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Topic: Using The APC

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Subject: Using The APC
Date Posted: 2/17/2011 12:32 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2009
Posts: 2,501
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Hope that is the right set of letters. I have used the APC for mailing  media mail books. weigh, consult my rate chart, create a stamp and drop in the box.  The counter person at the PO today said that it  could not be used for media mail. I have already done so.  What would be the problem ? Why have the ability to print out customized postage; if I can't use it?  Why have the APC there if you don't trust the public to use it correctly? How different if I use APC and then go home and hand it off to my carrier in person?

Date Posted: 2/17/2011 12:38 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 8,284
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That postal worker's wrong!... You can print a stamp of any amount- it's a stamp!  Same as what they'd do if they were to put the postage on it at the counter!  As long as the right dollar amount is put on for the way the package is marked to be shipped, it's fine!  You're right- that's why they have the "create your own stamp" button.

I use the APC for media mail all the time!  The postal workers were actually the ones who suggested it to me, since I'm there so often and the lines are so long.  Now, I zip in and out of there- I love that thing!

Date Posted: 2/17/2011 1:21 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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Another misinformed postal worker. The machine is for weighing packages and printing postage. If it's a package that you can use regular stamps on, you can use the machine. There is no rule against media mail.

Date Posted: 2/17/2011 2:19 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 460
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I will never understand how you can pose one question to ten postal workers and get ten different answers.

Go online and you'll get an 11th answer!

Mary in KY

Date Posted: 2/17/2011 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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I think the person is just confused - the machine doesn't have a Media Mail Option so you can't select that when going through the menu. But the generic postage "stamps" you print can be used on anything.

Date Posted: 2/17/2011 4:58 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 600
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I think media mail is not an option for the APC because they want to limit the abuse of media mail. Of course you _can_ use it for media mail in the way you described. It's not an official use of the machine though, and I don't think USPS want their employees encouraging it. They would rather have people pay the higher rates for postage, of course. 

Date Posted: 2/17/2011 5:08 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2009
Posts: 2,501
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They know me at the PO . I am the lady that mailed a Bow-Flex to Kuwait. And now I mostly mail books, LOL this town isn't that big. Next time I think I'll ask , "Where is that written? "

Date Posted: 2/17/2011 5:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,916
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I use the APC machine all the time for media mail.

In fact, the clerks want me to use it instead of coming to the counter. (cause one out of the three clerks at my PO won't scan DC so that I can buy counter postage.) I had to bring 20 packages to the counter a while ago (cause the APC machine was broke) and you would think I was asking them to do something that was above and beyond their job.

I have never had any problems with this at all.

Just keep doing it. If they return a package to you, you can take it up with someone higher up than the clerk who is completely wrong.

Date Posted: 2/17/2011 9:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,982
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I have used the APC as well (a friend suggested it) with no problems so far.  I always make sure my packages are marked "Media Mail" in red on both sides, weigh it, and then print the corresponding stamp. 

Date Posted: 2/17/2011 11:20 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,724
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Same issue was discussed a few weeks ago here in forums.  The 2 local POs that have APCs near me also have told me you can't use for media mail since that's not a choice on the machine. I only use it for those books I send first class.

Date Posted: 2/18/2011 1:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2005
Posts: 5,201
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I had the clerk at the post office actually show me how to use the APC for Media Mail.  They had a scale in the lobby that just weighed things and told you the rate, it didn't sell postage.  She showed me how to use that to find out how much postage I'd need for my book packages, then go over to the APC and buy the postage in that amount.  I think the clerk the OP is referring to erroneously thinks that because the APC won't calculate Media Mail postage that you can't use it to buy the stamps.  Not so!  The only time I go the counter at the P.O. is the rare times when I'm sending something interational and have to do a customs form.  A lot of the time I decide it's worth the extra fee to print PBS postage on my label and not have to go the the P.O. at all.  My neighborhood letter carrier is very good about taking my outgoing mail from my porch even when it gets bulky.

Another option is to buy your own postage scale, which I did when I started selling on Ebay.  It's been a big convenience.

Date Posted: 2/18/2011 10:50 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 8,284
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...The 2 local POs that have APCs near me also have told me you can't use for media mail since that's not a choice on the machine. I only use it for those books I send first class.

You can't use the machine to calculate the postage for you, but you can certainly use it to weigh your package as if you were mailing first class, note the weight, then just hit the "back" button until you get to the menu screen again.  Choose the "Buy a stamp of a different value" button, enter in the proper amount of the postage for the weight of your media mail package (I bring a sheet with it printed out from USPS.com- I even have the amounts on there with the $ 0.19 added too for the DC if I'm using it, so I don't have to do fast math in my head!)   Stick on the stamp, and toss it into the box!

