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Old 12-01-2007, 04:05 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Beware of Mailing Your Christmas Cards!!

I have a digital scale and I even went on the usps.com and calculated postage. I also measured my cards, etc. I went to mail them yesterday with the 41 cent stamps on them but had one that I was going to mail priority. Well the postal service lady asked if I had mailed out the cards with only a 41 cent stamp and I said yes. She took out a piece of cardboard with a slot and my letter was getting stuck so she said I had to add 17 cents more to each card, which I already had put all my cards in the outgoing box. She had to take them all out and I had to buy the stamps and put them on all my 28 cards. The embellishments is what did it. I had some ribbons, eyelets, etc. on each one. I have never had a card sent back in the past and haven't put extra postage on my cards before but the postal lady said as of May this yr. things have gotten stricter. This is very discouraging for us that make cards and mail them out. It's going to get too expensive. Carol
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Old 12-01-2007, 04:08 AM   #2
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Thanks for making us aware of this.

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Old 12-01-2007, 04:10 AM   #3
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If I think a card may be too bulky, what I do is try to slide it through the opening in the plastic part of my Fiskars trimmer (where the blade slides). If it passes through easily, then I just use a 41-cent stamp. If it gets stuck, then I add extra postage. For something I feel that is really bulky, I will take to the post office and pay the extra postage to have it non-machined. I took some square cards there one time because I thought I would have to pay extra postage, and the postman told me that all they needed were 41-cent stamps. I was surprised, but I mailed them like that, and they all arrived. Sometimes I think it just depends on what post office you go to as to what answer they give you.
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Old 12-01-2007, 04:15 AM   #4
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You would think that it being a government office that they would all follow the same guidelines...
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Old 12-01-2007, 04:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol Shafer View Post
I have a digital scale and I even went on the usps.com and calculated postage. I also measured my cards, etc. I went to mail them yesterday with the 41 cent stamps on them but had one that I was going to mail priority. Well the postal service lady asked if I had mailed out the cards with only a 41 cent stamp and I said yes. She took out a piece of cardboard with a slot and my letter was getting stuck so she said I had to add 17 cents more to each card, which I already had put all my cards in the outgoing box. She had to take them all out and I had to buy the stamps and put them on all my 28 cards. The embellishments is what did it. I had some ribbons, eyelets, etc. on each one. I have never had a card sent back in the past and haven't put extra postage on my cards before but the postal lady said as of May this yr. things have gotten stricter. This is very discouraging for us that make cards and mail them out. It's going to get too expensive. Carol
Here's an easily made 'slot thingy' that you can use to check the thickness of your cards. The entry also includes addys for USPS info.

http://paperfriendly.blogspot.com/20...d-to-know.html
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Old 12-01-2007, 05:41 AM   #6
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You can also get this template here:
http://www.greensneakers.com/R77510

It's the same one the PO uses so you'll know if you need extra postage before you go.
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Old 12-01-2007, 06:16 AM   #7
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This happens to me every year, I am surprised it hadnt happened to you before!! I always take mine to be checked ahead of time. This year I took extra precautions to make sure they were nice and flat. I send out 80+ so it gets expensive when you have to pay .58 a piece!!
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Old 12-01-2007, 06:22 AM   #8
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On the positive side, it's better to have been told at the post office than have your cards returned or delivered with postage due from your recipients.

I always put the extra postage on now if there's any doubt at all because my local PO checks for those things. The "bulky factor" is tough to get around anymore, but I feel a card is not "finished" without it's cute little embellishments so I just slap on the extra postage. I need to improve my "flatter one-layer" cardmaking skills!
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Old 12-01-2007, 06:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carla36301 View Post
If I think a card may be too bulky, what I do is try to slide it through the opening in the plastic part of my Fiskars trimmer (where the blade slides). If it passes through easily, then I just use a 41-cent stamp. If it gets stuck, then I add extra postage.
Clever! Thanks for sharing the tip.
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Old 12-01-2007, 06:31 AM   #10
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I will check before I mail mine out now! Thanks for the tip. Most of mine should be okay and I know the square size needs the extra postage. But now I'll check all of them! Annoying, but it will be done!

