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Topic: Is this odd or is it just me?

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Subject: Is this odd or is it just me?
Date Posted: 7/29/2007 4:44 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
Posts: 3,070
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Was in the PO last week wanting to buy various denominations of stamps.  I believe I asked the gal at the counter for some $1, some 5¢, and some 10¢.  She asked me what I needed them for and my reply was, "Uh, so I can mail things?"  She told me she needed to know what I was going to mail before she'd give me any!!!  This is the 2nd time this has happened to me at the PO.  I really wanted to tell her it wasn't any of her ****** business but I didn't.  I wasn't even mailing anything at the time,  just wanting to stock up.  This happen to anyone else?

Date Posted: 7/29/2007 5:17 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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that is really strange, what difference does it make what you are mailing?  I would tell her you want to stock up for future use and you aren't sure what you'll be mailing since you are stocking up at this time

If you are looking for postage for books to mail and have an APC in your post office, buy several $2.13 stamps and not worry about consolidating postage especially now with the weight limits on dropping off with stamps.

Date Posted: 7/30/2007 12:04 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,406
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O better yet...buy stamps at USPS.com.  You can buy any denominations you want to and no one will ask what you are buying them for.......and it cost $1....heck of a deal!

Date Posted: 7/30/2007 1:20 PM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2006
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Last Edited on: 1/17/09 6:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/30/2007 1:44 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 877
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I would hope they are trying to be helpful, since rates just changed.  They want to make sure you know what you need.  Also, that you know that if it's over 13 oz. it can't go in a blue box.

That's my primadonna-like assumption anyway.  I can't imagine them being so nosy as to want to know that it's your Aunt Matilda's birthday next week.

Date Posted: 7/30/2007 3:13 PM ET
Member Since: 12/17/2006
Posts: 42
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Yes, Marjorie, I suspect they are trying to be helpful.  This is why I think so.

Recently I got alot of stamp combinations, now I got a message in my (large) mailbox that: 

"Due to heightened security requirements, ALL MAIL that bears postage stamps and weighs more than 13 ounces MUST be taken by the customer to a retail service associate at the Post Office."  This was a blue sticker with the ID on it of:

July 2007 DECDDD2

I was a bit miffed, until I realized the emphasis is on STAMPS and not printed postage which I use through paypal.  I'll still be able to use my stamps, but it may take a bit longer if I only have heavy books or packages to mail, OR I'll have to be making those trips to the Post Office like in the old days -  instead of the easier putting it out in my personal mailbox to be picked up.

Given this information -- your postal worker was doing you a favor if you mail many packages over 13 ounces.

Date Posted: 7/30/2007 4:12 PM ET
Member Since: 3/24/2007
Posts: 4,544
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I get the same questioning look or flat out question when I want to buy a pane of $1.00 stamps.  I figured since I was asking for $1.00 stamps, was I sure that I wanted stamps in such a large denomination.  But I also saw the look on the postal clerk's face, like "what do you want those for?" 

I try to deal as little as possible with humans at the post office because it is such an aggravating exercise.  I'll either buy from usps.com or use the APC in the lobby, to avoid the long, slow line and the once over by the clerks.

Date Posted: 7/30/2007 4:35 PM ET
Member Since: 9/21/2005
Posts: 65
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I bought some .01 cent and .02 cent stamps at the post office and was asked the same question.  I started to tell them I was going to wallpaper my bathroom with them, but then just said..."need the stamps to go with some .39 and .37 cent stamps I still had."  That seemed to satisfy them.

Date Posted: 7/30/2007 4:46 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
Posts: 3,070
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Chris, why the diff with the 13 ounces and stamps vs printed postage?  Once I ran out of stamps after posting them on a PBS book, I had 2 more books to mail so I brought them all to the PO.  The clerk had to weigh and check out my already posted package and put some type of "ok" on it...she said to make sure no one was mailing bombs, that's why she had to do it.  If it would have been anyone else I would have thought she was making a ha-ha, but this woman has no sense of humor at all about her.

Date Posted: 7/30/2007 5:35 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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with printed postage there is a trail to follow vs someone putting random stamps on a package.

