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Topic: Media Mail Harassment...

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Subject: Media Mail Harassment...
Date Posted: 6/3/2008 7:08 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 2
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Hi all!

I was just curious....  Does anyone else here get the feeling that the post office does not enjoy sending things media mail?  They always sigh and act very put upon when I ask for a book to be shipped media, but today they took it up a notch, and told me very rudely, "Well, if this is opened, and there is not really a book in here, it will be sent back to you."

I couldn't believe it. Has anyone else encountered anything like this?

Date Posted: 6/3/2008 7:24 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,599
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Just smile at them and say, "thank you for letting me know that, it is a book so it does qualify for Media Mail rate".

Actually, it's not sent back to you if it's not a book, it's sent on to the recipient postage due because it's bumped up to a different rate.

Maybe your PO has had a problem with people sending stuff MM that doesn't qualify or maybe the clerk was having a bad day.

Date Posted: 6/3/2008 7:24 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
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Every time I read about these horror stories about post offices, I'm extremely grateful for the people who work at mine. They are unfailingly polite and helpful. In fact one time I didn't have a book marked media mail and they asked if I wanted to send it media! They always figure out the cheapest way for me to send my books.


And yeah, I'm sure that there are people who misuse media mail but I know PBSers don't. I hope you smiled sweetly and pointed to the PBS logo :)



Subject: I've never had a media mail problem
Date Posted: 6/3/2008 9:00 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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I have taken to writing "book - no enclosures" on the outside (as well as MEDIA MAIL in red) to show any considering opening the pcakage that I was clear about the rules.

Date Posted: 6/4/2008 6:48 AM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2008
Posts: 1,080
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The post office is trying to increase the percentage of priority and express mail. Media mail is like a swear word because they do not make money on the cheaper rates.

The employees are doing the job they are told to do, but they should be nice about it.

Date Posted: 6/4/2008 9:00 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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I had what must have been a new guy because I said I needed to mail all of these packages media mail because they were books and one had to go overseas and he was asking if it had perishables, etc.  I said it is also a book.

Anyway, he was looking at the PBS wrapper and thought it was pretty neat that they gave you the suggested mailing rate (assuming the weight is correct!).  I told him there were several book swapping sites and that you can save a lot of money this way.

Date Posted: 6/5/2008 12:16 AM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
Posts: 7,719
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At the small PO in my neighborhood, there are only 2 regular clerks, one always gives me a sigh, and goes twice as slow, and asks all the questions, perishables, need DC, Return Receipt, etc., even when I tell her, "Hello, this is a book to go Media Mail, please" when I get to the counter. The other one is sweet as pie, fast as a speeding bullet and always asks if I have gotten any good books in the mail lately. Of course I usually arrive at the counter in time to get the cranky one....go figure.

Date Posted: 6/5/2008 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2008
Posts: 1,080
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Technically, we have to ask the "liquid, fragile, perishible, hazardous" thing even when we know the contents.

I tend to say it quickly adding "its not......because its a book" or whatever. Same with the insurance and DC question, these are required questions. I ask them and move on. If you are mailing 20 packages, it is not required to ask all questions for each package.


Date Posted: 6/5/2008 10:43 AM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2008
Posts: 37
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My post office people are so nice. They strive to find me the cheapest rate. I wish you had nicer people to deal with. :(

Date Posted: 6/5/2008 1:41 PM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,805
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my post office people are used to me by now.  if i'm shipping several things i just make one pile for first class, and one pile for media mail and tell which is which as i slide them onto the counter.  they rarely ask me the questions anymore, but i always just say it's all books if they do.

i went to a different post office yesterday (much more convenient hours), and gave him the books the same way but didn't specifically say it's all books, and he didn't ask me the questions either.  i wondered if they've got someone from PBS who goes there regularly.

Date Posted: 6/5/2008 7:32 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
Posts: 3,070
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The one that really got me was I came in to mail about 8 books once and the viper working the counter told me I had to tell her which ones I actually read!  Puh-leez!!!

Date Posted: 6/5/2008 11:29 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2008
Posts: 91
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I can see why that would annoy you, Maureen. I got the "Well, if this is opened, and there is not really a book in here, it will be sent back to you" speech from a postal clerk a few years ago when shipping a box of books via media mail back home. I don't mind the questions about whether there are any liquids, etc. in the packages because I know they have to be asked. I object to the snippiness with which the questions are asked. Sometimes I want to be a smart-aleck and say, "God forbid there should be a knitting pattern stuck inside one of my books because it will throw off the equilibrium of the entire universe and will plunge us all back into the Dark Ages." But I never do.