Next year, I'm doing the simple one-layer JulieHRR inspired cards! I have plenty of ideas!
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Old 12-01-2007, 06:34 AM   #11
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My husband always takes them to the Post Office for me and lets me know how much extra it costs. Now when I make a card he'll say - "You know that ribbon on it is gonna make it cost more." My friends get quite a kick out of it.
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Old 12-01-2007, 11:57 AM   #12
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The post office provides those templates for free...just ask. They might have to tell you to go online or call to get one sent if they don't have any right there for you. I've been using their plastic templates for years (well, now they are sturdy cardboard) now. Not only do they have the slot, but also the various measurements printed right on the thing. Just lay your envelope on it and if it goes outside the lines you'll need extra postage. It also has the requirements on it for other reasons you'd need extra postage.

It's very handy! The Fiskars trimmer is great for measuring the thickness, but there's more involved these days, so the template is almost a "Must Have" if you do a lot of mailing.
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Old 12-01-2007, 01:03 PM   #13
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Default Postage Template?

If anyone can find the template on the usps.com please let me know. I have looked and looked but can't find it there anywhere. Thanks, Carol
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Old 12-01-2007, 01:09 PM   #14
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You are lucky if that is all your postage is even with the extra 17 cents, a lot of ours has gone up a lot especially for handmade cards with embellies on, we pay roughly about 48p!!!!
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Old 12-01-2007, 01:11 PM   #15
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Someone on SCS also mentioned that you can use the paper guide on your Fiskars (or SU!) cutter. The opening is the same size; I think 1/4".
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Old 12-01-2007, 05:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol Shafer View Post
If anyone can find the template on the usps.com please let me know. I have looked and looked but can't find it there anywhere. Thanks, Carol
Carol,

I spent waaaay too much time looking for the template (my local PO does not have them) and never did find it, so I made mine from plastic needlework canvas. I did find the size chart on another site. I have a link to that site, links to a couple of informative USPS pages and a picture of the DIY template on my blog. The link to that entry is in Post #5 above.
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Old 12-01-2007, 05:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carla36301 View Post
If I think a card may be too bulky, what I do is try to slide it through the opening in the plastic part of my Fiskars trimmer (where the blade slides). If it passes through easily, then I just use a 41-cent stamp. If it gets stuck, then I add extra postage. For something I feel that is really bulky, I will take to the post office and pay the extra postage to have it non-machined. I took some square cards there one time because I thought I would have to pay extra postage, and the postman told me that all they needed were 41-cent stamps. I was surprised, but I mailed them like that, and they all arrived. Sometimes I think it just depends on what post office you go to as to what answer they give you.
great advice
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Old 12-01-2007, 05:06 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by MSBetsyZ View Post
The post office provides those templates for free...just ask. They might have to tell you to go online or call to get one sent if they don't have any right there for you. I've been using their plastic templates for years (well, now they are sturdy cardboard) now. Not only do they have the slot, but also the various measurements printed right on the thing. Just lay your envelope on it and if it goes outside the lines you'll need extra postage. It also has the requirements on it for other reasons you'd need extra postage.

It's very handy! The Fiskars trimmer is great for measuring the thickness, but there's more involved these days, so the template is almost a "Must Have" if you do a lot of mailing.
hmmm going to have to look to find that
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Old 12-01-2007, 05:30 PM   #19
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found this on the usps website (on a pdf file they had)
First-Class Mail Reminders n There are separate rate categories for postcards,
letters, flats (large envelopes) and parcels (packages).See page 5 of the July/August 2007 MailPro at usps.com/mailpro, or page 20 of the RATEFOLD (Notice123). Ask your Post Office for Notice 3-S, First-ClassMail Shape-Based Pricing Template.n The maximum letter size is 11-
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Old 12-01-2007, 06:31 PM   #20
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Don't we all love the PO anyway,

