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Old 02-22-2013, 12:33 PM   #1
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Smile Do you need extra postage when mailing cards with buttons on them?

Hi everyone,

I have always loved the way buttons looked on cards but resisted using them because I was concerned about mailing them. My local post office will run their hands over my cards to feel for "bumps" and if it doesn't fit through their 1/4" mail slot they charge extra for the postage. I don't want envelopes I've decorated coming back to me with a notice that extra postage is needed. Recently, I broke down and bought a couple packs of buttons (to get to a total where I earned free postage on an online order) and before I start using them I'm hoping someone can let me know about this. If they require extra postage, how much is it? I could at least be sure to have the proper stamps at home before mailing. Or do you just use buttons on cards that will be hand delivered and other projects like gift tags, etc? Any help would be much appreciated-thank you!!!
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:45 PM   #2
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More than likely. But how much kind of depends on the size of the button and who processes it.

A single thin button might not increase the weight or thickness, but may make the piece non-bendable, in which case I think it might just be the nonmachinable surcharge (which used to be 20 cents but I'm not sure if it went up or not.)

Depending on how big the button is, and the area of non-bendability, it's also possible your card would get flagged as a package (I don't have the flow chart handy.) In which case I do believe the cheapest postage is 2.07.
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:34 PM   #3
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I think the answer is - it depends. I put buttons on a lot of my cards, and have never had to pay extra postage. I don't think buttons add much to the weight, but as said, if they stick up a lot, they can make a "bump" that won't fit through the 1/4" slot that they measure with.

The buttons I use on my cards are pretty thin, about as thick as a shirt button, for the most part. I always put an extra piece of cardstock, the size of my card, inside on top of the card side with the button.

Some people have said they fold their cards inside out when they have embellishments, but I've never done that.

I also put my card in the envie so that any "bump" will be as far from the stamp location as possible, so it won't hang up when it goes through to be cancelled.

I've not had any problems with cards arriving postage due, or being returned to me in many years of sending cards in the mail.

PS 99% of my cards are the standard invitation size, 4-1/4" x 5-1/2".
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:46 PM   #4
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It is going to depend on how picky your post office is. A couple years ago I had to get postage for some Christmas cards I was mailing. I had one that had one small rhinestone on it. The guy tried telling me that I needed extra postage on it because of the hard bump (it was no where near too thick to go thru their 1/4" slot). I told him I have never paid extra before so he asked another clerk. She said she would let it go thru. He still tried to get me to pay extra but I told him I would chance the cards being returned. They never were.
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:48 PM   #5
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If I have a bump on my envy like a gem or button I put a piece of packing tape over the top of it on the outside of the envelope. Seems to work for me. I also find that the bar on your paper trimmer is 1/4" so you can gauge if your envy is too 'fat'. If it will go through then your PO shouldn't give you a hassle..at least in Canada but I suppose it is pretty well the same everywhere.
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:10 PM   #6
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It is going to depend on how picky your post office is. A couple years ago I had to get postage for some Christmas cards I was mailing. I had one that had one small rhinestone on it. The guy tried telling me that I needed extra postage on it because of the hard bump (it was no where near too thick to go thru their 1/4" slot). I told him I have never paid extra before so he asked another clerk. She said she would let it go thru. He still tried to get me to pay extra but I told him I would chance the cards being returned. They never were.
That's exactly why I never go to the desk and ask them what it would cost! I just use my own judgment, put the stamps on, and put them in the mail box.