It's no different than what they're doing for you at the counter... it's a stamp!  As long as your package is marked Media Mail and contains books, there's no reason why you can't print a stamp for it on the APC and mail it.  It sure has saved me a lot of time !

Date Posted: 2/19/2011 10:57 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,133
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There's no media mail calculation option on the machine but there is the "stamp of another denomination" option--ask them what that option is for if not for sending "other" types of packages then the ones specified on the machine.

I not only use those stamps for my media mail packages, I take them home and keep them til I need them, then drop the package in the blue box.  The first couple of times I did this the packages were returned to me (years ago), but after taking them back to the PO and talking to the supervisor, I haven't had trouble since.

Diane



Last Edited on: 2/19/11 5:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/19/2011 11:24 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2009
Posts: 2,501
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Yes Debbie , I totally agree what is the difference between what I do at the APC and what they do at the counter? Should I push the point by using the APC and walking in and handing it to the worker at the counter? Or just keep dropping it in the box, until someone notices? So far all my books have been delivered just fine.

Date Posted: 2/20/2011 3:17 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 1,032
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I've read somewhere that the items dropped in the APC automatically are sent first class/priority mail, so the PO doesn't want customers putting in media mail packages in there.  Don't know if what I read was correct or another urban legend.  I've not had any problems putting in my media mail in the APC though.

Date Posted: 2/20/2011 5:04 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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There's no way that could be true Susan. First Class and Priority are two different classes of mail. Not to mention that Parcel Post is yet another option that can be purchased from the APC and dropped in the package slot. Therefore, they HAVE to sort all the mail by class before mailing it. No way does it all go out as part of the top classes.

I've been mailing my Media Mail books by buying custom postage from the APC and dropping them in the slot since moving here. As of yet I've had no problems whatsoever, and the books are definitely traveling at Media Mail speed (they don't take a really long time, but definitely aren't going at First Class or Priority speed). Therefore, they obviously sort them and mail them just fine that way.

The reason Media Mail isn't an option on the machine is because people as a whole aren't overly brilliant. They'd see the lower priced option and would go with it, often not knowing (or not caring) that the Media Mail rate is only for specific items. This would lead to more abuse, however unintentional. By making people have to find the rates on their own and custom print the postage, the odds are much higher that the person knows what Media Mail is and is using it properly. Of course, they also always retain the right to inspect the package if they have doubts.

So, yes, you can mail Media Mail using the APC. You just have to do the custom postage. The machine won't calculate it for you.

Date Posted: 2/20/2011 5:08 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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I'm gonna guess that if the P.O. didn't want people dropping economy-type packages in the box, there's be a big notice stuck right on the box/machine. Something simple like:

This drop box is to be used for Priority/first class drop-offs only. All other rates are to be taken to the counter. 

The big post office near me has one of these machines in an alcove that is outside the actual building, like some ATM machines. There are all kinds of signs and notices on how to use the equipment properly, but nothing about certain types of mail not being allowed.

Date Posted: 2/20/2011 5:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2009
Posts: 2,501
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So if I use the APC, (and I have) then I can drop in the big blue box??? hillarious.  Please, my wrapped books feel just like wrapped books, and I put Media Mail in red sharpie on the bottom left corner. My PO has been using black marker because their stamps ran out of ink.LOL

Date Posted: 2/22/2011 12:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 8,284
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...Should I push the point by using the APC and walking in and handing it to the worker at the counter? Or just keep dropping it in the box, until someone notices? So far all my books have been delivered just fine... So if I use the APC, (and I have) then I can drop in the big blue box???

Yes, Fara... I drop mine in the blue box all the time!  Sometimes I throw them into the box next to the APC, but sometimes it gets jammed if someone drops a really big box in there, so I'll either walk up and set it on the counter in the P.O. if they're open next to all the other packages with pre-printed postage that the P.O. has us set there, or drop it into the box outside the P.O. if it'll fit (which most do.)  You can do this even if it's over 13 oz., because it's not "postage stamps", it's metered postage.  (You had to use a credit card to purchase it, so it's trackable.)  

I don't see why you'd have to hand the packages to the postal workers at all... unless it's too big to go into the box and they don't let you just set them on the counter like my P.O. does...

Date Posted: 2/22/2011 3:18 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2007
Posts: 2,164
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This is the only way I have ever mailed books.  For the last 3 years, I have bought postage in bulk at the APC and dropped my books in blue boxes.  I mail them at various blue boxes associated with various POs and my books always get where they are going.