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Topic: Tired of trips to the P.O.

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Subject: Tired of trips to the P.O.
Date Posted: 3/21/2008 7:10 PM ET
Member Since: 3/7/2008
Posts: 2
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    We live in the country and with the price of gas, keeping up with the sudden demand for my books has become a bit like having a second job. Standing in line EVERY day at the PO has gotten old, fast. So, I need a run down (PB  opinions wanted) on this printable postage issue.  I know about the 13 oz. rule and having a PO inspector handle the package. I have checked online and it seems there is no way to mail media unless it's shipped priority, which pushes costs up and makes this exchange more costly. I am in a cunnundrum over this- higher shipping costs vs. spending my scarce time in line at the PO for the media rate. Any thoughts?

Date Posted: 3/21/2008 7:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,134
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I don't know about online postage but have you checked to see if your post office has an automated postal center?  If so, you can use a credit card to puchase extra "stamps" in the amount of media mail shipping, then you can drop your packages in any mail box (or I guess, have them picked up if that is what you normally do).  There are no extra charges for the APC.  I still use stamps because I have a lot to use up, but I keep the APC "stamps" on hand for the over 13-ounce packages--SO much easier than constant trips to the PO.

Date Posted: 3/21/2008 9:30 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 9,474
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I use the printable postage constantly.  I got a very inexpensive digital postal scale (30 dolalrs I think) at Office Max, and I weigh things before I print the postage.  I find the convenience amazing.  If you use printable postage, you don't have to take packages to the PO even if they are over the 13 oz rule. The 13 oz rule only applies to untrackable postage such as stamps!

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 3/21/2008 10:07 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,150
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There are a variety of different ways to get Printable Postage. It sounds like you've only looked at the first option.

  1. From USPS online. This is Express and Priority only, so it's way too expensive for sending books.
  2. From PaperBackSwap. This costs regular Media Mail postage plus 43 cents, but gives you instant credit for your swaps.
  3. From Stamps.com, Endicia or Pitney-Bowes. You would pay a monthly fee for each of these, plus the postage costs.
  4. From Paypal. This costs regular Media Mail postage plus 18 cents. You get Delivery Confirmation, but PBS won't guarantee the credit if the book does get lost en route.

I use printable postage from PBS. I send maybe 10 books per month and it's worth the 43 cents to be able to drop them in the blue boxes and avoid the lines at the Post Office. Paypal would save me a bit of money, but it's just easier to do everything here.

Date Posted: 3/21/2008 10:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,209
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Printable postage is an option if your carrier will pick up ( some won't take packages so you might want to check first) or just don't go every day. When you get a request, leave it be, or accept and select the farthest out date. Take them all to the PO at once. Yes, some people don't like to wait, but as long as you respond to everything within the time limits on PBS, you are fine.  I drive by the PO to go to work and I got tired of mailing everyday. I have started using the APC intead of the counters to save on time too. Books are not emergencies, though sometimes we want the book bad enough it feels like it. You can hold them and go once a week.

Date Posted: 3/21/2008 10:16 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2006
Posts: 1,186
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Media mail doesn't have to be taken to the PO in order to be mailed, SD! And you certainly don't have to bump it up to Priority mailing! Your mailings only have to be taken to the PO and handed to a counter clerk if you are using just stamps. If you use any other kind of printable postage--PBS printed, paypal printed or stamps.com printed--your packages can be left in your mailbox for your mail carrier to pick up.

Here's the 13 oz. rule again to clear up any confusion:

Starting Monday, July 30, customers can use one of several convenient online postage applications — available 24/7 — or an Automated Postal Center, if they wish to mail items that weigh more than 13 ounces in Postal Service collection boxes or Post Office lobby mail slots; or if they wish to leave the items for pickup by their letter carriers. Online postage applications include the Postal Service’s Click-N-Ship service on usps.com and PC Postage from an authorized USPS vendor.