This has been a problem for sometime, strict yeah, but rude about it too, at least at mine anyway. ~MJ
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Old 12-01-2007, 06:36 PM   #21
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for those wanting to test your cards for the slot trick... If you own the fiskars trimer SU sells slip your cards thru the track on it... it is the 1/4" you need to worry about...
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Old 12-01-2007, 06:40 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carla36301 View Post
If I think a card may be too bulky, what I do is try to slide it through the opening in the plastic part of my Fiskars trimmer (where the blade slides). If it passes through easily, then I just use a 41-cent stamp. If it gets stuck, then I add extra postage. For something I feel that is really bulky, I will take to the post office and pay the extra postage to have it non-machined. I took some square cards there one time because I thought I would have to pay extra postage, and the postman told me that all they needed were 41-cent stamps. I was surprised, but I mailed them like that, and they all arrived. Sometimes I think it just depends on what post office you go to as to what answer they give you.
The same thing happened to me. I waited in a long line with a square envelope only to be told it didn't need any extra postage. Go figure.
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Old 12-01-2007, 06:46 PM   #23
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I took mine to the PO bought 41 cent stamps, put them on there handed them to her, and she stamped each one right then, never said a word about extra postage. So will people have to pay any extra to get them or will they just deliver them? Just wondering!
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:14 PM   #24
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I have never had one returned. I don't add extra postage. I've never had anyone tell me they had to pay extra when they received my cards. I think it just depends on your post office!
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:36 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sillybird View Post
You are lucky if that is all your postage is even with the extra 17 cents, a lot of ours has gone up a lot especially for handmade cards with embellies on, we pay roughly about 48p!!!!
I agree - Imagine sending handmade love from my front door to anyone else's within 48 hours (normally) for only 41-cents!
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:38 PM   #26
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If anyone can find the template on the usps.com please let me know. I have looked and looked but can't find it there anywhere. Thanks, Carol
Here is a link to postage rates. It is not a template, but it does give you the price per ounce.

Just remember that the minimum a letter can be is 5" x 3 1/2" and the largest a letter can be is 11 1/2" x 6 1/8". The maximum thickness is 1/4". HTH.

http://pe.usps.com/cpim/ftp/notices/not123/not123.pdf
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Old 12-02-2007, 02:03 AM   #27
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My post office had no idea where I could get that template. I have so many different cards that I'm just going to devote some time to standing in line and having them all hand stamped.

Oh, first I have to make them...
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Old 12-02-2007, 02:58 AM   #28
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Quote:
I have never had one returned. I don't add extra postage. I've never had anyone tell me they had to pay extra when they received my cards. I think it just depends on your post office!
Honestly, I don't think they would return it to you...most likely they are going to "collect" on the other end. This has happended to me TWICE in the last couple of months (mail coming to me, not the other way around). My mail person won't even deliver it before I pay (they used to do that ).

The other day when I went to the PO (I normally do ALL mine from home...have a scale and a postage printer, but was shipping to Canada) anyhoo, the lady whips out that card thingy and I said, "Wow, I need one of those". She said she didn't have any extras but that she would make me a photo copy. Of course it doesn't have the "slit" thingy, but now I will use the fiskars idea. So if all else fails just ask them to make you a photo copy of it!
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Old 12-02-2007, 05:49 AM   #29
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Also you cannot put any envelope weighing more that 13 oz in a blue mail box. It is illegal. THose have to have extra postage a s well and taken to the post office or you can put 2 stamps on them and mail them from home. I found tha tout when I sent a nice card and stuck a few x-mas tags in there and it was sent back to my house with a note from the post office. Mine weighted in at 15 oz. So now I take the ones I think are heavier and weigh them on our once scale at work.
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Old 12-02-2007, 06:38 AM   #30
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The one and only time I went inside the post office to have my cards weighed etc. (even though I had checked them at home, I wanted to be sure) they were well under but still told they would need extra postage! Evidently, the smallest bump from a brad, ribbon knot or pop dot causes the envelop to get stuck in the machine. We are talking one small ribbon knot or pop dot! Sounds like the "machine" is pretty sensitive, too sensitive IMO. Prior to this I never gave it a second thought and NEVER had anything returned, postage due or anything. My husband works for the postal service says baloney! They are just getting more revenue. Maybe if they was a lot of embellishments but not for one little knot. I mail lots of cards, 24 cards each for Fall, Easter, Valentines, ST. Patrick's and over 60 for Christmas. They are all received on time and no postage due. I only check in the office if a single card has extra bumps.
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Old 12-02-2007, 06:46 AM   #31
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Since the evolution of email and paying bills online the Post Office has suffered through the years financially and now we are going to have to pay for technology. Eventually who is going to want to use them? I already use UPS or Fedex for packages. If I didn't have to use the post office and stand in those long lines I absolutely wouldn't. I find ways not to and I bet I am not the only one. Pony express is quicker than they are now so they are going backwards as far as their technology My local PO is a nightmare and I hate that place can you tell?
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Old 12-02-2007, 07:30 AM   #32
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I also have never had a card returned. I don't generally add extra postage unless it is square or unusally bulky. I've never had anyone share with me that they had to pay extra when they received my cards. It definitely depends on your post office! The only thing they call have in common it rudeness - guidelines vary!
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Old 12-02-2007, 07:47 AM   #33
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I just slap two stamps on it and toss it in the box.. I don't have time to stand in line at this time of year in a small town post office where the line goes out the door most days. I do all my ebay postage online and don't have to wait in line when I get to the PO, they let me drop them off, so any first class letters and cards, I just put extra postage on and get going.. time is important to me because I am always doing one thing or another. I know that it is a waste of postage, but my time is worth more than that.

