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Old 12-08-2008, 08:27 PM   #1
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Post office problems

Has anyone else had problems with the post office mailing cards you make that have either dimensionals or brads or other embeleshments that make them a little thick or lopsided? I think I might have had one card returned to me for extra postage out of probably 500. BUT when i went to mail a card the other day that I had an image popped up on pop dots (I had to take it the post office because I needed to mail it to Canada) the lady gave me the hardest time about it!!!! She practically yelled at me while scratching the envelope and asking me what was in it. I explained that i had made a card and that's all it was. She gave me a really hard time and I thought she was going to rip the envelope!!!! I didn't mind paying an extra 20 cents to have it hand cancelled anyway but just thought it was strange this happened. It's not like my card was THAT thick! And again, never had any trouble before. I'm crossing my fingers for my Christmas cards and I'm NOT taking them to the post office, just gonna drop em in a mailbox and cross my fingers. Anyone else have problems like this ever? Thanks!
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:34 PM   #2
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i just think the rules should be made clear. taught to the workers
and be used fairly to all!
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:35 PM   #3
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They have gotten very strict about this. As long as it passes through their cardboard template, they're supposed to take it, but I've had them charge me for just having a brad sticking out. I solved the problem by adding a small piece of cardboard over the brad. The envelope was thin enough to go through the cardboard slot, but nothing "stuck out" for them to catch!
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:37 PM   #4
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Default me, too!

i've been charged extra as well. digital cards are the only way i'll mail from now on, which is a shame.

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Old 12-08-2008, 08:37 PM   #5
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The postal guidelines are pretty clear. This is directly from www.usps.com, and I've highlighted in red the policies your local postal clerk was probably applying:

--------------------
Letters that meet one or more of the nonmachinable characteristics below are subject to the $0.20 nonmachinable surcharge. For items over 3.5 ounces, see large envelope or package prices.

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 (calculate this below)
---------------------------------------

Perhaps the clerk could have been a little more pleasant about it, but her concerns are certainly not out of line.

Before I put a bumpy card in the envelope, I lay an extra piece of cheap cardstock on top of the card front. This helps to smooth out any brads, ribbons, or images that are raised on pop-dots.
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:16 AM   #6
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Yes i have had trouble mailing, all my halloween cards went but got one back, it had two brads on it. But some of the others had much more plus brads. So you tell me? I have a real nice post master and i told him i was bring all my Christmas cards in to have each one checked. I asked him when was a good time of day to come in and he told me between 11:30 and 12:00 he goes to lunch. HA! Maybe they will start selling .20 cent stamps, that would help.
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:23 AM   #7
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I've sent my MIL a card with a button embellishment that sealed the envelop and it got to her just fine. No matter what issues they have with a homemade card, I still think it's awful that she was being so nasty about it. You should call their 800 number and file a complaint. I've done that before due to poor customer service and they took it very seriously.

I also would just drop them off in the mailbox. The worst that can happen is it'll be returned for extra postage. It's better than dealing with someone like that. Sorry you had to go through that.
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:27 AM   #8
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What I do with bulky cards is run a quarter sheet of cheap cardstock through my crimper, and then I place that on top of my bulky card, and it fits snugly in the envelope. I just mail them from home, and so far haven't had any problems. The problems seem to arise when you take things into the post office and start to ask questions, and you'll probably get a different answer if you talk to different people! LOL!
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:53 AM   #9
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I've never had trouble. I just put one stamp on them and pop them in my mailbox. Nothing's ever been returned and no one has complained to me that they had to pay extra postage.
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Old 12-09-2008, 06:19 AM   #10
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About a month ago I took a card in to be hand cancelled. The clerk obliged me but said it would go thru a machine anyway! Didn't even charge me. I didn't question either, just paid for my stamps & left shaking my head. The card did get to its destination fine. I did have a clerk question a "bumpy" card once. He just smiled and said another handmade card. I just put them in the mailbox now and haven't had any problems.
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Old 12-09-2008, 08:21 AM   #11
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It depends on the PO you go to. I lived in a city for about 5 years, sending out cards the whole time. Only one or two ever came back for extra postage. I moved to a different city in May and about half of the cards I've sent out have come back for extra postage. I'm not doing anything different to my cards. Go Figure!
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Old 12-09-2008, 10:28 AM   #12
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The problem is that the regulations really aren't that clear - or at least they aren't being explained to all postal workers the same way.

Some charge extra if they feel "bumps" from brads that make the card uneven. Some don't charge extra as long as the card is less than 1/4" thick overall, including any bumps.

And when they start charging the extra, some add the 20 surcharge, some say that it needs postage for a large envelope (83) and some say that it is considered a package, requiring $1.17 postage.

My interpretation is that as long as the card is small enough to be considered a regular letter (no more than 6-1/8" tall, no more than 11-1/2" wide and no more than 1/4" thick), the post office should be charging only the 20 non-machineable surcharge if necessary. Here's a link I found to a cheat sheet that summarizes non-machineable characteristics: USPS Cheat Sheet

The problem is, my interpretation doesn't mean a thing - it all depends on which postal employee you have processing that particular piece of mail.
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Old 12-09-2008, 10:29 AM   #13
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It also depends on the clerk that you get - you get someone who is in a fowl mood, and they can pretty much ruin your day. I go to the Post Office enough now, I've learned to avoid the ones who are more strict, and not nice. Although the PO website, does state the guidelines, my experience is the actual Postal Workers, have no idea what they are - I mail 10 - 15 envelope packages per week, and if I get the right person, I can save myself up to $10. I have of course had several arguments with various people, and said just as much, the one lady, most recently said well you would actually be getting the "wrong" person - to which I responded, I guess that would depend on your perspective now wouldn't it?

