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Topic: Is This True? Zip Code ?

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Subject: Is This True? Zip Code ?
Date Posted: 12/30/2014 12:33 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2008
Posts: 1,958
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Hi all!

The last time I mailed PBS  books, I wrapped them and used PBS postage and DC. They would not fit in the postal drop slot and I needed to do other postal business, so I took them to the counter. I have done this many times before and the clerks typically just dump the books in the outgoing package cart.

This day, the clerk INSISTED that I did something wrong. The post office is in a different town with a different zip code than my home address (which is printed on the PBS label). The clerk insisted that I had to write the zip code of the city that I was MAILING from on the part of the label that lists the return address--to make the zip code that I was actually mailing from and the package match.

My thoughts were as follows: "Why would this matter?" and "I think she is making this up."

Was she right?

 



Last Edited on: 12/30/14 12:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 12/30/2014 12:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2014
Posts: 45
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I live in a town that has a million different zip codes and never "had" to mail at my local PO, or write in the zip where I was mailing from. I also lived in a town where I would frequently mail at another PO because it was easier for me due to errands, work etc, and never experienced this issue. Both with letters and packages.

I don't know, it sounds like she was making it up to me...

Date Posted: 12/30/2014 7:31 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,387
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I believe it has something to do with how each PO keeps track of mail passing through. They like the sending zip code to match the mail leaving their site so it is counted in their numbers, i.e. getting credit for the amount of mail they handle, as it can determine staffing, funding, etc.

Date Posted: 12/30/2014 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2008
Posts: 7,759
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I have heard this from a couple of other members, but I also live in a place where my closest PO is not the one that handles mail for my ZIP code.  I have never had an issue mailing from a different PO in the same town.  I have only mailed a few times from a different town than the one in which I live, and in those cases, I dropped it in the blue box so am not sure how they felt about it.

Date Posted: 12/31/2014 3:07 AM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2009
Posts: 793
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If you print postage at Paypal or the USPS site they both have a space in which you're supposed to fill in the zipcode where you are actually mailing the package if different from your return address.  I live in walking distance of a post office in a different zipcode than my return address and I always mail from there so I always put that zipcode in the place provided.  I always thought it was so that PO gets credit for all the mail it handles as mentioned above.

Date Posted: 12/31/2014 4:06 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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that's right Theresa, The zip code you put in for the "Mailing from" is the one who gets the credit for the work, and the money in their budget. It's a simple thing to change the "Mailing from" zip code, and the post office that is doing the work should expect to be paid for actually doing it, and not the next post office over. 

The return address zip code and the mailing from zip code don't have to match, but if you "have done this many times before"  then you have shorted this office out of revenue many times, and they have let it slide, but now they are pointing out to you the way to make sure that they get credit for the revenue that they are doing the work for. 

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 10:17 AM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2008
Posts: 1,958
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I have not intentionally "shorted" anyone out of anything.  You make it sound like I have done something unethical or dishonest. 

While i am more than happy to abide by any policy that I am asked to, I don't think making sure the postal office workers are paid correctly is my responsibility.

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 10:44 AM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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but it is, and when you agree to the terms in using the online postage, you agree to that. They are aware that you didn't do it intentionally, but now they are pointing it out to you and asking that you please give them the revenue if you are giving them the work. and now that you DO know it, if you continue, you will be intentionally shorting them, but you make it sound like you are OK with that. 

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 12:04 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2008
Posts: 1,958
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Read my response again. Where you got any knowledge of what I am OK with is a mystery to me.  

My issue is not with them asking to me comply with a policy that I had no knowledge of, but with your attitude. Rather than just informing of the policy (which is what I was asking for) you felt the need to somehow make this an issue of ethics.   

Your assumption about my behavior is not only unkind, but it is also incorrect.

 



Last Edited on: 1/1/15 12:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/1/2015 12:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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".... I don't think making sure the postal office workers are paid correctly is my responsibility."

sure sounds like you think it's OK.

All I did was point out that you WERE unintentionally denying them revenue, the same thing that they did, but instead of just saying OK, and spending the second or two to change the zip code---because seriously it literally takes a friggin second to change it, you gripe about it. 

"i am more than happy to abide by any policy that I am asked to"

not really, you were asked, and instead of abiding by it, you had to come here and post, call the clerk a liar and try to get a different opinion form non-postal people

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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Yes, part of the branch funding is tied to the mail using their zip code.  This regulation mostly applies to mass/bulk mailing (IIRC it's in that section of the DMM)...my proof?  If it was intended to cover every single item mailed, ALL stamps would be issued with a zip code.  How many people send postcards while on vacation using their home address?...is this also against the rules?  What about blue boxes all over town, and people from anywhere just dropping their mail in regardless of the zip code?

So yes, there is a (good) purpose to your PO employee comment.  But a piece of mail now and again isn't a problem (nor the primary customer/reason for the reg) but the comment should have been made in a polite and informational manner....if it wasn't you should let the postmaster know.

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 6:49 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2008
Posts: 1,958
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I did not call the clerk a liar. I had a QUESTION. Sheesh.  And again, you assume a lot. So glad to know more about me than I do.

Thank you, Denise. It makes sense that this is a regulation more applicable to bulk mailing.

 

 

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 7:03 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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"I think she is making this up."