Like I said, I've never gotten one back, or had it arrive postage due.
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:42 PM   #7
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My post office is very picky. They claim the card will have to be hand sorted to fit in the machine and that's 20 cents extra. I weigh my cards at home and just pop into mailbox. I have sent cards with wooden buttons and they made it w/o problems. Also my p. o. charges 20 cents extra to add the words, " do not bend".
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:42 PM   #8
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Isn't it amazing how each post office can be so different? I have found that one particular clerk at my local branch always assumes stuff is going priority. She is fast (I'm sure that is why- she never asks what you want!) and I've been stuck with her a few times. I've paid way more to mail some boxes than I needed. I HAVE to remember to ask her for the cheapest rate. She always gets me flustered, though!
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:20 PM   #9
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It does seem to be very arbitrary. I generally cut a piece of card stock and run it through my crimper. I put the card in the envelope with the back flat side to the front of the envelope and then put the piece of crimped paper over the front side of the card/back of the envelope so that it gives it some protection. With the back of the envelope toward the front it is flat going through the part that will get coded y the machines. It has worked well for me with no extra costs incurred. (Hope this makes sense)
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:16 AM   #10
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It really depends on the post office clerk!! They love to have you pay extra postage any chance they can! However, I always put a Card Protector Sheet over my card. This is usually a piece of scrap cardstock I'll either run through my crimper, or I simply cut up old file folders they throw away at work. I just hand print Card Protector Sheet on it and lay it over my card and then I mail it. I buy ten cent stamps and put a Forever stamp and a ten cent stamp on my cards and they go through wonderfully. Some postage machines get hung up on non-protected envelopes where there may be a button or a rhinestone or some kind of bling such as a tiny bow. That's why I use the Card Protector Sheet for most of my cards that have something additional sticking up on it. Seems to work pretty good for me.
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Old 02-23-2013, 04:34 PM   #11
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Well, I have a funny story. When I made Halloween Cards for three kids, the two cards that were the fattest where the two that made it just fine. The card that was flat was sent back to me! I just hand delivered it!
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:54 AM   #12
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I have mailed all thicknesses of cards and never have gotten one back. If I think it is too bulky I add an additional stamp...assorted amounts...and have no problem. Must be my post office is not picky because sometimes I just put tape over the button spot and there is no problem and no extra postage. I have been charged more for 6x6 cards where I learned to fold the top down 1/2 inch and adjust the card size to that. Now I don't pay extra for a card 6 x 5 1/2. Sometimes I do put a piece of cardboard, like cereal box thickness, in on the front and don't get charged more and its still bulky. Wonderful! So I do think it is each individual post office choices.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:10 PM   #13
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I never ask the PO, just stick it in the mail. I use buttons, ribbons, bows, etc. and have never had a card returned or postage due. Don't ask the PO and I only put a forever stamp on it. I do not say hand deliver and they arrive just fine.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:16 PM   #14
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I've dropped several in the mail that had buttons, only a few we're damaged from the sorter. If its something your worried might not do well thru the sorter just pay the extra 20 cents to have it hand sorted.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:46 PM   #15
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I buy 66 stamps for my bulky cards. If the bump is highly visible, I just stick one of those on. My cards are mostly A2 and never overweight. Just the bump. They are supposed to hand cancel them. Having said that, I think as long as they can get the top through the stamp canceller, they will use the machine anyway and there goes my extra postage.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosestamping View Post
I never ask the PO, just stick it in the mail. I use buttons, ribbons, bows, etc. and have never had a card returned or postage due. Don't ask the PO and I only put a forever stamp on it. I do not say hand deliver and they arrive just fine.
Yeah, but that doesn't mean the items didn't require more postage: I have never ever ever told anyone who has sent me something if it arrived postage due. As the deficit has never been more than 50 cents, I just put the money in the envelope that the mail carrier leaves and be done with it. There is no point in embarassing the sender over pennies.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:38 PM   #17
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Yeah, but that doesn't mean the items didn't require more postage: I have never ever ever told anyone who has sent me something if it arrived postage due. As the deficit has never been more than 50 cents, I just put the money in the envelope that the mail carrier leaves and be done with it. There is no point in embarassing the sender over pennies.
You are sweet. That is why I always go for the extra postage just in case! I know my friends wouldn't want me to know if they had to pay for my card either. I have paid postage once, I think last year, on one card. I can't even remember who sent it! I just paid it like you did and must've really let it go, since I can't remember who it came from! LOL
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:05 PM   #18
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I turn my with the front inside. That gives it more padding.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:17 PM   #19
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I turn my with the front inside. That gives it more padding.
But will non card makers understand this? I forgot about this method. I got a gorgeous watermelon card from bensarmom once (I still have it!) and she had it turned inside out and it held up wonderfully! I'm just not sure I would mail one to someone I didn't know well like that in case they thought I was making backward cards! LOL
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:36 PM   #20
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I have a couple of sheets of 20c stamps and I bung one on there whenever I think it's possible there'll be an issue.
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:11 PM   #21
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My daughter's wedding invitations had a ribbon knot on the front and I paid extra for the 200 envelopes to be hand stamped. It was obvious the invites were machined as many came with holes in the envelopes....Grrr. So now, I crimp a piece of cardstock, put it in the envelope with the card with any embellishments on it, put a regular postage stamp on it and never, ever ask if the envie will go through without extra postage. That wedding invitation fiasco really steamed me.
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:17 PM   #22
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I did my sons wedding invites last year and took one to the post office. They had a ribbon knot on the front. She checked it out and said it would pass with a regular stamp. The thank you notes had bling on it, so I put the extra postage on those. I think many times they run them through the machine even if you have the extra on it. I always try to make sure the bling is at the bottom, just in case. That means putting it in the envelope upside down sometimes..
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Old 04-16-2014, 04:26 AM   #23
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Default NONMACHINABLE SURCHARGE

