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Topic: When do you mark a book sent?

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Subject: When do you mark a book sent?
Date Posted: 12/15/2008 11:26 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2008
Posts: 129
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Do you mark it when you place it in your mailbox waiting for pickup?  Or after it has been picked up?

The reason I ask is:

Today our air temps are below zero with windchills in the -20s (Fahrenheit).  Living in a rural area, our mail carrier may or may not make it by.

As winter arrives and snows start clogging our county dirt road, we may not have mail delivered at various times through the upcoming winter.

Also, if the book is in the mailbox on a day when the weather really isn't good for going to the post office and the preprinted postage date passes, how will this affect the shipping? 


I have a book that was requested Saturday night.  I printed the postage and wrapped it Saturday night in preparation for mailing. It sits in the mailbox waiting for the rural mail carrier today, if he shows.  I would prefer to mark it mailed after it has been picked up so that it is truly enroute and the person waiting to get it will know that it is in the system.  If it isn't picked up, though, with the extreme low temps it would be difficult to get a car from a garage and to the post office today.  Garage is not heated.  It is one of those days if you don't need to go out, don't!  :)


Main reason for asking is I have already received an email this morning from PBS asking if this book has been mailed.  Sunday was a non-mailing day for request received after Post Office hours Saturday.....


Anyhow . . . just checking.  It is in the mailbox, but not technically mailed until the mail carrier takes it, my opinion.

Date Posted: 12/15/2008 11:29 AM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2008
Posts: 89
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I mark it sent once it leaves my possession, whether that is into a mailbox or the hands of the staff at the post office.

Last Edited on: 1/4/09 11:13 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/15/2008 11:55 AM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 5,034
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I mark it when I put it in the mailbox. 

After that, I consider it "mailed" and any delays that might happen later are no longer in my control, but rather the postal service's control. 

Date Posted: 12/15/2008 1:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Last Edited on: 4/1/09 8:37 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/3/2009 12:45 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2008
Posts: 1
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Same here. Once it is on it's way either in the mailbox or at the post office I mark it mailed.

Date Posted: 1/4/2009 2:24 AM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2007
Posts: 1,140
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Once it's in the mailbox.  So far I haven't had a problem with the books being picked up even in bad weather.

Date Posted: 1/4/2009 4:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,717
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I mark my stuff mailed first thing in the morning when I have a book going out.  The book will be dropped in a blue box before I come home and I don't want to worry about getting online right away when I get home from work and marking it.

Date Posted: 1/9/2009 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2006
Posts: 2,303
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I usually drop at the Post Office or in a blue box, and mark it mailed when I drop it. If mailing from my mailbox, I would probably wait and make sure it left!
Date Posted: 1/10/2009 1:21 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
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When I get home from the PO after mailing it.  Or when I get home after dropping it in a blue box.

Date Posted: 1/14/2009 5:21 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 1,032
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I also mark the book mailed once I drop it off at the blue box or the PO.

Date Posted: 1/15/2009 3:53 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I mail at the post office and mark upon returning home, but then I don't have to deal with your extreme weather issues.  I was going to answer after mail pick-up, but then I remembered that mail in boxes legally belongs to the USPS and messing with it is a federal offense.  Therefore, I think it's fine to mark when it's in the box. 

As far as USPS is concerned, I doubt the postage date will be a concern especially since your local PO is used to weather delays.  When logging in book received, the ones that I find maddening are those marked mailed at PBS but the postage is dated weeks later.  If you are concerned about weekend/weather delays, feel free to pm the requestor a note that winter weather may impair your local post office from processing your book quickly.  Your part is done sweetie.

PS Considering your climate, make sure and wrap your books in plastic before applying PBS wrapper.  Otherwise, books occassionally arrive wet.

Date Posted: 1/16/2009 12:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2008
Posts: 129
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Here is an actual case.

I requested a book on January 4th.  The member indicated they would mail by January 8th.  They actually marked the book mailed on January 10th.


Yet when the book arrived today, there is purchased postage sticker in the corner.  This purchased postage shows the package wasn't actually mailed until January 13th.  As there are no other stamps or signs, I would have to guess either one of two things happened:


1.  The member lied about mailing the book  - this based on the fact that they purchased postage from the post office and mailed a full five days after they were supposed to and a full three days after they reported they had mailed the book.


