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Topic: Mail only at Post Office

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Subject: Mail only at Post Office
Date Posted: 12/11/2014 10:04 PM ET
Member Since: 3/28/2010
Posts: 3,023
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What sorts of idiots work for the post office today?
I just got a multiple book package returned back to me covered in warning stickers and keep away from aircraft stickers.
The gist was that it was over 13 ounces and stamped, therefore must be mailed at the post office.

Except I did mail it at the post office.
Was I supposed to wait in line and hand it to them at the counter?

It was also marked media mail, so if someone was so concerned about the contents, they could have just opened it up!

Date Posted: 12/11/2014 10:37 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,570
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The question in your first paragraph is rhetorical, so I'll skip it laughand answer your second question.


The easiest thing to do for a package over 13 ounces is buy some or all of your postage using the APC, you can enter any value you want to buy so if you know the rates for the MM your sending, you're good to go. You can do a mix of stamps and electronic if you want. There just has to be something trackable if you don't hand it off in person. Or you can buy postage online or at the counter.

Last Edited on: 12/11/14 10:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Scott (scalta) - ,
Date Posted: 12/12/2014 1:29 AM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2010
Posts: 723
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Yes, if using stamps, you must hand over any package over 13oz to a counter person.  If you can't, or don't want to, wait in line, you can use online printable prepaid postage and then mail from home, a blue box, or any other drop location.

This is directly from the "Help Center":

Do I have to mail from a post office?

It depends on the weight of your package, and if you use stamps for postage. Note that if you use PBS Printed Postage, the USPS's "13-ounce rule" does not apply.

  • If your package weighs 13 ounces or less (many paperbacks):
    • you can mail your books straight from home, even if you use stamps: place the required amount of postage on the wrapper and pop the book in your outgoing mailbox. There is no need to waste time or energy driving to the Post office.
    • You can also mail these packages from a blue mailbox or other mail collection point.
  • If your package is over 13 ounces (typical hardcovers or multiple-book shipments) and you use stamps for postage:
    • USPS National Security regulations require that the package be physically handed to a postal employee, and this generally means that you would need to take it to the post office.
    • You can also hand it to your mail carrier, if your mail carrier agrees to this.
    • Packages weighing over 13 ounces that bear stamps for postage will be returned to the sender.
    • If you are uncertain whether your book as wrapped weighs more or less than 13 ounces, the PO is the surest way to mail it.  You can also get a postal scale to use at home.
  • If you use PBS Printable Postage (or other printed or metered postage):
  • The 13-ounce regulation does NOT apply; you can mail from your outgoing mailbox or a blue mailbox or a USPS collection point at work.

These regulations regarding stamped packages over a certain weight are designed to prevent untraceable packages that could contain dangerous material from being sent via USPS.  They were originally put into place after the Unabomber sent bombs through the US Mail, and they have been refined several times since then.  The weight limit was changed from 16 ounces to 13 ounces on July 30, 2007.

Date Posted: 12/12/2014 2:39 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2014
Posts: 2,793
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The gist was that it was over 13 ounces and stamped, therefore must be mailed at the post office.

Except I did mail it at the post office.
Was I supposed to wait in line and hand it to them at the counter?

Yes.    You have to hand it to a clerk at the Post Office.  



Date Posted: 12/13/2014 10:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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It is more of an FAA rule that the Post Office has to follow if they want to keep putting their mail on airplanes.

Date Posted: 1/5/2015 11:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,350
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When I go into my Post Office with this kind of package, I wait at the side of the line, kind of holding the package up, stamp side toward them, until one of the clerks sees me.  S/he tells me to leave it on the counter, and continues helping the person in front of his/her window.  I don't know if they do this for everyone, or if they recognize me, but it's nice.

Date Posted: 1/6/2015 7:31 AM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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Patty, yes, it's because they recognize you. They are really supposed to ask the questions every time and check the postage, but most window clerks will let you slide after the first time or two. 

Date Posted: 1/6/2015 2:07 PM ET
Member Since: 11/9/2008
Posts: 41
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Yep! I always wait in line and I like it because I buy my postage online so the tracking is always tacked on. The receipt that I get from the post office is my own proof of mailing. I'd be too paranoid to just drop the mail at the PO boxes because of that same situation of, "what if my digital scale is wrong and I'm short on postage?"

Date Posted: 1/7/2015 12:22 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Again, another yes. 

Like Patty, I wait off to the side until I catch a clerks eye between customers.  I hold up the package and they will usually wave me over and accept the package...over the counter, accomplished.  If this is your only transaction, you shouldn't have to wait in line (or at least use the express line).

FYI - Thought I had heard the 13 oz. rule was Homeland Security. 

Date Posted: 1/7/2015 10:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Actually, the 13 ounce rule started during the time of the UniBomber.  Before Homeland was formed.

Date Posted: 1/8/2015 10:15 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2014
Posts: 2,793
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Some rules are written in blood meaning something bad happened to make it necessary to make the rule. They want to be able to have have a trail to track down someone who will commit crime. 

Last Edited on: 1/8/15 10:15 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/8/2015 2:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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It is the FAA's rule.  They don't want anything dangerous to fly on passenger planes.