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Topic: wondering what everyone else here thinks about bubble wrap.

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Subject: wondering what everyone else here thinks about bubble wrap.
Date Posted: 12/13/2010 7:24 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2008
Posts: 17
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I received a book today that was wrapped in bubble wrap and I was mortified. First off I specifically told the person that this was a gift and to write "Do not open" somewhere on the packaging, so when my wife saw the package in the mailbox she immediately saw what it was. they claim not to have received my message, which i guess is possible. More importantly though, i object to the use of bubble wrap as the only covering just on principle. What i read is my business. Not my mailoman's, not my neighbors or my families. Why do they need to know that i read liberal or conservative books, or that I'm reading about medical conditions or religion or human sexuality or //insert any subject matter here// it's not that one has something to hide, it's just a made of privacy and I think, common sense. they wrapped it in bubble wrap and then the standard PBS mailer. I told the person if they want to use bubble wrap, fine, but at least wrap that in brown paper or even printer paper just for privacy sake. I have no idea if this violates any rules or not but i think if you're going to do this you at least should advise your buyer that that is how you ship so they are aware and can decide if this is an issue.

or am I being over sensitive? (I assure you I would feel the same way regardless of the christmas gift mishap)

Date Posted: 12/13/2010 7:42 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 619
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Wow, that's too bad that the surprise was ruined. 

I've never received a book in transparent wrapping, so I've never thought about the privacy issue, but you raise a good point.  If anyone saw the books I order, it would confirm what a boring person I am.  LOL  Still, you're right, it's nobody's business.

On the other hand, transparent wrapping does solve the problem of the package being opened to inspect media mail.  I wonder if that's why they did it. 

Date Posted: 12/13/2010 7:47 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,194
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I think you may be expecting the sender to know preferences you have without telling them. I just received a book wrapped in clear plastic wrap and didn't think twice about it. I am sure many Wisconsin residents are thinking it might be a great way to avoid the over-aggressive inspection policy one of the regional postmasters has derived by leaving the media mail content completely visible.

If you have a specific requirement like that, then I recommend setting up a Requester Conditon so that people you request from can see the condition before they even accept the request. If they cannot honor it, they can deny the condition and your request moves on to someone else and their book can move on to someone else.  PMing after the fact can easily be missed.

Sorry your Christmas surprise was ruined :) Hope she liked the book anyway!

Last Edited on: 12/13/10 7:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 12/13/2010 7:57 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2008
Posts: 17
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the PO opens packages to confirm media mail is a book? really? I never knew that. Is that something that happens on the sending end or the receiving end? Cause my local post office knows me all too well as I trade here and sell on amaznon. I typically ship between 4 and 20 books a week depending on how busy I am. Maybe that's why.


and it's not that big a deal about the gift. I mean at least she knows I was paying attention when she said "I'd like X Y and Z"


and the only thing it would tell anyone is how nerdy I am, althoguh periodically I have ordering something like america unzipped, but still... I dunno, I jsut find the idea distasteful.

Date Posted: 12/13/2010 8:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,445
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The PO has the right to open any media mail.  If non media is sent media rate, the receiver is charged the highest rate they can, usually the priority mail rate.  There are rules about how it is to be inspected.  They are suppose to label it afterwards with a sticker or note.  That said, books going to and from Wisconsin are being inspected right and left. 

To keep it private, it must go first class.

All media mail in Australia is shipped in clear envelopes.  No secrets there.

Date Posted: 12/13/2010 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 6/13/2009
Posts: 503
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Lots of time I will ship in a large heavy weight ziplock baggie using either tissue paper or papertowel to lightly protect/cover the book.  This makes it easy for the post office to clearly see it is a book and ok to ship media mail.

Date Posted: 12/13/2010 8:23 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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That is a weird way to send a book. If you sent them a PM after the book was requested, there's a good chance that they just didn't see it in time.