Date Posted: 7/30/2007 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 12/17/2006
Posts: 42
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Michelle -- Since the blue sticker was dated JULY 2007, I would say apparently this rule is rather new.  To see the sticker see photo below.  Apparently it is used to deny shipment for packages that don't comply.  My (rural route) driver just hand wrote a note on the back of it and included it with my mail delivery -- to tell me about it so I'd know in the future.   Actually  that was rather nice, I think.  I'd have hated it  if she's  left some packages instead of telling me first.

Leslie -- Yes, exactly.  There is a trail of WHO shipped because it is paid and printed online.  Beats me how that is safer!?  But I'm glad there's still a way I can mail without driving to the P.O.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTE:  From what I gather after years of going to the PO to mail packages, is that the employees are often harrassed by management to toe the line.  Often the rules are poorly understood (even by management), but the employee is still under pressure to DO IT RIGHT.  But as you get to know the clerks, they are nice people just trying to do their jobs.  And they warm up as they get to know you.



Last Edited on: 7/31/07 10:48 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/30/2007 11:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 382
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why not say you collect stamps (the post office loves collectors as they get the money to keep knowing that that

stamps "supposley" wont be used

Date Posted: 7/31/2007 12:35 AM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2006
Posts: 353
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"She asked me what I needed them for"

Really? Truly? Dang - I would LOVE to be asked this question. Oh, there's just SO many possibilities..
(bet you thought of more than a few good answers after the fact...)

- off to start compiling a list, just in case!

 

Edit: Dang, someone would have to go and point out it's probably  more likely the employee being forced to ask silly questions by management. Hmm.. coming up with interesting answers that aren't at the expense of the already-harassed employee will be harder!



Last Edited on: 7/31/07 12:37 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/31/2007 8:49 AM ET
Member Since: 9/21/2005
Posts: 65
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So why is the post office still selling stamps at all?  Since a printed postage strip is traceable and anonymous stamps aren't and being able to trace a letter/package to it's origin is important?

Date Posted: 7/31/2007 9:28 AM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
Posts: 3,070
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Ah, ok, the printed makes sense then since it's traceable.

I still don't think they should ask what you need them for...I mean, "I can't give them to you til you tell me what you need them for," is a little extreme!   I like whoever mentioned they'd say "to wallpaper!"

Date Posted: 7/31/2007 10:47 AM ET
Member Since: 12/17/2006
Posts: 42
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Possibly a question back to the employee would clear the air.  Like: "Why do you ask?" 

Date Posted: 7/31/2007 5:30 PM ET
Member Since: 5/1/2005
Posts: 262
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Michelle, why not just make up an interesting story to entertain the clerk. Maybe something like you are just wanting to pull a joke on a friend and you want to mail him a box of condoms- extra small size. <grin>  Sorry I am in a weird mood I guess. lol.

Date Posted: 7/31/2007 7:51 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2006
Posts: 315
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I hopefully asked a postal clerk (who's used to me and my big bags of media mail parcels) if perchance there might be $2 stamps in anyone's future, and she gave me that same are-you-from-Mars look. I pointed out that media mail is in the $2ish range, and that it ends up covering the front of the package in stamps when I try to do it with smaller postage ... sigh.

What I really wish is that I could go to USPS.gov and say, "Please send me 50 $2.31,  50 2.65, and 50 2.99 stamps, please," and they'd send me preprinted TRACKABLE postage that's transactionally linked to my credit card -- problem solved. I'm not holding my breath, though.

Date Posted: 7/31/2007 8:45 PM ET
Member Since: 12/17/2006
Posts: 42
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Eloise, you have a GREAT idea!  I love it!

Maybe USPS should hire you!  Inovation would help them to make money, and honestly some of their ideas are pretty hairbrained.  They could use the help.

FOR INSTANCE:  Why give FREE boxes for PRIORITY, instead of minimal (I mean REALLY low) cost boxes that can be used for ALL shipping.  Sometimes I really wonder about those in charge of the United States Postal Service.

Date Posted: 7/31/2007 11:56 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2006
Posts: 4,155
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Yes, Michelle,   it goes back to the UniBomber.  That's when the reg's changed to require any package over 1lb with STAMPS to be handed to a postal clerk. 

