date Posted: 10/19/2016 1:14 PM ET
Member Since: 10/5/2012
Posts: 111
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I bought a package of plastic (2.5 mm) envelopes from Amazon because both of the post offices that I use told me that they prefer the plastic envelopes. They said that the paper (manilla, bubble wrap lined) envelopes will tear and the plastic envelopes almost never tear. They are also waterproof, which is good if you are mailing to rural route address. Some mail boxes are leaky when it rains and a package can be exposed to the elements for several hours before the recipient gets home. The post office says the plastic envelopes are much more durable and that it is not necessary to wrap the book tightly in the envelope.

PS: I still wrap the book in plastic to keep it from getting mussed looking during transit. Just a little insurance against rough handling.

Date Posted: 10/20/2016 11:34 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 26,037
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The plastic or tyvek envelopes are great.  They are water resistant, not water proof.  Alot of that depends on how well the package is sealed.

I have worked at the PO for more than 30 years.  I still would recommend that the book be tightly wrapped to help prevent damage to the corners and spine of the book.  Any time an item is loose in the envelope you run the risk of tears to the envelope (even the plastic ones).

Date Posted: 10/26/2016 9:42 AM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2010
Posts: 5,569
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It has happened to me 2-3 times, always with a long awaited wish list book that was hard to find.  In all cases, they looked like they were mauled by a rabid bear.  It's a bummer especially when it's a hard to find book.

Date Posted: 11/22/2016 7:51 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,536
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Regularly happening to us........just received daughter's paperwork to renew her college apartment for next August and the 5 x7 envelope and contents were shredded into about 3 equally sized strips........it's always funny how the PO packages the pieces in a ziplock and sends on to you, but I guess that way you at least can try to ID what it was and contact the sender.

Date Posted: 11/22/2016 10:38 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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"The post office says the plastic envelopes are much more durable and that it is not necessary to wrap the book tightly in the envelope."

Uh yeah that's totally false. Even with the thickest and most durable of mailers, you risk both the book being damaged and the poly mailer ripping open if the book is floating around loose in there. 

Date Posted: 1/18/2017 3:46 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,536
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But I've had issues with HC books poking thru at the corners when tightly mailed to me in the plastic or tyvek envelopes. No damage fortunately, probably cause no rain here in FL in dry season.

Date Posted: 7/27/2017 2:29 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,277
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PBS used to recommend that hardback books be mailed in bubble or padded envelopes to prevent the sort of damage Jeanne describes. It just makes sense. No one type of envelope is ideal for all books. That's why I save the mailers I receive from other PBS senders...I can usually find the ideal envelope for  the book I need to send.

Date Posted: 7/29/2017 1:52 PM ET
Member Since: 12/4/2008
Posts: 207
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I know that this is an old post, but if you have a couple of packages that arrive mangled that were mailed virtually at the same time, contact your post master so that s/he can file an investigation.  Very likely, it is at the first sorting station.  The post office guy told me that most of the packages like those from PBS are hand placed on conveyor belt, not machine sorted the same way as commercial packages.   I've received a couple of books that had popped their packages years ago (heavy books without adequate tape), but nothing has been a problem recently.