I once received a paperback that was placed in a Ziploc freezer bag with the address label taped on. The bag wasn't taped shut. Just that trusty zipper-lock keeping it in. I thought it was weird, but it got here in good condition. I marked it received and just added a note to the sender suggesting that it was not a very secure or appropriate way to send stuff through the mail. They never responded.

Last Edited on: 12/13/10 8:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/13/2010 8:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I've received one or two books in transparent packaging and didn't think twice about it.  I'm with the camp that thinks if you have ANY specific packaging requests, you really should have an RC.  JMO.

Last Edited on: 12/13/10 9:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Briana -
Date Posted: 12/13/2010 8:39 PM ET
Member Since: 4/8/2009
Posts: 2,765
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I also think you should create an RC. You could be being a little sensitive about it- but I totally understand your frustration over the gift. But, I think having an RC is the way to go and should work for you in the future. Good luck!

Date Posted: 12/13/2010 8:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,271
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I ordered some books for my DGD and they came from Wisconsin.  My son said the package had been inspected by the Postal Service.  First time I've had any books coming or going inspected.  They know me at my PO also, and now when I ship a package that isn't books, they ask, 'Not Books?" 

I've never received a book just wrapped in bubble wrap though.  I did receive a book once in one of those inflatable freezer bags.  Unfortunately, by the time the book got here, it was no longer inflated and the book was flopping around inside the package.  LOL


Date Posted: 12/13/2010 10:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,690
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Well, the clear packaging is perfectly legal, saves on postal inspection, and provides a means to recycle plastic. 

I have nothing to hide, I don't care if the whole world knows what I read as I'm not embarrassed by it.  If people are so narrow minded as to base their opinion on me based on the books I read well, it is their mistake, loss if they choose to avoid me and just pure stupidity.  So, nope receiving a book in clear plastic is no big deal to me.  If it were I'd place a RC on my account to that effect.


Date Posted: 12/13/2010 11:18 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Media Mail can be inspected anywhere en route.


The above is a link to the Domestic Mail Manual section on media mail and postal inspection.


I don't think your wanting privacy is being too sensitive. However, I also think you need a RC if you are concerned about privacy regarding your package contents. People might not receive PMs after your request (or have already mailed out the book by then). I also don't think of myself as a "seller" that's trying to please a "buyer" since PBS is a book swapping club.

Date Posted: 12/14/2010 2:01 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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Huh. I would also have been totally bothered by this and am really surprised other people aren't.  Though I do see the point of it as a way of avoiding inspections.

Date Posted: 12/14/2010 3:07 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Given the Media Mail situation in Wisconson, I'm not surprised some members are experimenting with clear wrappings.  That said, not sure I'd consider bubble wrap very durable on its own.  It's rather brittle unless protected by other wrappings, but probably stronger than economy weight sandwich bags.  I'm recycling some very heavy weight clear plastic from a special order part.

So sorry your surprise was spoiled William.  It appears this type of wrapping may be on the rise, so you may wish to consider an RC if you have privacy concerns.

Media Mail is always subject to inspection, it's one of the conditions in the fine print....although it rarely happens.

Date Posted: 12/14/2010 4:55 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2010
Posts: 238
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I get quite a few books from various online sites (ebay, PBS, amazon, private stores) that use clear wrapping to avoid the Media Mail inspection hassle. I'd much rather have that in the mail instead of an empty envelope that reads "inspected by post office" with nothing inside. That's happened to me at least 5 times...they just don't properly rewrap things.

I have also recycled that type of packaging  and never had any complaints. Having said that, I wouldn't do that for any book that was overtly religious, sexual or political in nature. 

If it's an issue for you, add it to your Requestor Conditions - most folks would be happy to comply.

Date Posted: 12/14/2010 6:29 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2007
Posts: 9,515
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I don't care if the whole world knows what I read as I'm not embarrassed by it.

If you are or could be, however, I have a solution for getting books that could be somewhat "sensitive" in nature, for whatever reason.


No one will ever know!

