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Topic: Book about to go lost - how to word PM

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M.E. (ryenke) -
Subject: Book about to go lost - how to word PM
Date Posted: 4/21/2009 8:35 AM ET
Member Since: 1/6/2009
Posts: 625
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I ordered a book in March that is about to go lost in the mail.  Is this an acceptable PM?

Hi,  I ordered book xxxxx by xxxx on March __  I have not yet recieved it in the mail.  If it does not arrive in the next two days the PBS system will automatically mark it lost in the mail.  Can you confirm you mailed it on March __ as indicated?

Thank you

I have a very hard time wording things without sounding accusatory and/or snarky, so I opted for very simple - perhaps too terse.  Any suggestions or is this fine?

Thanks, folks


Date Posted: 4/21/2009 8:42 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,607
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Sounds okay to me, although I never PM for such things. Books DO sometimes go lost, and I think any way you word it, it will sound like you don't believe they really sent it on that date. At least, that's how I would take it.


Date Posted: 4/21/2009 8:46 AM ET
Member Since: 11/22/2008
Posts: 836
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I agree with Cheryl.   If it was sent, they will contact you as soon as it is declared lost. 

Date Posted: 4/21/2009 8:48 AM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2009
Posts: 1,564
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I would just wait and let it go lost.  If they really mailed it on time, they will likely contact you as soon as they get that email from PBS.

Date Posted: 4/21/2009 9:02 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,607
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If I were the sender and a book I sent went lost, and I did indeed send it on time (which I do! LOL) I wouldn't contact the intended receiver, either. If they did PM me, I would answer politely, but I can't see the need for a PM in either case. The book is lost or missing in the mail, period. I would not order another copy of the book right away, though--wait at least a couple of weeks just in case the sender DID mail it late.


M.E. (ryenke) -
Date Posted: 4/21/2009 9:07 AM ET
Member Since: 1/6/2009
Posts: 625
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I guess I was just trying to avoid waiting on the sender, because last time this happened the sender did NOT contact me. 

(Last time:  I ordered two books, and they went lost in mail.  No contact from sender.  Then the sender reposted the books (same books) 5 days after lost in the mail to his shelf.  I ordered one of the two books again (being only person on wish list for that book) without realizing it was same sender.  Sender accepted again but this time never marked it mailed (auto-cancel by PBS).  I ended up contacting PBS and the person's account was suspended, so I assume he never cleared it up with them, either. )

In this case, I guess I don't believe the sender mailed it because they accepted, 'printed lablel' and supposedly mailed all in the same minute based upon the time stamp.  I'm guessing they forgot all about it.

I do wish it were clear - when a book goes lost in the mail - who is supposed to contact whom?  Should the sender PM or should the requestor PM? 

 Cheryl:  The book is wishlisted.  I have no choice on waiting to order, if it comes up.  Nor do I WANT to wait, I was looking forward to it and have no idea how long it will take for it to be posted again because it is not one of the blockbuster frequently posted wishlist books.  It looks like it may be occasionally posted every other month or so.

Last Edited on: 4/21/09 9:10 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/21/2009 9:14 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2006
Posts: 1,826
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"when a book goes lost in the mail - who is supposed to contact whom?"

From the help files:

What you should do if a book you requested is declared Lost in the Mail:

  • Contact the sender, to find out if Mailing was delayed for some reason.
    • you can do this from your Transaction Archive, using the PM button on this Lost transaction in that list.
  • If the mailing was not delayed, the sender should call 800-ASK-USPS or go to http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MLNtRcvd.aspx (the Postal Inspection Service's website) and input the information online there . This will help USPS try to recover the book if it truly has been lost in the mail.
  • Don't re-request the book for at least 2 weeks, unless you are willing to run the risk of getting two copies (and paying a credit for both).


I would just say "Hey there, I notice the book is about to go missing, before PBS steps in I just wanted to confirm that the book was indeed mailed."


Date Posted: 4/21/2009 9:27 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,607
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M.E. wrote: In this case, I guess I don't believe the sender mailed it because they accepted, 'printed lablel' and supposedly mailed all in the same minute based upon the time stamp.  I'm guessing they forgot all about it.

Could be, but I do that all the time. If I logon in the morning before leaving for work to mark books mailed, and there's another order, I check that I do have the book and make sure it is indeed postable, accept the request, print label and mark mailed. Then I wrap and drop the book in the blue box in front of work with my other orders.

It sounds like you had a bad experience with a book going lost before, and that has colored your thoughts about things. Most of the time, I think a cigar is just a cigar and a lost book is just a lost book. But yes, there are always people who do things that a) don't know how the system works and b) are trying to scam the system. But my experiences have also colored my thoughts about things and I've had so few problems over the years that I prefer just to let the system do its work without tangling things up with PMs. It looks like it's perfectly acceptable to PM the sender according to the help docs, so if you would like, I would go ahead and do that with the way you had it worded.

