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Topic: Media mail loses money?

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Subject: Media mail loses money?
Date Posted: 2/26/2009 11:53 AM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2008
Posts: 4
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I was chatting with the USPS guy today as I was mailing a book (media mail, of course). He said the the post office loses money on media mail. Is that really true?
Date Posted: 2/27/2009 7:33 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2008
Posts: 142
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Depends on what he means by "loses money."

If they weren't making enough money to cover costs, it seems to me that they'd either raise the price of media mail or do away with it to make people use first class.

I guess they "lose money" in the sense that they would be making more off the packages if people were paying the first class rate, instead of the media mail rate, but I can't imagine that they'd still offer the service if it was costing THEM to keep it going.

Anybody else ever heard this?

Date Posted: 2/27/2009 7:37 PM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
Posts: 7,719
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Dont they "lose" money every year? On everything?

Date Posted: 2/28/2009 12:52 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,225
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Yes, it is said that the rate for MM is less than it costs them to deliver the package. I don't think they take into account that MM goes only when there is room so that space would be travelling empty and they'd be paying the clerks and the sorters to be there whether they have MM or higher rated mail going by them. To me it is additional revenue without significant increase in costs.

Date Posted: 3/1/2009 12:01 AM ET
Member Since: 9/21/2006
Posts: 2,820
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its because some people use media mail  for items that should not go media mail. 

For example on Ebay right now there is someone saying they are shipping scrapbook page protectors media mail.

It is being abused.

Date Posted: 3/1/2009 11:13 AM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2005
Posts: 48
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Or it could be due to the route taken.  Here's an actual book, mileage by MapQuest:

If I were driving:  Brazil, Indiana to Avon, Ohio - 370 miles

The USPS route:

Brazil to Hazelwood, MO - 195 (oops, wrong way)

Hazelwood, MO to Warrendale, PA - 620 (was that Ohio back there??)

Warrendale, PA to Avon, Ohio 135 (success!!)

Total USPS miles - 950

Date Posted: 3/5/2009 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2006
Posts: 368
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Gosh! Sharon! No wonder the USPS is losing money with mileage like that! I wonder what "brain" thinks up these routes. It would be interesting to know the whys of such routes. Does anyone know?

Date Posted: 3/5/2009 11:53 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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A lot of the "excess" mileage is caused by packages having to go through specific local and regional sorting and collection centers.  No package or letter ever goes direct from one PO to another because that would be incredibly inefficient.  Instead, mail gets collected and sorted then bundled together with other mail going to the same area.