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Topic: P.O. new policy on Media Mail

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Subject: P.O. new policy on Media Mail
Date Posted: 7/22/2009 2:36 PM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2008
Posts: 2
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I was just at my local P. O. and the clerk told me that there is a new policy for media mail.  All media mail will be opened and inspected to make sure it is truely media mail and some one is not mailing something else.  Guess the folks on e-bay are telling people items, say a pair of jeans will be less postage if sent media mail.  Now I wonder if we will have to take mailing supplies to P.O. and wrap after inspection as will they re-wrap the plastic and wrap and tape the package securely?  I am a retired P.O. employee and we never had a directive from higher up to do this so is new and is being  implimented due to P.O. lossing money on media mail when what is being sent is not media.


Date Posted: 7/22/2009 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 692
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I can't imagine that they will "save" money doing this after taking into account the employees time to do this the the expense of retaping the packages. :(

Hopefully, just an empty threat to put a scare into the dishonest people out there.



Date Posted: 7/22/2009 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 2/22/2009
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Media mail as well as standard mail is always open to inspection. I don't believe the PO would ever enter a policy of opening "all" mail of a certain type because it would take too long and cost too much. Christina has it right, it is an empty threat to try to influence those who do like to abuse the use of the media rate to not try something that they could be caught at.
Date Posted: 7/22/2009 7:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
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I think a postal employee member once posted that they have to inspect 1 media mail package a day or something. So there is always the risk of an inspection. But I doubt the PO will fund the cost of paying someone to inspect and rewrap all media mail packages.

Date Posted: 7/22/2009 10:08 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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I think they may be cracking down on packages that may possibly be abuses, but not items they are fairly certain are probably a book - almost all packages I've gotten from swapping are fairly obviously books.

Date Posted: 7/23/2009 3:40 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Yeah, what they already said.  Your PO is probably misinformed, which seems to happen frequently with USPS employees.  It's my understanding that postal inspection is rather complicated, and involves a supervisor, witness, and paperwork.  It's unfortunate that there is so much abuse of the Media Mail option.

Date Posted: 7/23/2009 9:34 AM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2009
Posts: 61
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I work at a PO and have never heard this.  All media mail is open TO inspection, not opened AND inspected. That means that any package MAY be opened if there is suspicion. It would be a waste of time and money to open the thousands of medial mail parcels that go through the system each day.


Subject: Media Mail inspection
Date Posted: 8/11/2009 4:34 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2009
Posts: 118
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I just got finished mailing my latest PBS book via media mail. They had me fill out a form with my name, address, and signature. The form said that ALL media mail will be inspected from now on. The PO worker said that it is a new policy that has been in effect for several weeks. This is the third time in several weeks that I have mailed via Media Mail, and it is the first time that I have had to fill out the form. This will be a big pain in the tookus if it continues. But I am wondering why all of the inconsistencies out there with other POs. Ugh!!

Date Posted: 8/11/2009 8:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2005
Posts: 1,292
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Marianne, but if you print your label with the postage included on the PBS site, you can just drop it in a mailbox or even put it in your own mailbox for your carrier to take. So how could they insist anyone fill out a form for media mail?

Jorgy, how can they afford to open, inspect and re-pakage every package? That would be crazy expensive!

I use four different post offices to mail my books and one woman always makes a big deal over my books. Every time. She sighs, looks stern, and then before she touches them, she says, You DO realize that we can inspect these to make sure they're books, right? And these have to be regular books without advertising. {{{{What IS a book with advertising anyway???}}}}} It's always unexpected--so I get flustered and tongue tied--and I always point out to her that she can check out the PBS site herself and see it's legit! Argggg

