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Topic: A plea to use plastic wrap on outgoing books

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Subject: A plea to use plastic wrap on outgoing books
Date Posted: 12/23/2009 4:16 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,272
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I received an order of two books last week wrapped in 1 layer of newspaper. Needless to say, the newspaper was absolutely shredded and the only thing holding it together was the tape on the label and one piece of tape going horizontally around the books. But what totally redeemed an awful wrapping job was the layer of plastic wrap inside. Without the plastic wrap, I suspect that the books would have become separated from the wrapper and been declared "lost in the mail". Also the books had sat in my top-opening mailbox with the lid up in a snowstorm and would have been absolutely ruined if not for the plastic.

I know that a lot of our members live in snow-free areas of the country, but please don't just consider your climatic conditions, but think where the books are traveling to. It doesn't involve spending extra money -- use plastic grocery bags, wrappers from rolls of paper towels, so many things come wrapped in plastic! It just takes a moment longer to add a layer of plastic. And it can save you from problem transactions resulting from water damage enroute.

p.s. please don't use newspaper to wrap books! It is not sturdy enough! Ditto for gift wrapping paper (designed to be easily torn open) And if you use manilla envelopes, wrap it tightly around the book! Loose in a manilla envelope is a recipe for a torn envelope = missing book!

I will now get off my soapbox.

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 4:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,693
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But, as has been mentioned in previous threads there are some of us that live in homes that rarely have plastic coming into the home...ie: a new roll of paper towels with plastic only perhaps once every 4-6 months, newspaper not subscribed to so no bag, don't order online (other than PBS) so, no plastic there, fruit/vegetables are not purchased in plastic, no magazines, and family and friends are like this also so no plastic there...nope and don't work in an environment where plastic is available.  Oh and I don't do dry cleaning so, no bags there!

If I come across plastic that I think will actually protect from water AND not require a boatload of tape to hold in place then I'll use it, if I don't have some around I'm sorry but, you'll have to do your share by providing adequate place for USPS workers to leave your mail...if they routinely leave the lid open that is an issue you need to take up with your Post Master.



Last Edited on: 12/23/09 7:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/23/2009 4:41 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,272
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Christy, I take your point -- but for those of us who have "walking postmen" whether the lid is left up or closed on the mailbox is not the issue, the mail gets wet just by the postman walking his route in a snowstorm/rainstorm, and we get plenty of both in my part of the country. And I am sure that my newspaper-wrapped books were already damp when they arrived to me. You might not have plastic available -- good for you -- but lots of people do and I am just asking that if it is possible that members consider adding a layer of plastic.

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 4:51 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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but for those of us who have "walking postmen" whether the lid is left up or closed on the mailbox is not the issue, the mail gets wet just by the postman walking his route in a snowstorm/rainstorm, and we get plenty of both in my part of the country.

This is really the issue.  My mail is left in an indoors, thoroughly dry mailbox in my foyer.  The mail gets soaked while the mailman is walking around the neighborhood with his/her little canvas cart.  I have provided a safe and dry place for my mail - yet my mail still gets wet and there is sod all I can do about it.

I do understand the plasic dilemma, as I am greatly reducing my use of plastic, too.  I only use recycled, and always seem to have enough for books to be wrapped in (I usually use dry cleaner bags or reuse packaging).  But - I am fully aware that it is not a requirement, so I won't make a fuss, but my books do get very wet occasionally.

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 5:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Christy, I take your point -- but for those of us who have "walking postmen" whether the lid is left up or closed on the mailbox is not the issue, the mail gets wet just by the postman walking his route in a snowstorm/rainstorm, and we get plenty of both in my part of the country.

Any time a book has to go from a covered climate to an outside one, it can get wet.

We have nested boxes, and the back of each 'group' opens up to the elements while the postman fills up that section. If it's raining or snowing, the mail will get wet from it's trip from the car to the back of the boxes, then while it's sitting in the box and the back door open.
If it's not wet already.

Then there's when the postman carries the mail in the trays to the truck. Not all postoffices have a covered area for this. So if it's raining, they'll be exposed.

The P.O. isn't an enclosed system, even if you have a P.O. box. Somewhere along the way it could certainly be exposed to the elements. And there really is nothing a lot of us can do about it.

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 5:22 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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If you want plastic wrapped books then just create and RC for it. Simple, easy to do and if someone wants to not use plastic they can just decline.
Most PBS members do not read the forums so you are just telling those that have already heard this request many times before.

Not trying to be rude here just stating the way that you can get your books safely and dry.