If a customer is unable to use one of the above methods to prepare and affix postage, items weighing more than 13 ounces must be presented for mailing to an employee at a Post Office retail service counter. Business customers who use postage meters may continue to use meter postage for packages of any weight and mailing method.


Date Posted: 3/22/2008 8:02 AM ET
Member Since: 3/7/2008
Posts: 2
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Thanks so much for the help.

Date Posted: 3/22/2008 7:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Also you only have to mail once a week. If a request comes in, you have 5 days to accept the request. So you can let it sit a couple days before hitting accept if you need extra time. Then you can choose the 5 day mailling option. 

I hate going to the PO. I have to take a bunch of kids with me and there is always a long line no matter what time of day I go.  Finding a place to park is also a problem.  The cars are usually lined up out of the parking lot and into the road waiting for a space to open. 

So I use the printed postage for anything over 13oz.  I go to the PO once every other month or so and stock up on stamps.  I buy some $1, .90, Forever stamps and various denominations.   I use these for the smaller packages and I either stick them in my mail box or drop them in the blue box in town.  I have a lot of credits built up so I don't really want to pay the printed postage fee on every book.  Out of the 200 or so books I've sent, not one has gotten lost.  I bought a small scale at Walmart for less than $10.

Date Posted: 3/22/2008 7:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I think what she was saying is that you can't ask them to pick up someting at your house unless you have at least one item going priority mail right?  I put books in my mail box all the time and I've never had a problem.  But it's never been more than one at a time.  Ask your mail man if this is OK.  As long as you have the postage on it and use the printed postage for over 13oz it should be ok-unless you're sticking several in each day.

Date Posted: 3/23/2008 10:34 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
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Not everyone can put packages in their mailboxes and have them picked up.  My mailman won't pick up ANY packages period - unless it's priority and scheduled throught the PO.      If you don't know if your mail person will pick up packages - ASK.       Most mail person do this - a few simply won't.   And yes, I've checked with my PO and they say he has a right to NOT pick them up.  <shrug>  WHATever!        lol

Dory -
Date Posted: 3/23/2008 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2007
Posts: 1,082
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My mailman takes anything I put in the mailbox :) I use printable postage and I can't remember the last time I had to go to the PO

Date Posted: 3/23/2008 4:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,632
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I drop everything in a blue mailbox.  I stock up on stamps for lighter stuff and use Paypal postage for heavier things.  I almost never go to the PO unless I've got a bundle of books that won't fit in the blue box.  Even then, I just have to run it inside to the drop slot.

No way should you be running to the PO daily!  Even if you don't want to use online postage, you should bundle it all into once a week mailings and only go once.

Subject: Trips to the post office
Date Posted: 3/23/2008 11:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,441
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I don't leave packages on our mail box too much, but my daughter does. I notice she weights the package since the one  that was left on the mail box for a couple days and wasn't picked up.  I brought itn, weighed it and told her it was14.5 ounces.  She occasionaly will use the prepaid postage and still puts it out.  I on the other hand drive within a block of the post office every day and it is no problem to swing into the drop off lane for the blue box..I use pre paid postage all the time.!-- love it!

Last Edited on: 3/24/08 11:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/24/2008 8:21 AM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 2,024
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I haven't tried the printable postage but hopefully it will work for you, SD.  If not, definitely plan on only one post office day per week and just arrange when you accept the request and when you say you will mail to accomodate that schedule.  No need to have lots of post office days!

Welcome to PBS!

Date Posted: 3/25/2008 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 9/9/2007
Posts: 9,898
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Wow, I guess I must live in a little bitty town because I stop at the PO every morning on my way to work, check my PO Box and chat with Helen, the worker behind the counter.  If I have outgoing packages, she fixes me right up or if I have packages coming to me, she has them right there waiting for me.  It is kind of the highlight of my day..( I know, I need a hobby..lol).  She seems as interested in whether I get packages as I am. 

Using the printable postage kind of makes me nervous, I'm not sure why.  I've read the instructions but I think my brain is making it harder than it should be.  If I buy a scale and put that weight in, plus PBS money in my account, the postage will print right on it and be correct and it will have DC on it, right?

