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Topic: USPS

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Subject: USPS
Date Posted: 10/7/2009 9:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2007
Posts: 462
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Never had this happen before -- I got a book in the mail today - when I opened it there was a photocopied paper - at first thought it was just page two of the mailer you print -- on closer look it was a note from the post office at the sender's locale. They actually opened the package to see if it qualified for media mail - I could understand if it had been a box or something but it was only the latest Lisa Kleypass... Must have been a slow day! :)



Last Edited on: 10/7/09 9:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/7/2009 10:21 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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If it was slow enough, maybe they read it first LOL.

Date Posted: 10/8/2009 3:13 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,471
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The Post Office does do random inspections.  I seem to get the "Sorry we damaged your book" apologies from them much more often.

Date Posted: 10/8/2009 6:42 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
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They actually apologize, Emily? I've rec'd lots of damaged packages, including a few that were torn so bad that there were books missing and the remains were rubberbanded together. But I've never rec'd an apology.

And I have had clerks ask me about the contents but, to my knowledge, they never open them and inspect them. I guess they know me over at the post office and I ship lots of "book bricks" (multiple books wrapped in plastic, then taped in both directions so nothing can get loose, then wrapped in brown grocery sack paper and taped real good again) that couldn't be anything but books. I could probably ship an anvil and label it media mail, except my conscience wouldn't let me. :-(

It makes me crazy every time postage rates go up, but compared to the postal services in other countries, we really do have it pretty good. My DH ships to countries all over the world (he works for a Christian book distributor and also ships stuff to missionaries) and rates and delivery times, even within the countries themselves, are outrageous. i.e., in the Philippines, a 1 oz. letter costs $1.00+ to mail and can take 2-3 weeks for delivery from one Filippino location to another Filippino location... We're so spoiled. ;)

Colleen

Date Posted: 10/8/2009 8:21 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I think they are required to inspect a certain #.  I would also think that paperback wrapped in the PBS wrapper would be easy to tell without inspecting. But if they had to make their quota and no media mail boxes were around then that could be why they inspected something that seemed obvious.

I haven't gotten any of those. I got one recently with teh "Sorry we damaged your item" letter. The book had been wrapped in plastic. This was a book from bookmooch but the person had used printer paper to wrap it up.  I couldn't find any damage to the book or wrapper.  So I'm wondering if it was inspected and they just labeled it as damaged instead of inspected. Or maybe after they inspected it they were worried about the wrapping holding up and backed it insead. 

Date Posted: 10/8/2009 1:39 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,471
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The apology is a form letter.  The item ends up in a plastic bag with the xerox.  Once, the plastic bag was damaged.  So damaged twice.

One of the reasons TPTB are so concerned that we do not add extra stuff like advertising, magazines, or letters is because we do not want the PBS wrappers to be in the target of the inspectors.  The second page counts as a permitted invoice.  Writing on the invoice is okay.  Bookmarkers without ads are also permitted.

Date Posted: 10/8/2009 3:24 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 65
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Thanks, Colleen, for putting our postal system costs in perpspective!  

Date Posted: 10/8/2009 7:59 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 2,937
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I know all about this. I had a book opened and retaped with a single line of tape. They put a sticker on the outside that says opened for inspection by the USPS. The envelope opened and the book fell out. The person who was supposed to receive it in the swap was stuck without a book and I was stuck losing a book and paying postage for nothing. They sent me the empty envelope and a search form. The 2nd sheet was in the envelope (usually in the book but I can't guarantee that) and must have been separated from the book also. It was the 2nd time I had a book lost but the other envelope never made it anywhere.

My issue is the obvious: if you are going to open and inspect a package, I expect care to be taken in closing it back up. Also, come on, it feels like a book.

Date Posted: 10/8/2009 10:06 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
Posts: 468
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I have received a number of bulk mailings from pbs that have been opened and inspected by USPS. Sometimes they just seem to rip it open in a small spot and look inside to make sure they are books. I find it annoying when they don't retape it!

Date Posted: 10/8/2009 11:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
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Are you ladies telling me that it's possible that all those torn packages I've received weren't accidentally damaged by postal handling equipment?

Colleen

Date Posted: 10/9/2009 10:49 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 240
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This isn't the same thing, BUT, once upon a time, I used to subscribe to GH, well imagine my surprise (not!) when one month I get ONLY the front and back cover of the magazine.  That's right, the entire magazine apparently fell out!!  :/  And I too got the "sorry your mail was damaged during processing" BS!  Damaged??  WTF!??? More like stolen!!         Everytime the USPS raises their prices, the mail service gets worse.       So, *yay*   for the most affordable postal service on the planet. 

Date Posted: 10/9/2009 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
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With the postal inspectors gone wild and winter coming on, a few reminders about packing books:

Wrap books in plastic. I buy the cheap gallon bags at the 99-cent store (the kind that come with twist ties) and the cheapest plastic wrap I can find (I'm not worried about cling - in fact, cling is bad).

Inside the plastic bag/wrap and facing outward, I include the recipient's address. This is particularly important if you use an inkjet printer. Inkjets don't use heat to melt the print into the paper like laser printers do. That means that water can melt away the address. It's also good if the book(s) get separated from the wrapping.

Using clear shipping tape, tape over the address information on the label (even if you're using PBS wrappers).

Tape over corners and edges to reinforce the packaging and prevent tearing when postal gorilla equipment abuses the package.

Is all this a hassle? It used to be, now it's just a habit. And making sure the books I send arrive in good condition is worth it!

:)

Colleen

Date Posted: 10/9/2009 8:44 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Thank-you Colleen!!!!  This weeks worth of books  only 3 of 8  were wrapped in plastic.  I am amazed they weren't damaged.  You should post this on every forum!!

Date Posted: 10/9/2009 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
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Jerelyn PM'd her compliments and words of encouragement. In reply, I mentioned that since I don't participate in other forums, such admonishments might not be well received.

Any of you who do participate in other forums, please feel free to post an OT topic and copy/paste my words as your own.

Colleen