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 5:40 PM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
Posts: 3,308
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I second the RC suggestion.  I have a walking postman too, and I've gotten frustrated by hearing that it's my fault if a book gets ruined because I don't have a good place to leave mail.  My mail is in a covered box or on a covered stoop, but it gets to me in a bag carried by a mail carrier on foot, so it can get exposed to the elements.  I actually had the carrier hand me a book in a wet wrapping.  After getting 7 water damaged books with wet envelopes/wrapping since this summer, I added an RC about wrapping in plastic wrap.  It just made me sad to see books getting ruined needlessly



Last Edited on: 12/23/09 5:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 12/23/2009 5:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,272
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The reason I started this thread is that a lot of new members DO come to the forums and learn that way -- I know I did when I was new and I am always seeing comments in threads about the fact that someone is a new member and how much they have been learning in the forums.

I know I can have an RC about plastic wrapping -- if it were imperative to me I would have one. I choose not to. But I do see here on the forums members commenting that they live in a desert climate so they don't use plastic -- never thinking about where their books are going to.

All I intended to do was to point out to fellow members that books can be exposed to wetness after they leave your hands and consider that a few extra moments and a bit of plastic can make the difference. I am not, nor do I pretend to be, the book swapping police; do as you please!

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 5:54 PM ET
Member Since: 10/28/2008
Posts: 3,529
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Sally.

 

 

   I also received 2 books that were wrapped in the funny papers, of course the paper was shredded and the only thing left was the two book with a small piece of tape holding them together.  I thank the post office for giving me a great carrier.  She knocked on my door laughing her head off and "said you are the only one on my route that gets books so I think these are yours." So I would also like to ask not so much the plastic but to wrap the books in a stronger paper.

 

I will never send out books with out first lining top and bottom with cardboard and then placing them in some sort of plastic bag. I even have my neighbors saving the bags newspapers come in.

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,272
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Before I began wrapping books in plastic I had several recipients ask for their credits back because they said I had sent them a water damaged book when I knew that the book was perfect when I sent it and that it had most likely been exposed to moisture on its trip to the recipient. I did not like the hassle of RWAPs so I started using recycled plastic under the wrapper. Since I have been wrapping books in plastic first, I have not had a single person claim I sent them a water damaged book. So for me it's a no brainer. But it is obviously up to every member to choose how they want to wrap their books.

Subject: Wrapping in plastic
Date Posted: 12/23/2009 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,428
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I got a book the other day that had to be one of the best wrapping jobs I have ever seen.  The book was wrapped not in one layer of plastic, but two!

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 6:11 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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I have a small stash of plastic (mostly bubble wrap right now) that I save for when I get conditions asking for plastic. I simply don't come across plastic often enough to wrap every book. If you need yours to be wrapped in plastic when I get the order the only way I will know that is if you put up a condition for it. Otherwise it's coming to you wrapped in GASP! two sheets of computer paper.

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 6:33 PM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2009
Posts: 2,925
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I know I can have an RC about plastic wrapping -- if it were imperative to me I would have one. I choose not to.

Just out of curiousity, if you live in an area with inclement weather, walking carriers, a top opening mailbox and have received damaged books, why would you want to take a chance?

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 6:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Just out of curiousity, if you live in an area with inclement weather, walking carriers, a top opening mailbox and have received damaged books, why would you want to take a chance?

I think a lot of people don't because of the large number of people who say that they refuse every RC, no matter what it is. They won't even read them.

So, I try to figure the number of turndowns because I dare to have any RC at all, as opposed to the number of books I have coming in and how many routinely get wet. I've been close on deciding on using an RC, especially during this time of year, but figure I'd lose more books one way than the other. Especially since most everything I want is WL'd and won't come up very often. So I haven't RC'd anything yet.

 

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 7:17 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,693
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Well, my theory is this...if You (general) don't have an RC about wrapping in plastic and the book I send you gets wet in transit, fine mark it RWAP - USPS but, don't expect me to return your credit, I wrap according to guidelines.  AND you should be nice enough to also mark it resolved because I had nothing to do with your book getting wet.

If You (general) have an RC and I have some sort of plastic then I'll accept your request, If (which is most likely) I don't have plastic around I'm sorry but, I will simply decline.

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 7:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
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Well, my theory is this...if You (general) don't have an RC about wrapping in plastic and the book I send you gets wet in transit, fine mark it RWAP - USPS but, don't expect me to return your credit, I wrap according to guidelines.

I think this attitude is a bit harsh, and seems to be a polite way of saying "tough sh*t if your books get wet. I don't care".  I'm glad that most members I've swapped with don't feel this way.

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 8:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Well, my theory is this...if You (general) don't have an RC about wrapping in plastic and the book I send you gets wet in transit, fine mark it RWAP - USPS but, don't expect me to return your credit, I wrap according to guidelines.