ETA:  I just figured out what makes me so nervous - Postage Due.  If I do printable postage, what are the chances, my package will get screwed up in the postage stream and have postage due?  I guess I just trust the PO more than I trust myself.

Last Edited on: 3/25/08 11:05 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/25/2008 12:12 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2007
Posts: 2,164
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Also, if your post office has an APC machine - you can buy a bunch of printed postage from the machine and take it home and stick it on packages as needed.  I buy a bulk of $2.13 stamps and $2.47 stamps and then stick them on books as needed and then drop them in a blue box.  This method has worked every time for me!  APC postage is trackable, so the 13 oz. rule does not apply.

Last Edited on: 3/25/08 12:13 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/25/2008 2:22 PM ET
Member Since: 3/15/2007
Posts: 362
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Thanks to everyone for all of this info!

I was getting tired of PO runs, even though they weren't daily.


I knew there had to be options but I wasn't sure what they were.


Thank you all.




Date Posted: 4/6/2008 3:06 AM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2007
Posts: 595
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I use PBS printable postage unless it's some sort of huge order that doesn't work correctly with the printable postage system.  I have a blue box near me on the way to work that has one of those doors that you swing open instead of the really narrow fixed opening seen on most.  I can fit almost any book package in there.  If I am really pressed for time, I will leave one in my own mailbox.  My carrier always picks them up.  But I try not to do it all the time, in order to not overdo it for her.  I enjoy the protection and the guaranteed, instant credit from the PBS printable postage.  I am actually surprised more don't use it.  The vast majority of the books I receive don't use PBS printable postage, so I am not able to track them on the cute little map page that we have.  :(

I am finding that I get annoyed now when I actually have to go to the PO to mail something from another club or from my sporadic selling on Ebay.  It's always a hassle with parking and standing in lines, though my PO workers are usually cheerful and helpful.  I think printable postage is the wave of the future for many types of mail.

Date Posted: 4/6/2008 9:51 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 73
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Actually, they are legally supposed to pick up any mail you have in your box. If it is more than 13 ounces, then just use online postage. To all who say that their carrier will NOT pick up packages, you can file a complaint and ask them to check the DMM -Customer's Guide to Mailing,  it is part of the job. If you contact the post office for a specific pick-up, then you have to include Priority Mail in the pick-up. But if you are just leaving things to be collected as they come by, then you can mail anything: From pe.usps.com/text/dmm100/sending.htm

Sending Mail

You can send mail by:

  • Dropping it into a blue collection box.
  • Leaving it in your home mailbox.
  • Taking it to a Post Office.

Domestic and international mailpieces that weigh 13 ounces or less, with postage stamps affixed, can be dropped in a blue collection box, or handed to your letter carrier.  Mailpieces that weigh more than 13 ounces, with postage stamps affixed, must be handed to a Retail associate at your local Post Office.

Date Posted: 4/7/2008 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
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My carrier will not pick up any packages PERIOD.   I have talked to the local Post Master and been told in NO uncertain words that they will not make mail carriers pick up packages!   Their attitude is that carriers are to deliver mail.    You CAN put things in your mailbox to mail - but that does not guarantee they'll be picked up.   I'm tried of fighting it.   My carrier is now dropping my packages over the fence - I'd hate to see how he'd handle them if I filed a formal complaint!  

Date Posted: 4/8/2008 2:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2006
Posts: 55
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I think that's awful that they just throw them over the fence.  Sure makes me realize what a great mail person we have.  Our home is up a long drive from the mailbox, and our carrier delivers packages to my door.  Guess those Bob Evans gift certificates (small amount) given to him at Christmas time are well deserved.

He always picks up the packages I put in the mailbox and so does our substitute carrier.   In fact, we received a mailing pamphlet explaining the rules about pick-ups some time ago. 

Date Posted: 4/8/2008 6:59 PM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2006
Posts: 55
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ps. uhh, that's rules about pick-ups of packages, not pick-ups.