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Topic: must we mail our books or could we self-deliver the books?

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Subject: must we mail our books or could we self-deliver the books?
Date Posted: 3/11/2010 8:13 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 382
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just wonder

twice know i got books from people who live close (One in Culver city) and one in Lakewood

now do we HAVE to mail the books? i think i have heard of swapper who happen to live across the street or around the corner)

so if we self-deliver would that be against the rules?

Date Posted: 3/11/2010 8:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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I wouldn't think so, but I could be wrong. If it happened to me I would PM the member and ask if they would mind if I brought it and put it in their mailbox, or even take it to the door.

There is no one else in my town who does PBS, according to the member directory, but I would really hope if someone did join and request a book from me that I could take it across town or down the street, or whatever the case may be, instead of wasting $2.38 to just have the PO do the same thing.

Edited for a grammar error I couldn't let go! lol

Last Edited on: 3/11/10 8:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/11/2010 8:29 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2007
Posts: 9,520
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I have done this a few times. WHat you need to do however is print the mailing label either to a file or without any money add ons, so that you can mark it mailed.

then make sure that the requestor marks it received.

Last Edited on: 3/11/10 8:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/11/2010 8:32 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,481
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My theory is that I will not deliver books without PMing the person to see if that is okay.  After all, not all of us have the same mailboxes or time schedules.  Not all of us feel comfortable with strangers coming by the house.  A person who is busy with both work and kids?  Someone who has a mailbox which only the PO has access to and no place for a book to be left safely out of the weather?   A single woman who sees an unexpected stranger at her door? 

I also set it up that if I'm meeting another PBS member for the first time, we meet at a neutral place, like a cafe, the post office, or the library.

That said.  I do hand deliver books to folks that I have contacted.  And I check their wishlists before posting books.  I like saving on the postage.

Date Posted: 3/11/2010 8:32 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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If it happened to me I would PM the member and ask if they would mind if I brought it and put it in their mailbox, or even take it to the door.

FYI  -  I'm pretty sure that it's against federal law to open someone else's mailbox, even if the intentions are good.  

Date Posted: 3/11/2010 8:33 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Should be doable.  The stranger thing makes some members uncomfortable tho.   So if it's not a person you already know, pm first.  The other member may prefer meeting you in a neutral or public spot.

Last Edited on: 3/12/10 12:35 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/11/2010 8:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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FYI  -  I'm pretty sure that it's against federal law to open someone else's mailbox, even if the intentions are good. 

Really? I've received flyers in my mailbox that obviously weren't delivered by a mailman.

Date Posted: 3/11/2010 8:41 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2009
Posts: 326
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Last Edited on: 7/19/10 9:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/11/2010 8:43 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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There are laws against putting anything that isn't mail into someone's mail box (eta: Even newspapers aren't technically supposed to be left in mailboxes, even the kind with the hooks underneath that seem designed for precisely that purpose.  Our local newspaper has licensed mailboxes that can be installed next to your mailbox for this reason).  All you would need to do is not use the mailbox to sidestep that issue.  I do wonder if PBS has a policy regarding non-postal delivery, but since they don't insist you use the post office (you could use FedEx, for example) I don't think they could prevent you from hand delivering items.  I definitely agree that some folks would feel uncomfortable with this method; I, for one, would much rather receive my books the usual way.  I've got social anxiety issues, and I'm pretty sure receiving the books personally would be difficult for me.  However, should you find a nearby member who doesn't mind and agrees, I can't find any reasons why you couldn't deliver books yourself.

Last Edited on: 3/11/10 8:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/11/2010 8:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,204
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You should get approval from the requester first. Its one thing to know that a member gets your address, its some thing else to know came to your house.

It is illegal for anyone but a postal employee to put stuff in a person's mailbox so if you do hand deliver it you should make sure there is some other safe place you can put it.

Date Posted: 3/11/2010 9:05 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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I've done it before.

Definitely PM first to ask.  I recommend suggesting dropping it off, instead of asking for a face-to-face meeting at the person's address. You also want to check that there's a space to leave it, or that they will be home to receive it. It would suck to make a trip to find out no one is home and it's an apartment building with no convenient and safe place to leave a package.

You don't actually have to print anything out. Just click on the "Print wrapper" buttion to activate the "Book mailed" button.

There is a law -- related to the postal monopoly -- that restricts access to mailboxes only to the USPS or the mailbox owner. You can read more about opinions on this at the following link:


Date Posted: 3/11/2010 9:32 PM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2005
Posts: 3,371
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Like James, I too would find it difficult to arrange to do a hand to hand transaction.  I have a PO Box because I am reluctant about who knows where I live (one person following you home from work and putting you in a bad situation will have that affect).  So, please do not push the issue just to save a buck or two.  If you'd like to PM them and ask about possibly meeting at a coffee shop or dropping it off on their doorstep, cool, but it can not be placed in their mailbox.

Date Posted: 3/11/2010 10:34 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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It wouldn't bother me a bit.  Heck - I went to Nellie's for a meet up and some of us exchanged our books then.  I've met people from all over the US in person, after first meeting them online. 

I'd probably arrange a place to get the book that wasn't my home, but I might not.

It's not against any of the rules, I'm 99% sure.  Seems as if the team has addressed this issue at one time.

Date Posted: 3/12/2010 12:42 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I've definately seen members post that they hand deliver books to nearby fellow members.  That's where I've seen the information about stranger discomfort.  But several have worked out arrangements that started with meeting in a public forum, and have since progressed to dropping books off at one anothers home.

Ditto on using the mailbox, legally only postal employees and owners can access those.  Destroying or vandelism is also a federal offense.

Date Posted: 3/12/2010 10:17 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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I once had a DVD set on the sister site requested by someone who only lives a couple of minutes from me. Seemed a waste of time and materials to wrap it and put it in a box when I had to drive by their house to get to the P.O. So I PM'd them and told them how close I was, and offered to 1) Mail it anyway, 2) meet at the local McDonalds or someplace public or 3) drop it by their house if they felt comfortable enough.

They were on-line when I PM'd, so got permission just to drive the set right over. We met in her driveway, had a nice chat, and she got to watch her new shows right away and I had my credits before I got home.

Worked out well in that case, but I let them know I'd be willing to mail it and would do so if I didn't hear from them by the due date. I think all you can do is ask.

Date Posted: 3/12/2010 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 4/10/2008
Posts: 169
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Like others said before me, I would first PM the member and get his or her permission before personally dropping off a book. I would also be wary of opening their mailbox since that IS against the law (at least where I live). I'd have to get specific permission before doing anything like that.

But I'd be all for it if I could save time and money by driving over and delivering a book myself. I'd probably just leave it safely hidden near their front door, kinda like what UPS does.

Date Posted: 3/12/2010 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 4/24/2008
Posts: 310
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I wouldn't mind doing this.  Probably won't ever come up for me.  I think there are only a couple of PBS members in my town and they have different tastes from me.

Date Posted: 3/12/2010 10:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,316
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I've had a couple of requests from people in my town, and I've done it both ways.  One person was only a few blocks away so I sent an e-mail and asked if it would be ok to just drop it off.  She said ok and I did (put it in her door).  The other one lived a few miles away so I mailed that one.  Don't think there are any rules either way.  Pat