Date Posted: 8/1/2007 6:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2005
Posts: 209
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The clerk asked you about the stamps to keep you from making a mistake or to suggest a better combination.  I do this all the time when a customer asks for denominations that aren't nomally used.  I can easily say that 95% of the time the customer was ready to make a purchace they didn't have to.

Right now the most common are 3 cent stamps because there are a whole lot of people out there who think the rate went from .39 to .42.  Also a lot of people are trying to buy stamps for the additional ounces for the wrong amount.  Also they aren't aware that for many of these classes/weights we have single stamps to save using combinations or a better combination then what the customer is trying to buy. 

It really is about customer service and some clerks are good at it and have the best interest of their customers in mind.

Eloise, if the PO did that then all the companies that sell on line postage and lease postage meters would be screeming at Congress about us infringing on free enterprise.  There are a lot of things the PO could do if it weren't for that or if we were to privatize completely.  But then as in every country that has privatized their postal services, the rates would go up and service would go down.

Date Posted: 8/1/2007 7:26 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 21
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We live in a different world now!  Next I suppose we will have to show what we are mailing for approval before they will accept it.

Date Posted: 8/1/2007 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 9/21/2006
Posts: 2,763
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I've never used an APO, so correct me if i'm wrong. 

If I purchased postage at one, how are they (big brother) going to trace that particular postage back to me?  Isn't the best they can do is trace it back to that P.O.?

_________________________________________________________________________________

or, do these machines only take credit cards?  If they dont take cash, i surely wont be using them!!!

Date Posted: 8/2/2007 7:03 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2005
Posts: 209
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Please, people, tone down the mood a bit, OK.  The PO is not Big Brother.  The steps they take are mostly to protect their customers and their employees and in some cases their revenue.  No different then any other business.  Actually, that's probably better then a lot of other businesses.  There are a ton out there that don't care all that much about employee saftey.  If you can't figure that out after the dozens of posts on this forum explaining it then please go back and re-read them. 

Wendy, we've already coverd that a few times in other threads that are still active, but as a clue, when you insert your credit card to pay for it smile.  A record of your credit card as well as your face is being made.

I and the other Postal employees who help out here do so on our own time.  In most cases we go into great depth to explain the whats, whys, and wherefores on a lot issues that are brought up, even those that are off topic for ths forum.  I have no problems answering questions and trying to help but some of these posts are starting to get under my skin a bit.  Not only are they inaccurate and the issues have already been explained in detail they are bordering on being insulting.

There are other options for shipping books besides the Postal Service.  They are in most cases more expensive then the books themselves and guess what?  The same HASMET issues apply to private shippers also.

Cheryle, inspection of all Parcel Post classes is allowed and legal.  In the case of Media Mail it is expected because so many people abuse it by sending other things at the reduced (often less then our cost) rate that don't qualify for Media Mail.  For awhile the abuse was so bad there was discussion of eliminating the Media Mail rate.  In fact today I caught an Ebayer mailing a whole box of non-qualified stuff as Media Mail after telling me it contained books and videos. 

In most stations they aren't going to require you to open it in front of them but I have heard of cases where they do just that, or require customers to bring it in unsealed.  Personally I think that is a bit extreme and in my office we would't have time to deal with that but it is the Manager's/Postmaster's discretion to do it that way if they choose.

I generally alow things to flow freely here and I'm sorry if I come across as a grouch at times (which I probably am, a few hundred transactions a day face to face with the public can do that to me at times).  I try to keep the attitude that we are fellow members in a club and interact more as friends.  That's why I generally don't jump on someone for posting topics that are off topic and I haven't locked down any threads, yet.  I hope it doesn't get to that point.

So please, think some things through a bit, read the previous posts covering the topic you wish to comment on, and do so as if to a friend. 

Thank You all.

 

Date Posted: 8/2/2007 10:10 PM ET
Member Since: 9/21/2006
Posts: 2,763
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Steve- 

I totally understand that using my credit card at an APO would be traceable.... and if I ever do use one, I will smile and show my pearly whites!!!! ; )

My main question, (at the bottom of my original post, so maybe it got lost)    was, do these machines take "cash" or only credit cards? 

I had searched the forums with those key words and wasn't able to find this particular answer.

I love to always read your informative posts, as you explain things easily and simply.  AND I am sorry for my 'big bro" comment.

 

 

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