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Old 12-15-2007, 03:56 PM   #34
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I just got slapped with the extra $.17. First time I heard about it. Thankfully it's only two. BUT, I've been going there a few times the last couple of weeks and this is the first time somebody has ever said anything. All the times I go to the post office I've been buying stamps and slapping them on right there and giving them to the postal worker. I've gotten a few emails too on how my friends love their cards and nobody mentioned paying extra for them.

Now, all the times they've been male postal folks. The last one was a female. Maybe the females are more thorough? But then I was a bit upset because I don't think any of them were over 1/4". Oh well.

I know now and I'm going to make me a template.
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Old 12-19-2007, 07:03 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friendly63 View Post
Since the evolution of email and paying bills online the Post Office has suffered through the years financially and now we are going to have to pay for technology. Eventually who is going to want to use them? I already use UPS or Fedex for packages. If I didn't have to use the post office and stand in those long lines I absolutely wouldn't. I find ways not to and I bet I am not the only one. Pony express is quicker than they are now so they are going backwards as far as their technology My local PO is a nightmare and I hate that place can you tell?
OMG...you are not alone. I dispise the postal service. I can't speak for all branches, but the one I frequent is full of incompentent, lazy people. I wish the government would deregulate the postal service...a little competition is good for customer service.

Regarding postage. I always have a stash of 17 cent stamps on hand, in addition to my 41 cent ones...if a card is lumpy at all, I through an extra stamp on there. (I now make my DH go to the post office for me because after standing in long lines...slow, rude service, I thought I WAS GOING TO GO POSTAL...lol)
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:52 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan B View Post
My post office had no idea where I could get that template. I have so many different cards that I'm just going to devote some time to standing in line and having them all hand stamped.

Oh, first I have to make them...

How funny. My baby dog thinks I'm crazy laughing when we are the only ones here. (hi-jack over)
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:04 AM   #37
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Its not just if it fits through the slot....


If there is any sort of unevenness to the card at all-basically anything thats not just plain paper you have to pay the extra .17 for hte non machinable rate.

So if you have a pop dot, a piece of ribbon thats knotted, an eyelet, almost anything at all-technically it requires additional postage.

For very small bumps (like a brad or eyelet) you can sometimes add an additional piece of cardstock in the envelope to cover the lump. For ribbon knots ans larger this probably won't work.
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:28 AM   #38
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I did a few cards with the origami tree made of dp on the front. Took them to my po lady to ask about them. They fit through the slot, and were within the weight category, but she said they were "iffy". She meant that, even though they could be sent for regular postage, they might tear in the machine due to "lumpiness". When I flipped the card inside out, she smiled and said "That works!". The initial presentation out of the envelope doesn't have the "wow factor", but the card gets there!
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:38 AM   #39
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I made 120 Chistmas cards last year and had about 90 of them returned to me for extra postage because they were too thick (the other 30 got through somehow..tighter tied knots?). They were placed on my doorstep in one of their trays...about 10 days after I sent them out. So, needless to say, my cards were late that year!! But, now I know and try to use thinner ribbon (organdy instead of grosgrain). Need to look for more flat cards!!
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:41 AM   #40
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I got slapped with the 17c too. Had no idea. Wouldn't have either except my DH said that I should take them to the PO since there were so many - to be nice to our carrier!! Sure enough - every one with pop dots had to have the extra postage. *sigh* Ah well. Still cheaper than buying cards I guess.
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