2.  The package was returned to them and they reprinted the label for some reason and remailed (in this case, they didn't even bother to PM me to indicate there had been a problem.)  I do not believe this was the case, though.  I believe it was option 1.


This is why I wait to mark a book mailed AFTER the postal carrier has picked up the book.  This ensures the person receiving it that when they get a "mailed" email they are sure the book is in transit and has actually began its journey.


I prefer to be accurate about the book mailed, and to me that means it isn't mailed until it is in the hands of a postal worker (be it the rural carrier or the counter person). 


We have snow plows which are actually road graders here.  The snow they throw has hit our mail box with such force in the past few days from their plowing that it pops open the box and the snow actually has lowered the flag on two separate occasions.  If the package were to fall out during such an instance and end up in the snow bank, it would be awhile before discovered (probably spring thaw).


My preference will continue to be marking mailed after a postal worker has taken possession of the book.  I don't use drop boxes because we are such a tiny community.


Anyhow, this is my reasoning behind it.  To provide as accurate as possible the ship date for the receiving member to track. 


Just my experience.

Date Posted: 1/16/2009 2:59 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 5,751
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I mark mine Mailed as soon as I come in from the mailbox. Once it is in the box it is technically the USPS's.

If you decide to wait until it is picked up, make sure that it is marked as MAILED before your mailing deadline. If it is not marked mailed in time your request will automatically cancel and then you would be mailing a book and not receiving any credit. 

Date Posted: 1/16/2009 10:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2008
Posts: 129
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Well, since I am "retired" and home 99.98% of the time, I have had requests I sent out the same day I received them.  This only happens if someone requests a book before 10 AM local time and I see it and have time to print and wrap before 11 when rural delivery carrier typically stops by.  Also, I have the convenience of being home to mark it when it leaves, whatever time it goes.

Have never had a problem mailing the same day or the next day after accepting the request.  However, I did have one where the request was and I accepted on a Saturday evening.  The site sent emails reminding me to mail the next day (Sunday) and Monday was a postal holiday.  When I accepted the request, the ship date was to be that Tues/Wed, yet I got the nag emails even when the post office was closed.

I have heard that the site asks when accepting a request about mailing dates and indicates a holiday, but it did not happen to me.  It went out the very next postal work day. 

I used to live in Virginia Beach, VA and there was a huge theft problem of outgoing mail from home mailboxes, that may also be why I choose to wait. 

Curious, though.  I have to use satellite internet, what would happen if I mailed a book, but lost my ISP (weather is a good ISP interrupter here) before I could mark it sent?  An extended outage could result in a book not being marked shipped and through no fault of the sender, unable to mark it such, the request could then go to another leaving the sender out the book....  Just a thought.

We have not had an outage since installing an UPS for the modem and router and a backup automatic generator for the house.  It is too cold here to be without power for any length of time.  We just got above subzero temps after 92 hours straight of below zero air temps.  I mean BELOW zero.  Our air temp this morning was -24.  We have been having windchills of -40s as well....BRRR.

Anyhow...I believe the general rule most follow is to mark it mailed the second it leaves their hands, regardless of where (home mail box, drop box, or postal worker.)  Myself, as convenience allows me, will mark when it is actually moving away from the house mailbox in the mail carrier's vehicle or I have placed it in the hands of a postal worker. 

However, in the case I mentioned above, it just seems to be a clearcut case of someone cheating the system by reporting a book mailed when they had not done so.

I was looking through my archive earlier and found another instance much more severe.  A book ordered 9 October was marked mailed on 16 October.  Yet the sender reprinted the label on 31 October even though they claimed to have mailed it 15 days earlier.  I finally received it 7 November.  Another inconsiderate individual who chose to not even send a PM explaining their error.  Just left it and me hanging and not being a very good PBSer.

Date Posted: 1/17/2009 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2008
Posts: 156
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I mail it marked as I'm leaving the house for the post office.  I always mail my packages from the post office itself to save on postage.   99% of the time the recommendation is for $2.23 media rate I end paying $1.58 - $2.02 for first class.

When I originally agree to mail a book I always give myself the maximum click that is listed. (past the two days)  That way I never get a nag mail and usually I still get the package out same or next day.  The recipient receives the book before the original email says it was sent :-)

Last Edited on: 1/17/09 1:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/17/2009 1:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2006
Posts: 387
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I mark my books mailed when I get home from the post office.