I am very careful when I mail cards with embellishments such as buttons, pearls, rhinestones, etc. While your card may be less than 1/4" thick AND less than one ounce, there are several requirements that make it "nonmachinable." If your card has any of the following characteristics, it becomes "nonmachinable," and (as of 4-16-2014) subject to a $.21 surcharge. The following info in quotes was taken from the USPS website:

"Letters that meet one or more of the nonmachinable characteristics below are subject to the nonmachinable surcharge.

It is a square letter
It is too rigid does not bend easily
It has clasps, string, buttons, or similar closure devices
It has an address parallel to the shorter dimension of the letter
It contains items such as pens that cause the surface to be uneven
The length divided by height is less than 1.3 or more than 2.5"

Obviously, what causes a card to be "uneven" is pretty subjective! If in doubt, I write "nonmachinable" in red sharpie on the front and add the $.21 extra postage. And as a previous member commented, if it has a LOT of embellishments, put it in a padded envelope (which will likely need to be mailed at the even higher "package" rate).

Hope this helps! Sue
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Old 04-16-2014, 04:28 AM   #24
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I have a couple of sheets of 20c stamps and I bung one on there whenever I think it's possible there'll be an issue.
FYI, the rate went up to $.21 in January, 2014!
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Old 04-16-2014, 05:44 AM   #25
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thanks for the postage info! the "crimped paper" method is a great idea and one which i will try. i do mail a lot of cards out with extra postage... again, thanks!
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:04 AM   #26
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I always add an extra stamp because our post office is strange. I rather be safe than sorry.
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:58 AM   #27
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You can send regular postage as long as the envelope fits through the 1/4" slot. However, in order to avoid having crunched up cards arrive at the other end, I put the front of the card to the back of the envelope and place a layer of thin foam packing material over the front of the card.

I use extra postage if I feel the weight will be more than 1 oz.

BTW, who goes to the post office any more??? I drop mine in the mail.
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:27 AM   #28
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You can send regular postage as long as the envelope fits through the 1/4" slot.
That's not entirely true. See WausauSue's post about characteristics that make something subject to the nonmachinable surcharge. For example, a 6" sqaure card might fit through the slot but, because it's square, you need more than just a first class stamp on it.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:13 AM   #29
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Yes, that is true. Square envelopes require extra postage.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:15 AM   #30
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I buy 70 stamps now and put it on if I'm just not sure. I usually lay the Envelope and card on the table and run my hands across it and if it feels Flat enough I just use a regular stamp. My cards are never too heavy so I don't worry about the weight
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Old 04-16-2014, 12:03 PM   #31
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I used to put "Hand Cancel" on all my thicker cards when mailing them, but I was told recently by our local P.O. to write "DO NOT BEND" on the envelope instead of "Hand Cancel". This way, they will not go through the machine reader. Otherwise, they go through the reader. I also cut a piece of cereal box cardstock slightly smaller than the envelope to place both on top and on the bottom of the card before I put it in the envelope. I have never had any problems with buttons being broken or pearls or anything poking through the envelope when I do this. As far as the amount charged, I have been charged different amounts for the same thing. The P.O. does not seem to be consistent. We used to be able to use the machine in the lobby of the P.O. to buy the postage for the mail, and I was charged a little less than a dollar for dimensional cards, but now, they discontinued the ability to buy postage at that machine for things under one dollar, so I have to go to the counter to a live person. Otherwise, I weigh it at home and, when in doubt, add an extra stamp. Sorry to not be real specific about this aspect of mailing.
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Old 04-16-2014, 02:05 PM   #32
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You can send regular postage as long as the envelope fits through the 1/4" slot. However, in order to avoid having crunched up cards arrive at the other end, I put the front of the card to the back of the envelope and place a layer of thin foam packing material over the front of the card.