Last Edited on: 8/20/09 1:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/11/2009 10:02 PM ET
Member Since: 9/7/2008
Posts: 41
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Marianne - An earlier thread on this topic (can't seem to find it at the moment) narrowed down this "fill out a form" phenomenon to Wisconsin. It seems that only members from Wisconsin were being asked to do this new procedure. I can't remember if it was ever decided if it was a "test market" type thing or just a misinterpretation of the policies that was only happening in WI. Someday I'll get the forum search thing to work right....... Edited to add: And of course right after I post I manage to find it. Here's the earlier topic: http://www.paperbackswap.com/forum/topic.php?t=173534

Last Edited on: 8/11/09 10:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Filling out Media mail form
Date Posted: 8/12/2009 7:00 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,448
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I always use printable postage and just chuck it in the mailbox...so no one has harrased me about opening packages, but then I think they know me good enough and for pete sake, a book looks like a ...book when it is wrapped.

Last Edited on: 1/25/12 10:20 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/14/2009 6:06 PM ET
Member Since: 4/12/2007
Posts: 2,566
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Grrr... this happened to me today (in WI).  It happened at a local PO, but not two days ago at a grocery store.  Guess who will be getting my business in the future?  I told the PO that I will bring in my packages unwrapped from now on and they could wrap it for me.

Subject: USPS opening Media Mail packages
Date Posted: 8/16/2009 12:51 AM ET
Member Since: 9/19/2008
Posts: 2
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Postal Pat here feeling the need to comment on this.  Pennsylvania postmasters have received NO SUCH directives.  Media Mail has always been subject to inspection IF for some reason it appears to not be a book.  Any postal employee worth their salt can tell a book from a non book.  They are heavy in relationship to their size and they don't rattle, and the weight is even throughout the package. If opened, Yes, they are rewrapped and would be as good or better than any wrapping you do.

No doubt the disgruntled employee wanted to make more money than the little bit we get for media mail....Oh well.  If it were me I would go to the post offices that act like they want your business and let the other jokers lose revenue--they deserve it.  Little packages add up and are the bread and butter of the post office.



Date Posted: 8/17/2009 12:58 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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Honest question here and this is not sarcasm.

Why should I care if they inspect my media mail packages? I have nothing to hide. I don't sneak in bookmarks, notes, advertisments or ship anything other than books.

They can inspect my stuff to their heart's content. I don't care.

Should I?  What am I missing from this fear tactic? As far as honest citizens who use Media Mail go, we have nothing to worry about.

What's the worst that can happen? My book loses 10 minutes of travel time?

Date Posted: 8/17/2009 1:21 AM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2009
Posts: 60
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I agree with Laura, it doesn't bother me -- unless they inspect it and try to make ME re-wrap it. I brought it wrapped, they open it, THEY can spend the time re-wrapping it!

Subject: the reason I care that they inspect.
Date Posted: 8/17/2009 5:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2009
Posts: 1
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If they happen to inspect any or all of my packages, will it add to my shipping time?  Because if its true that they have paperwork, a witness, a supervisor all necessary for it, that will up my shipping time since they ship things out of town at certain times.  If they hold mine for 'inspection', that's another day of shipping!  Frustrating.  I hope they start dealing with this better.  One of my books came in the other day and it had been inspected.  It was really stupid too because it was in a manilla envelope with no padding and you could feel the edges of the hardcover.  How can you not know it's a book?   The whole thing seems more like a waste of time and money.

Date Posted: 8/18/2009 12:28 AM ET
Member Since: 4/12/2007
Posts: 2,566
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Today I was at the grocery store, and asked the clerks at the PO counter about this (again, only in WI).  They said that every single MM package will be opened and inspected.  They won't do it at the grocery store, but at the main "hub" PO. 

It's not the inspection that I mind.  I have nothing to hide, and they'll see that when they look.  I don't even care about any possible added time to the transport - I'm not that desperate for my next credit.  My concern is that I spend time and energy (and quite a bit of packing tape) when wrapping my packages.  I'm confident that they're wrapped properly and as "protectively" as possible.  I trust my own wrap-job, but how can I trust the wrap-job of some unseen guy sitting in a back room of the main hub PO with a huge stack of MM packages to go through?  With the tape, they might have to be sliced open, which could damage a book, and I'm sure they wouldn't spend as much time and care re-wrapping as I did originally.  I might start taking them to the PO unwrapped, letting them look, and then wrapping - what a pain, though!