The main post office in my city is full of the not-so-nice employees. However, I feel very lucky that my mail carrier and the postal workers at the smaller PO nearest to me are usually very nice. A couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd printed two book wrappers using PBS postage, but it turned out that I'd forgotten to check "Use PBS postage" for one of them;  I didn't want to waste paper and ink by printing up another wrapper, so I had to make a trip to the PO. The postal worker joked that I did it on purpose just to see him, and we had a good laugh. It is not an easy job dealing with cranky people all day long, so I give him and his peers a lot of credit for maintaining their sunny dispositions.

Date Posted: 6/6/2008 11:47 AM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2006
Posts: 3,359
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I use the APC so I don't have to deal with the postal clerks.  :)  Plus, the lines at my PO are always way too long.

Date Posted: 6/6/2008 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Well I usually use stamps or the printed postage for convenience. But if I have other business with the PO and books to mail, I'll take them and I"ve never had a problem. They just remind me that there can't be any personal correspondence and that's that. 

Date Posted: 6/9/2008 8:52 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2005
Posts: 12,167
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Our postal clerks are awesome.  They always ask the "liquid, perishable, etc" question, but they do it rapid fire when they know the answer is no.   :)   They're always polite and friendly and virtually always catch it if I've printed a media mail label for a book that could go cheaper First Class.   They rock.   :)

Subject: Media Mail
Date Posted: 6/10/2008 5:19 PM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2008
Posts: 11
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My post office has a stamp that says media mail is subject to search, and I have recieved a couple of packages that were oppened.

Date Posted: 6/11/2008 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2005
Posts: 504
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I go to the central mail processing facility in Northern Virginia, where they are open from 8 a.m. to midnight through the week. The clerks are wonderful, even though I can see some of them are less than enthusiastic when I show up with a tote full of books to weigh and mail. I've been using online postage and the APC a lot for the past few months, though.

The neighborhood post offices are less friendly, I think because a stack of books is outside the norm for them. The people at the main PO see it all, just about every day, and nothing seems to throw them.

Date Posted: 6/11/2008 3:58 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 1,032
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My neighborhood POs are okay but I prefer to use the APC to avoid the long lines.  Several of the clerks have been interested after seeing the PBS logo  but I don't know if any one of them actually signed up.  When I go to the POs in the business district, I prefer to just deposit my books in the mail boxes and since I use meter postage or APC stamps, it isn't a problem.  The clerks are always busy and I don't want them to ask me a hundred questions. 

Subject: Yes, they DO open them. . .
Date Posted: 6/12/2008 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 3/2/2008
Posts: 1
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My ex-roommate is a postal worker and so we would get the postal newsletters delivered to our house.  I read one last year that had a big article about how many non-qualifying items they catch that are sent media mail.  They said they'd seen it all. . .boots and other large items, etc.  They had a big long list of things.

And to whoever asked, when you send it media mail they do have the right to inspect it.  Granted, none of MINE ever have been, but they can and sometimes do, though from what I understand it's usually at the sorting facility, not at your local office.

It's frustrating, though, because media mail IS basically parcel post at half the cost (or more).



Date Posted: 6/13/2008 5:38 PM ET
Member Since: 6/7/2007
Posts: 996
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I love my post office workers! They are nice and friendly. They check to see if my books are cheaper frist class. I plan on taking them some ice cream this summer. :)

Date Posted: 6/13/2008 6:38 PM ET
Member Since: 10/24/2007
Posts: 63
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Unfortunately, not every post office has an APC! When I lived in Atlanta, it seemed like every post office had one, but since I moved to PA, they've been very hard to find. Most post offices do not have them. I finally found one, but it's about 10 miles out of my way. That's one reason I switched to using printable postage!
Date Posted: 6/15/2008 11:50 AM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2005
Posts: 1,608
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Last Edited on: 2/8/15 12:09 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/15/2008 7:13 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2007
Posts: 527
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Last Edited on: 1/24/09 12:25 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/15/2008 7:49 PM ET
Member Since: 5/9/2006
Posts: 1,756
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Kris when I had a problem like you had I handled it differntly by asking to see the supervisor who apologised to me and gave training to the offending clerk. Maybe that saved someone else the same hassle I went through.

Date Posted: 6/17/2008 10:38 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
Posts: 180
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Years ago when sending a media mail box to my son in the Navy, the clerk tried to tell me I couldn't do that .Even though there was a notice on the wall behind him stating the rules for media mail. When I pointed that out, he replied," You know that package can be opened and checked." I said well yes that was fine with me. He finally  weighed it and told me the postage due. It went through the postal system with no problems.