Who said anything about marking it RWAP = Sender?

I haven't ever done so, and certainly won't in the future unless I RC it.

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 9:49 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,693
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Cindy,  I was not pointing fingers at anyone in this thread...there have been other threads & PM's where individuals have hinted at/said (not from books I've sent, just discussions) that the sender should flat out refund the credit if the book obtained damage (water) in transit if they did not use plastic.

Dawn, I don't mean it harsh but, I do wrap my books securely following PBS guidelines (actually exceed guidelines) but, PBS does not provide a way for sender & requestor to share the loss so, why should the sender take the full hit.  The requestor has the book and many of the books while not repostable are still readable. So, no I'm not saying "tough luck" I'm simply saying, I'm sorry there is nothing I can do."  And BTW, I do think it is sad when a book gets wet.



Last Edited on: 12/23/09 9:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/23/2009 10:18 PM ET
Member Since: 6/11/2007
Posts: 4,868
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I agree with Christy.

I have mailed over 500 books on PBS and I have never used plastic wrapping.  To my knowledge, I've never gotten an RWAP due to in-transit damage.  I decline all RCs that request plastic - I have a "system" for packaging books, and plastic is not on that agenda.

If I've adequately wrapped the book per PBS conditions and it gets wet while with the USPS, I'm sorry, but it's on them to make sure their mail is maintained in a safe, dry manner.  It would make me bummed out if I got RWAP due to USPS rain damage, but I shouldn't have to take the hit for that.  I see it as a no-fault transaction - well, the USPS would be at fault but they're not here to refund any credits, are they??  :P

Date Posted: 12/24/2009 7:44 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,272
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It would make me bummed out if I got RWAP due to USPS rain damage, but I shouldn't have to take the hit for that. 

I agree, but that was what was happening to me before I began wrapping in plastic and that is exactly why I began wrapping in plastic. And I have consequently received many PMs from receivers thanking me for wrapping in plastic because otherwise their book would have been damaged, so it is worth it to me to go the extra step.

Why I don't have an RC? For the same reason that Cindy R. stated: A good portion of the books on my wishlist are books that become available like once every two years so if someone turns down a wishlist request of mine because of an RC requesting plastic (as many of you have indicated you do) then I might have to wait another two years for it to become available. I take a risk that my books might get wet so that I can receive hard-to-find books. There seems to be the impression that I am demanding that members use plastic., not at all! Please do whatever you wish, but if I get a book wrapped in newspaper (as was the case that started this thread) and there is no plastic underwrap, I am going to mark in RWAP, sender's fault. Not everyone wraps books according to the posted guidelines, whether it is inexperiece or they don't care -- the initial point I was trying to make was that a layer of plastic can save you a credit.

Date Posted: 12/24/2009 8:08 AM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2009
Posts: 2,925
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Using plastic doesn't equate with using newspaper or giftwrap as the sole means of packaging a book. Neither are sturdy enough to provide a safe method of transit even without inclement weather thrown in the mix. It is not likely that books packaged in either of those (unless mummified with tape) would make it unscathed to their destination, no matter how close or far it might be - and members using that method will find that out due to RWAP in a very short period of time.  RWAPs in those cases are certainly appropriate.

In other situations where appropriate packaging materials are used, but due to circumstances on the receiver's end - walking carriers, too small mail receptacles, no protected place for mail receipt,  etc., the recipients who don't have RCs to prevent anticipated damage should not attempt to penalize the senders.   

Date Posted: 12/24/2009 8:43 AM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2008
Posts: 273
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I have a gigantic roll of plastic wrap from Costco.  I like to use that if I am not using a water proof envelope.  I just like making sure that whoever is ordering a book has a good experience.  I don't want someone getting mail from me and being disappointed that their book didn't make it to them in good condition.

 

Rebecca

Date Posted: 12/24/2009 11:13 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,133
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"why should the sender take the full hit"

But then why should the receiver take the full hit, when a simple, inexpensive action by the sender could have prevented the damage?

Date Posted: 12/24/2009 11:33 AM ET
Member Since: 6/11/2007
Posts: 4,868
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Diane, it's not the sender's fault if the USPS lets the package get wet. 

I would agree it was the sender's fault IF PBS required the use of plastic, and they did not use it - or if there was an RC for plastic that was ignored.  Absent this, I still argue it's a no-fault situation for PBS members when the USPS allows books to get wet while in their care.

Subject: I always wrap in plastic...
Date Posted: 12/24/2009 12:18 PM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2005
Posts: 608
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I don't want my beautiful books to get ruined! Happy Holidays to all, Elaine

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