24 March 2008

What? When? (or: A "Comedy" of Errors)

When did the USPS get so expensive?

I went to mail a first birthday gift to my nephew today. The gift is somewhat bulky, but not heavy. It's hardly gold bars. How much does the USPS want for it? $14.95. 

Yow.

The helpful woman behind the counter advises that perhaps a flat-rate box for $8.95 would have been a better choice. So I trundle back to the office with a flat-rate box and my original package and get set to make the swap.

Only the gift does not fit in the flat-rate box. Not even close. I checked the dimensions of the larger flat-rate box ($12.95), and it ain't gonna go in there, either.

So now I shall go back to the drawing board and find a box at home that does not have Priority Mail markings on it and send it parcel post. Hey, at least I'm getting some exercise.

EDITED: Every once in a while, I have a good idea. I took my original Priority Mail box and turned it inside-out by cutting it along one side, refolding, and retaping it. VoilĂ ! A brown box that can be sent parcel post. Now I just have to go back to the P.O. and see how much that will set me back.

18 comments:

The Town Criers said...

I baked some cookies and thought it would be fun to mail some to my niece. $6 to mail 4 freakin' cookies!

Hope you get it mailed.

Sylvie said...

Oh, I hate a thing like that: a simple errand that turns into a day long activity. Good luck!

caro said...

Yeah, they are charging for volume more than weight these days. I got burned at Christmas trying to mail super-light but long and bulkily packed garlic braids. Yowch.

CLC said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I can't tell you how sorry I am for the loss of your husband. I can't imagine coping with your grief and raising two babies on top of that- I can barely cope with myself. I am so sorry, I know that is of little comfort, but I don't know what else I can say.

tree town gal said...

Last year. Seriously. Last year the new rates went into effect and as the Town Criers stated, cookies have become too expensive to send. I used to love to send brownies and other goodies and often could do so under $5. Not now. I've stopped. I wonder if this new pricing scheme has been a negative marginal gain for the USPS with a decrease in volume. I'm babbling... and thinking of you often. Hope the new coffee maker is still making you smile.

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moo said...

I've actually found that the UPS store is cheaper and safer (I've had boxes LOST by the USPS) (It was my maid of honor dress for my sister's wedding and it FINALLY made it to my mom's house 4 weeks after the wedding ... 6 weeks after I'd originally sent it). The UPS store always has tracking, while the USPS you have to pay extra.

And that is my assvice for the day. ;

Anonymous said...

Fedex is the least expensive for items over 2 pounds. usps is a rip off! Be careful using an inside out priority box...it is illegal and can be expensive if you get caught. The postal rates are out
of control!

fran said...

Just a caution...they've seen the inside out box trick before, and will most likely call you on it.

What A Card said...

No kidding...I just mailed my niece a birthday present. It was kind of close to her birthday so I was going to spring for priority mail and they wanted $22 for it! Like you, it wasn't heavy so much as an awkwardly shaped box (hey, we were sending her fairy wings...what little girl doesn't need fairy wings??)

Forget it, I sent it parcel post and she's just going to have to enjoy it after her birthday has passed :) Next time I'm ordering right from amazon and using my amazon prime free shipping.

I've turned boxes inside out, too. I didn't realize that was a no-no. And I've also used pieces of paper cut up and taped over markings on the box to make it a blank box. Hope that's okay!

Angela said...

Hope the package can get sent without you having to take out a second mortgage. It's awful how expensive it can be to mail items,there have been a few times where the postage costs exceeded the cost of the actual item I was sending...Argh!No fun!

Giovanna said...

Hey, at least you made the effort! I'm lazy and if I ever have to mail gifts...I order it online and have them deliver it to the person's house. Save myself $ that way.

Ragtop Day said...

I ran into this last week at the USPS! They measured my box too - not sure if I was actually charged more because of it or not. But the Priority rate was over $25 and I said no way! Switched it to Parcel Post and it was just over $12.

Why would turning a box inside out be against the rules?

Snickollet said...

I didn't mean to imply that turning the box inside-out was against the rules--as far as I know, it's fine to do so. I am going to take the revamped box to the PO today for mailing, and will report back on the how it goes and the cost difference.

Snickollet said...

Oh, wait, I didn't read all my comments before I commented myself . . . now I'm nervous about taking my inside-out box in! We'll see how it goes . . .

-snick

Steph said...

The USPS is very expensive. I just found out yesterday that stamps are 41 cents! (Out of touch, much?)
I had been affixing 39 cent stamps on my mail for a while now. Nothing got returned, though. Odd.
One time I mentioned casually to the postal employee who was weighing my package that it was in an inside out Priority Mail box. I thought I was being so clever! They really scolded me for it and warned me not to do that anymore.

Fran said...

They consider the box to be part of the cost of sending it Priority Mail. If you use it to send something at a cheaper rate, you haven't paid for it, and they consider it to be stealing. That's why they provide the PM boxes free and have plain boxes that they sell for non-PM. You may get away with it, but it's definitely against their rules.

Anonymous said...

You can also wrap old boxes in an inside out paper grocery bag. They always take it.