Date Posted: 12/14/2010 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2007
Posts: 3,326
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Are you being oversensitive?  yes.   JMO

You got the book you wanted in good shape. It seems a little hard to believe that you ship that many books in and out every week and don't know the rules for media mail! Also, hanging around the PBS forums for -say- 5 minutes would be enough to run into at least one conversation about RCs

Also -  you wrote this: they wrapped it in bubble wrap and then the standard PBS mailer.  So if it was in a standard PBS mailer how much of the book was actually visible? The standard PBS mailer is one or two sheets of printer paper, depending on which option you choose. IMO, you should be happy you got bubble wrap! If the book was a gift, it could very likely have gotten damaged if it had been mailed with *just* the standard mailer and no bubble wrap.

Date Posted: 12/14/2010 10:47 AM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2010
Posts: 4,177
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Can't say I ever got a book "Clear Wrapped"; but I really would'nt care if I did.  If its an issue, then by all means create an RC.


Date Posted: 12/14/2010 11:50 AM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2005
Posts: 608
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Hi, William! If you want the person to know that the book is a gift and to mark it "Do Not Open," you should have an RC stating that, since it's a special requirement. You can turn RC's on and off, if the RC's don't pertain to all your orders. When I get a book order I need to know everything up front. As other people have already mentioned, you should also have an RC that you do not want clear packaging. I always make sure that no one knows what the book is just by looking at the package, but maybe other people don't think that this is necessary. Bubble wrap is great for protecting the book; I use it on hardbounds that I mail, underneath layers of wrapping paper. Have a great holiday in spite of it all! Regards, Elaine

Date Posted: 12/14/2010 4:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 6,378
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I have never received a book in clear wrapping, but I agree with the OP, I would be a little weirded out by it.  I've had a couple of my books (that I have received) inspected, but they arrived safely, I'm sorry to hear that others have problems with that.  Any suggestions for what a good RC would look like for this issue?  Would "Please use an outer wrapping that is opaque." - is that clear, or would people wonder if I'm nuts?  :)

Date Posted: 12/14/2010 5:53 PM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2010
Posts: 33
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I'm fine with bubble wrap if it is used in conjuction with a box or very stiff envelope.  Alone it is almost useless, as are bubble mailers, unless you overdue the wrapping which can get a bit expensive or you at least double up on the bubble mailers by putting the book in two of them.  Here's what I don't understand, why is the post office allowing packages to be sent with bubble wrap and nothing else?  I recently got a book wrapped in a weekly grocery discount ad.  

Date Posted: 12/14/2010 6:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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No one will ever know!"


Not much help for someone using a bookswap site. Though there are starting to be sites for loaning Nook books.

Date Posted: 12/15/2010 2:05 AM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2010
Posts: 868
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I'm really interested in the clear packaging as I am moving back to WI and have heard plenty about the new regulations there.  As for if I would be worried about my neighbors seeing what I read, I think it's a little over the top. Frankly, the mail delivery person probably sees a lot worse coming to homes than the worst most of us can think of.  It's kind of like what I tell my patients, if you have something I haven't seen, then we are in trouble.  I understand the need/want for privacy, but you either need an RC or you need to purchase your books.  This is a club and while I wouldn't have a problem with that particular RC now, I might after I move and may run the risk of the book getting damaged during inspection, but the sender needs the option.


SN: brundlefry, I always ship in bubble mailers now and haven't had any problems. What's you're experience?

SN 2: Willa, depending on where you live and what reader you get, the library is a really great source of new ebooks.  As are the multiple nook trader clubs you mentioned

Last Edited on: 12/15/10 2:18 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/15/2010 6:46 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 2,027
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I received a few books wrapped in just clear plastic or bubble wrap.  They have some of the most secure "bricks" I've ever had to open.

Date Posted: 12/15/2010 8:11 AM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,276
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I've mailed books frequently in just bubble wrap, and while the PO can easily see it's a book, they'd usually have to really peer through the bubbles to see what trash I might be mailing!  HOWEVER, this may be weird, but if the book was a romance, or something that could be embarrassing, I've slipped a piece of paper down over the back cover, and taped the label to the package so it will hide the front cover.