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Topic: has anyone had fishy packaging problems through the mail?

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Subject: has anyone had fishy packaging problems through the mail?
Date Posted: 8/18/2007 3:14 PM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2007
Posts: 12
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I received a note from someone who requested a book of mine...... i'd wrapped the book in heavy brown paper because of it's size and i always use packaging tape. he told me he appreciated that i had used the paper, but that the ends had been torn and open..... but thankfully the book arrived in good condition.

I feel terrible that something like this could happen because I want to offer the best quality book i can to requestors......

Has anyone else had problems like this? with the post office or shippers possibly seeming to "mess" with a package? I'm waiting for a reply from him because i asked if it seemed if it was messed with or maybe my tape just didn't hold up or something..... i'm terribly dissapointed!

Date Posted: 8/18/2007 3:29 PM ET
Member Since: 6/3/2007
Posts: 63
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I received a book today that was wrapped in just the 2-layer PBS wrapper and the ends were both torn open.  The book was fine.  I personally just don't think paper wrapping is a good idea for sending something with sharp edges but most of the time the books wrapped in paper do arrive OK.  I guess it's just an irrational thing on my part.

Date Posted: 8/18/2007 3:31 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2006
Posts: 4,110
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I haven't had it happen to me, but I was told by a postal employee at the counter that all Media mail is subject to search, and if anything not considered media mail will get it returned.  So could be someone thought maybe the package was suspect for what ever reason, and opened it.  Although I would think that there would be a PO stamp or other notation of such an inspection.

The simplest answer is maybe it got snagged on some machinery, a sorter or something. 

Date Posted: 8/18/2007 4:21 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,608
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Elizabeth, every couple of months I get a spate of books that are torn in exactly the same way.  They aren't stamped with the post office inspection stamp.  However, it seems like that's what's going on since it only lasts for a week or two and they are torn in same place each time.

Sometimes packaging tape if a little edge is left up will get caught in post office machinery.  I've had a couple get ripped open that way.

Date Posted: 8/18/2007 4:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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Yes all media mail is subject to inspection and if they inspect it officially they have to note that they did. My PO seems to tear into packages like rabid dogs so there isnt much left to repackage it in. I always get the rapper and the book in a plastic baggie when they inspect mine. I have heard a few people who were suspicious that their mail was getting inspected without going through procedure.

OTOH It really could be that it got caught in machinery. If you leave tape hanging just a little bit it could get caught.

Date Posted: 8/18/2007 4:36 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
Posts: 3,070
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Do they leave a note if they inspect it or an inspection stamp?  I've had the same problem as listed above but have never found any notification on the part of the PO.

Date Posted: 8/18/2007 4:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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From what I understand they are supposed to leave notice that it was inspected. I always get a note when mine is.

Date Posted: 8/18/2007 5:43 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2006
Posts: 1,956
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I had the brown wrapper ripped on one of mine last week.  It wasn't torn on the corner and definitley looked like it had been purposely ripped, but you could obviously tell it was a book just by feeling it, so I figured it was an accident.

Date Posted: 8/18/2007 7:52 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
Posts: 880
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Last Edited on: 7/3/10 12:48 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/18/2007 8:32 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 663
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None of my PBS book packages have been inspected by the PO, but I've had some other book packages inspected. In those cases, the packaging has always been stamped in red ink "Media Mail Opened for Inspection" or something similar. 

I don't know if all POs use the inspection stamp, but I appreciate that my local one does, so I know for sure what happened with the packaging.And I guess I've been lucky, because the inspection has always involved making a slit at one end of the envelope so the inspector could see the contents, then taping over it with clear tape.

Then again, maybe the "more tape is better" philosophy of PBS is driving some inspectors crazy. I know that I've had to really struggle to open some of the packages I've received. ;-)


Date Posted: 8/18/2007 10:14 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2005
Posts: 622
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I've received several seemingly well-packaged books where the ends have been slit open.  This has happened up to 3 times in one week.  I never get any notice that it was inspected and they never re-close the end...just leave it hang open.  Should I buy the Post Office a roll of tape so they can put it back together???

Date Posted: 8/18/2007 10:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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Another note on the PO just damaging the wrapper. I had one that was obviously run over by a fork lift the other day. The book was perfectly ok but the packaging had a 4 in wide tread mark on it. I do sometimes wonder what they do at the sorting centers.

Date Posted: 8/18/2007 10:38 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2007
Posts: 1,305
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They don't always mark it inspected like TSA doesn't put the note they've checked my bags. The least they can do it retape the packages. I'd hate to think they it was a postal worker checking to see if it's a book they want to read. We had a postal worker who would read our ski magazine and deliver two weeks late obviously read. I trust no one.

Date Posted: 8/19/2007 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2005
Posts: 6,402
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I have had three books go missing in the past several weeks where I suspect  the book was opened  for inspection  and not properly sealed back up. The post office sent me the empty envelope back saying the contents were lost. I had used half a roll of tape on the envelopes, all corners, edges, etc. There is no way the envelope tore on it's own. I am throughly disgusted. If they have to open the package to inspect it, when obviously the morons can't tell it's a book, then the least they can do is seal it up properly. All this occured through the same facility, which I find telling in itself.

Date Posted: 8/19/2007 10:43 AM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2007
Posts: 12
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Thank you all for the helpful information.... i feel a tad better knowing it might not have been my fault, that i'm wrapping my books well enough (i'm a pretty new member). maybe this issue should be known throughout the pbs community so no problems arise between members...... because i know i was re-thinking about how i'd wrapped it, questioning myself "DID i wrap the ends?" maybe it should be addressed.....

Thanks again!

Date Posted: 8/19/2007 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
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 My carrier (when she refused to take a book I'd put in the mailbox) told me the PO has really cracked down on books and media mail, just in the last 2-3 weeks. It is some new law about homeland security, and why books heavier than a pound or so must be taken to PO.  I checked, and she was right, although the PO people have a good bit of latitude in deciding what or which they will check.

Date Posted: 8/19/2007 6:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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Betty all packages over 13 oz WITH STAMPS on them have to be taken to the PO. If its got traceable postage on it like an APC or paypal postage it can still be curbside delivered.

Date Posted: 8/21/2007 1:05 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 1,051
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I'm alway afraid that my packages are going to be inspected by the PO so it's one the reasons why I prewrap in plastic. The postal gnomes can cut open the wrapper, check out that there truly are only books enclosed, and then there's less of a the chance that the books get damages or lost/fall out from the packing.