Date Posted: 8/21/2009 7:59 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 6,060
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I'm sure this will vary from PO to PO and by person inspecting, but I got a package that was inspected (yep, I'm in WI) and if it hadn't been stamped that it had been inspected and the little slip of paper inside, I wouldn't have known it was opened.   This was a bubble mailer.  It was taped well, securely sealed, and they hadn't removed the plastic wrap from around the book so the book was still well-protected. 

By the way, the package was inspected at my local small-town PO upon arrival, apparently, not at a hub.  But maybe that was because it was incoming and not outgoing. 

Date Posted: 8/21/2009 12:13 PM ET
Member Since: 4/8/2007
Posts: 66
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I wonder if this is why I have had 3 books not arrive lately. I have mailed out over 200 books and received as many and never had one lost until this summer.  And now 3 in one summer that were being mailed to me.  Others have arrived but all three were mailed from the east coast (Virginia and TN) and two were mailed on the same day at the same center (but were separate).  I get the impression that some postal workers feel that MM is a joke and some even hate PBS.  I have gotten a few angry looks from them when mailing my items. 

Not sure what we can do about this.  If we are all forced to mail first class then heavier books need to be worth more points or something. 

I am still really upset about my lost books! One of them was a really hard to get ahold of book!  UG!


Date Posted: 8/22/2009 11:48 AM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2008
Posts: 25
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I am in Wisconsin and have both mailed out and gotten books in the last week--no problems here with packages being opened.

Subject: I don't mean to butt in ladies........
Date Posted: 8/24/2009 2:15 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2009
Posts: 117
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I just recieved a DVD (Amazon purchase) from Milwaukee - had been opened, retaped, and a sticker stating in was opened by the post office. Have a nice evening.

Subject: Interesting
Date Posted: 10/6/2011 2:51 AM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2011
Posts: 551
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 I received a package this week from my sister, marked media. But it had been inspected, she had 2 non-book items in there so I had to pay an additional $5. I thought it was just a random thing. I guess not. The book I'm sending off tomorrow is very well packaged and taped, hope they don't want it opened.

Dorothy J. from Tomahawk, I lived there from 1980 to 1989. My daughter Emily P. lives out by the mill. I visit about once/month.


Date Posted: 11/15/2011 1:42 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2010
Posts: 1,540
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Is it something in the water in WI, or what exactly is going on?

Is this a USPS directive, or is it somehow politically related to some larger thing?


I've been meaning to ask this for a while

Date Posted: 11/15/2011 7:49 AM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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This started in the Wisconsin area, but it it slowly making its way around the country. I just had a training class on it a few weeks ago. Yes, we are to inspect every package that is being claimed as Media Mail rate. No, it will not add to your ship times. All mail will be inspected the day it is shipped and dispatched at the same time as normal. If something is found that is not Media Mail, we are to inform the senders post office in writing and that post office informs the sender by certified mail of the offense. The letter advises them on what can and can not be sent Media Mail. A copy of the letter is forwarded to the postal inspectors. If the sender is caught abusing Media Mail again, the postal inspectors step in and the sender is subject to fines, penalties and prosecution. They have prosecuted at least one person in Wisconsin for repeated violations 

Date Posted: 11/15/2011 1:30 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Brandy, what's the inspection process?  And is this directive a local effort, regional, or totally from the top?  We hear mixed reports...DMM says inspections are done under specific conditions by postal staff, but some PO's attempt to include customers in the process at the counter.  Do you mind if I ask what your new training included?

Last Edited on: 11/15/11 1:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1