 

 

your words....."making this up" implies that it is a lie..hence she a liar

Date Posted: 1/3/2015 12:09 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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I'm giving the customer the benefit of a doubt...mostly because PBS members have posted so many odd quotes from their USPS clerks over the years.  Such as Media Mail is being discontinued, that only educational materials qualify as Media Mail (or only institutions qualify, not individuals), that MM packages must be brought to the counter open for inspection prior to mailing, a box of mixed content may be shipped Media Mail as long as there is at least one book in the package...there's a significant amount of mis-information within USPS employees (and yes, a few fibs).

Date Posted: 1/3/2015 12:22 AM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2008
Posts: 1,958
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@ Denise:  I was mostly put off because it was something that I have never heard of in all of the time of mailing stuff, including the great number of times that I have been to the counter at this post office.  I would venture to guess that most people do not know about this either.  So, you learn something new every day!

Thanks again!

Date Posted: 1/5/2015 5:04 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 598
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Hah I learned this one the hard way about 5 years ago. My zip was tied to a PO about 20 minutes away, not the one 5 minutes away. The clerks at the close PO were rather rude about it, but I complied with their request and have tried to ever since. 

Can you even change the shipped from zip on the PBS site? The OP said she used PBS postage. I seem to recall that being an issue in the past. 

Date Posted: 1/5/2015 7:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2008
Posts: 7,759
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but it is, and when you agree to the terms in using the online postage, you agree to that.

As Becca says above, if you use PBS postage, it does not ask for mailing zip code.  And unfortunately, I agree with others in that if the PO wants things mailed from a certain zip code, then they need to make it a rule, not a request by the staff.  While I realize that where we choose to mail things from may affect the PO's budget/pay, it is not the responsibility of the customer to drive to the PO that handles their mail when a blue box is on the way.  That would be like telling people they had to only use their "home" branch of their bank or a particular ATM when there are branches/ATMs all over town.

Until it is made an actual rule that they will not accept mail from a different mailing PO, if any counter clerk refused to accept my mail across the counter, I'd just take it outside and drop it into the blue box (assuming it already had postage).  The blue box doesn't argue about where I'm mailing from.

Just my opinion, though.

ETA--I don't know why you would need to be responsible for mailing from a certain zip code when each branch is supposed to be scanning each package anyway.  Payment could be made to each branch based on how many pieces of mail they handle (which seems like the logical way to do it anyway), and the zip code of the sender wouldn't matter.



Last Edited on: 1/6/15 1:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/9/2015 11:56 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 598
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I agree with that... it shouldn't matter where anything with a barcode is shipped from, whoever scans it should get credit. Time for USPS to catch up with technology...

The shipped from zip does matter for accurate rate calculations for things like Priority Mail or Parcel Select, but neither are relevant to PBS where we ship FC or MM which are not zone dependent. 

Date Posted: 2/1/2015 11:44 AM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2007
Posts: 6,707
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So, just to clarify: If I mail from a different zip code from the one I live on, I should keep my return address as is but change the zip code in the box? But doesn't that defeat the most basic purpose of the return address, which is to get the package back to me if there's a problem on the receiving end? If I have a totally different return zip code, it may never get back to me!

I say this because I live and work in New York but in different boroughs; I use my Brooklyn home address as return address but more often than not I mail packages from Manhattan (because my way to work after dropping my son at school doesn't take me past a mailbox, but there are two between when I get off the subway and when I get to my desk, including one downstairs in my office building that is conveniently sheltered from the weather). So I mail from a non-home-address zip code more often than no, using PBS mailing labels and self-serve kiosk postage. I figure that made it considerably less work for the P.O. people where I mail than if I went to a window, so it didn't make all that much difference.

Date Posted: 2/1/2015 3:28 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 598
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You keep your return address, including zip code, the same. If you are mailing from somewhere else, most shipping websites/software give you the option to use a different "shipped from" zip code, which does NOT change anything about the return address. 

But PBS is not that advanced, and the APCs take care of it for you, so in your case, you don't need to worry about it. 

Date Posted: 2/1/2015 11:23 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 821
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In a side-note to this discussion, I have asked every year for the last three or four that the PBS site give us the ability to change the "Mailed From" ZIP code to something other than my home ZIP code. (eBay has had this option for a very long time.) I wonder if this will be one of those things only available to "Standard Members"?

Date Posted: 2/9/2015 7:34 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2006
Posts: 4,279
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Using PayPal shipping, I first noticed the question and the ability to put a different zip as a 'mailed from' -- when I asked my carrier about it, he explained the 'budget' situation and said that to the best of his knowledge, the 'stats' weren't kept by the individual POs but were checked at whichever hub the packages went through.

That was quite a few years ago, and certainly technology has moved on.   Like most techie stuff though, new scanners probably wouldn't interface with older systems in the individual POs.  Back to budget problems creating the inability to fix budget problems ....

Date Posted: 2/9/2015 10:27 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 821
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In an odd quirk of timing, just today I got into a tiff with a clerk at a USPS branch with a POS. I had printed labels for eBay sales thinking I would be going to my regular PO to mail them. At the last minute, our plans changed and I took them to a different branch. The clerk gave me a MAJOR bit of grief about mailing packages 'from' a different branch. After a few minutes of back-and-forth, she reluctantly accepted them - "just this time only". I was told in no uncertain words not to do it again.

Date Posted: 2/10/2015 2:25 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 598
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Yeah as far as I can tell, there is nothing that allows them to actually reject packages for this reason, but they apparently have great leeway to scold people. 

Date Posted: 2/11/2015 4:36 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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What Becca said.  Especially for minimal pieces of mail, it may be different for bulk mailings. 

If customers were required to mail from a specific post office, stamps would be printed with a zip code attached.  Since they are not, counter staff are just being grumpy.

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