However, how would the answer they give affect what you do next? Since it is a wishlisted book, I'm just wondering what you'll do if the sender says, "no, I did mail it two weeks late, sorry." Would that answer change how you proceed? Will you take it off your wishlist? And what if another copy does get posted in the meantime if you leave it there? Do you accept it? I mean, if the sender was willing to lie about mailing the book, maybe they lied again and never did send it. You just don't know.


Date Posted: 4/21/2009 9:31 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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When it's a WL book-I do send a polite PM maybe a day or two before it's about to go lost.  I try to make it sound like I'm not going to ding them if they mailed it late but maybe ask if it came back to them for some reason or there was a delay in mailing it out.  I make it sound more like I'm trying to prevent my ending up with 2 books.

I've also put my account on hold for a week or two after a WL book has gone lost so I don't get another offer for it and then have the book show up.  I just put any other WL books where I'm near the top on autorequest.

If it's a non-WL book then I don't do anything.  When a non-WL book goes lost it goes on your reminder list.  So you can jsut wait and see if the other book shows up.

Also just because they marked it mailed within minutes of printing the label doesn't mean it wasn't mailed. Some people have limited computer access.  So they mark books mailed right away incase they don't get on the computer again before times out. I know I don't print the label usually until I'm ready to actually wrap the book.  Sometimes I print the label, wrap the book, stick some stamps on it and put it in my mail box.  So I could have it wrapped and in the mail within a couple minutes of printing. 


Date Posted: 4/21/2009 10:12 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 11,187
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I've seen other posts where a polite PM sent out when the book is about to go lost, sometimes results in the sender knowing why the book is late ...mailed late, forgot in the car, etc. It doesn't hurt to ask.


Date Posted: 4/21/2009 10:19 AM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2007
Posts: 2,015
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Last Edited on: 2/3/15 8:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/21/2009 11:33 AM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2006
Posts: 35,126
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I know I'm probably going to get grief for this, but as a TG, I see too many problems arise that could have been avoided if people would have sent a PM to the sender or to the receiver, asking if the book had been mailed or recieved.  In many cases, people forget to mark books mailed or received and a PM reminds them to do so.  I honestly feel if a gently worded PM is sent, then perhaps many such problems can be avoided.

Date Posted: 4/21/2009 2:42 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I'll agree, a polite pm wouldn't be out of place.  If there was an unforseen delay in mailing, the book could still be in the mail.  If this transaction goes 'lost', in theory you could immediately receive an offer from a new sender.  If the book really is in the mail, you would want to delay any new offer as long as possible to avoid receiving two copies & using unnecessary credits (hope that made sense). 

If it hasn't been mailed, your inquiry may get it moving. 

If the PO is the problem, the sender isn't wondering if you are just lazy marking the book received.  Communication is usually a win-win situation!

Although it's a peeve of mine to mark books mailed before they are actually mailed, IME I've had more issues with members who accept, print, and mark just before time-out.   My two cents :-)

Last Edited on: 4/21/09 2:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
M.E. (ryenke) -
Date Posted: 4/21/2009 5:21 PM ET
Member Since: 1/6/2009
Posts: 625
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Thank you all, and Jill, thanks so much for the wording suggestion, it is much more casual and friendly than mine, so I'll work around your phrasing.  And Mary - I never thought of putting my account on hold for such a situation - if I don't have any likely wishlist offers in the immediate future, I'll think about doing that.

Interesting to see the change since start of the thread:  At first people leaned towards the don't PM side but the latter part of the thread is more pro PM in this case.  It really does seem to be 50/50 as to whether people think someone should PM. 

Last Edited on: 4/21/09 5:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/21/2009 6:32 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 376
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I'm pro-PM - it doesn't hurt to communicate (politely). If you PM to say you really haven't gotten it, you are also letting them know it's not just a case of you forgetting to mark it received. It gives you both the advantage of knowing what is up with the transaction if you stay in touch.

Date Posted: 4/21/2009 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
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I just went through a 'book lost' situation - I sent the book and about 2 weeks after I mailed it (1st class) I e-mailed the requester to tell her I had sent it on such & such a day and hoped that it had arrived. We exchanged a few very nice PMs and the book was eventually marked as Lost. But about 2 weeks after that she wrote to say the book had arrived, safe and sound.

I know there are two camps regarding PMs, but I'm the type to make the first move so the requester doesn't have to hunt me down. This lady told me that she'd received some books weeks after they were declared lost, so don't give up. And do what your heart tells you to do.  Gail