I use extra postage if I feel the weight will be more than 1 oz.

BTW, who goes to the post office any more??? I drop mine in the mail.


After having 2 cards/envelopes returned to me, and after bring these two back into the PO to have them weighed, found out that No Additional postage was due. Someone messed up at the PO the first time these cards were sent out.

So if my envelope is not bendable, or if has embellishments that make the envelope bumpy, I always walk my cards into the PO.

I am just to cheap to add extra postage to the envelope, I don't want to pay extra and waste stamps. I pay the exact amount due!
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Old 04-16-2014, 04:19 PM   #33
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I had to chuckle, Snail Lady... Received an oversized envelope from our dd last week with an 8x10 school picture of our granddaughter. Marked on both sides was PHOTO: DO NOT BEND. It was in our mailbox, folded in half with the remainder of our mail inside the folded envelope. Like I said, it was marked prominently on both sides, DO NOT BEND. I phoned our post office and was told by the supervisor that she believed it was a new substitute carrier. I wasn't nasty with her, but I did wonder if their substitute delivery people, new or not, CAN'T READ. Made me grrrr. Also, I have marked NON MACHINEABLE on envelopes and put additional postage on, and when I visited the person, there was the envelope with the machine cancelled mark on it. I love paying extra for hand cancelling and it's not. I guess I'm kind of glad that others have had this happen as well and it's not just our cranky post office. I have had a stack of Christmas cards a couple of years ago and they were put back in my mailbox with the rubber band around them, informing me that each needed additional postage because they were square. That's the first I'd heard of that requirement. I appreciate the post that shared what things pertaining to an envelope would cause it to need additional postage because I wasn't aware of those requirements. This is a really good thread for me! Thanks!
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Old 04-16-2014, 04:35 PM   #34
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I usually add postage if I think a card will not bend or has a ribbon knot or bow that makes a bump. Cards I have sent that have had postage due have not been delivered, but returned to me weeks after I mailed them. Obviously this makes a problem when it is for a holiday or special occasion. Now I just guess and put on stamp(s) I think will make the card deliverable.
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Old 04-16-2014, 05:42 PM   #35
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The post office informed me that the cards with large embellishments will sometimes mess up their stamping machine. As a rule of thumb, I write 'Hand Stamp' on the front & back of my envelope & add an extra 10 c stamp. I've never had a card returned & the receiver of my card has never complained about a card that has been smashed or damaged.
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:38 PM   #36
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If it's significantly lumpy, I will bring it into the post office. If it is minimally lumpy, I slip a 5 1/2 x 4 1/4 piece of cardstock into the envelope to protect the card and provide a smooth surface for the envelope to go through the machine. I occasionally check with my mom to see if she ever gets anything postage due. I think it has happened maybe once.
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:31 PM   #37
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For my Easter cards that had lumps with pearls on them I added a heavy piece of cardstock over the front of the card. I weighed them and they were under 1 stamp weight. They all have made it to their destination in perfect condition.
Blessings.
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Old 04-17-2014, 09:14 PM   #38
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I have mailed LOTS of cards with buttons over the years. Once I had a card that one post office said I needed additional postage on and when I made the exact same card again a different post office said it definitely did NOT need extra postage.

I never hesitate to use buttons. I have used pearls, rhinestones, and/or knotted ribbon on every card I have ever made and mailed.

I turn the card so the face of the card is to the back of the envelope and put an index card over it.

If it's extra, it's usually just the .21 cents. I never mind.

I figure after all I have spent on card making supplies it's about a $500.00 card in that envelope and .21 cents is a small price to pay!
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:21 AM   #39
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I've had different answers at the same post office, it all depends on the employee sometimes. I was told to put my cards in the envelope so that the bulk was in the metering area.
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Old 04-18-2014, 06:51 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allistamps123 View Post
I figure after all I have spent on card making supplies it's about a $500.00 card in that envelope and .21 cents is a small price to pay!
Ain't that the truth!
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