My wish, like someone posted earlier, is that everyone would simply all follow the same rules, if you have to pay extra, fine, but make sure everybody that works there knows that. Because my biggest issue, is when I get someone who doesnt' charge me all the extra fees, and the package or envy goes thru just fine, arriving at its destination, with no add'l charges, why exactly is it that they MUST charge the extra fees? Its all so inconsistent - huge frustration!
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Old 12-09-2008, 11:01 AM   #14
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Does anyone know exactly how cards are processed when they reach their destination P.O? I'm always afraid that if the card does make it through my PO without additional postage (and without damage from the machines) that it will be deemed "non-machinable" at the destination P.O. and will be delivered with postage due.
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Old 12-09-2008, 11:41 AM   #15
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Thanks for all your comments ladies! Glad I'm not the only one who has had some trouble. Like I said, I have no problem with paying extra postage I was just annoyed with the way that she treated/talked to me. And if other cards have gone through with WAY more junk on them than that, I just don't see what the big deal was. I'm so worried about my Christmas cards now, I've gotten kinda fancy with them! Oh well, I'm just going to dump them in a mailbox and cross my fingers And the post office wonders why people email..... hahahahah
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Old 12-09-2008, 12:00 PM   #16
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Oh my sure hope all my cards make it through.
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Old 12-09-2008, 12:44 PM   #17
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Well heres another one. I went to the post office to get a priority box to mail a stamp set to another scs and the post master said they only carry the flat rate ones now $9.00 and it would not even fit the stamp set so i brought it home and packaged it myself. They said all the internet people get the other boxes now! Do you believe that! Boy talk about a bad day!
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Old 12-09-2008, 12:49 PM   #18
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I only have trouble at one post office. It is a little one in an office supply store. I only go there if I happen to be in town anyway. Sometimes they can be not very nice. On one occasion, she kept trying to bend my card in half and said that it had to be flexible. I was about to have a cow. I kept envisioning the recipient opening this envelope only to find a wadded up, bent up mess of a card. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
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Old 12-09-2008, 12:57 PM   #19
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Well that probably explains why a card I sent to my mom 3 weeks ago, is STILL MIA.!!!! It had brads on it and ribbon!!! The machine problaby ate it. I don't think I put a return address on it either. So it can't come back for extra postage. grrrrrrrr.........

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Old 12-09-2008, 01:49 PM   #20
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Quote:

Originally Posted by MindersView Post
She practically yelled at me while scratching the envelope and asking me what was in it. I explained that i had made a card and that's all it was. She gave me a really hard time and I thought she was going to rip the envelope!!!! I didn't mind paying an extra 20 cents to have it hand cancelled anyway but just thought it was strange this happened.
This happened to me as well, after I went to the window and explained clearly that I KNEW it would have to be hand cancelled since it was a homemade card- the postal clerk pratically ripped the envelope clawing at the brad... I'm like, "are you for real?" I TOLD YOU it would have to be hand cancelled so why are you continuing to pick and scratch at the envelope after I TOLD YOU there was a brad on it? Seriously?

I go to a different post office now, and when I can, I bring a copy of the card inside to show them-- just because they LIKE to see the card-- not because they feel the need to claw and scratch at the envelope or don't believe me when I tell them "it's a handmade card". I like this po so much better.
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Old 12-09-2008, 02:02 PM   #21
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Quote:

Originally Posted by cbetView Post
The problem is that the regulations really aren't that clear - or at least they aren't being explained to all postal workers the same way.

Some charge extra if they feel "bumps" from brads that make the card uneven. Some don't charge extra as long as the card is less than 1/4" thick overall, including any bumps.

And when they start charging the extra, some add the 20 surcharge, some say that it needs postage for a large envelope (83) and some say that it is considered a package, requiring $1.17 postage.

My interpretation is that as long as the card is small enough to be considered a regular letter (no more than 6-1/8" tall, no more than 11-1/2" wide and no more than 1/4" thick), the post office should be charging only the 20 non-machineable surcharge if necessary. Here's a link I found to a cheat sheet that summarizes non-machineable characteristics: USPS Cheat Sheet

The problem is, my interpretation doesn't mean a thing - it all depends on which postal employee you have processing that particular piece of mail.
I agree 100% with this.

I have had to wait 10 minutes once while the postal worker questioned ever other worker about what to charge me, and then still called it a large envelope. I just stick the cards in the mail with an extra piece of card stock for protection and a regular stamp. I've only ever had one come back for more postage. I think it has to do with my being in a huge metropolitan area.
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Old 12-09-2008, 03:50 PM   #22
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I had them slide my Christmas cards thru the little slot tester thing (such a technical term!) because I was nervous with my Christmas letter in there too it would be too thick. Luckily only 1 stamp needed! I used dimensionals and tied knots in ribbon, I was tempting the post office gods and Yeah this time I won!
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Old 12-09-2008, 03:57 PM   #23
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I treat my gals at my post office (small suberb) REALLY WELL with treats, nice notes, etc. throughout the year.

They are ALWAYS willing to hand cancel, etc. I'm always willing to pay extra postage for 'thicker' envies/cards.

=============================

I have hit other post offices where they give me a hard time ("What's in here?????")----------ok, NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS (I always want to reply, "A dead body.")

I agree...........some are just looking for the easy way out/lazy. MANY/MOST are not.
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:16 PM   #24
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I have had a similar 20 questions, fold, poke, prod experience. It even had the extra cardstock to *smooth* it out. I don't mind paying extra, I do mind them making me feeling like a criminal for sending something that will make extra work for them.
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:17 PM   #25
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Quote:

Originally Posted by stampwithjoanneView Post
I treat my gals at my post office (small suberb) REALLY WELL with treats, nice notes, etc. throughout the year.

They are ALWAYS willing to hand cancel, etc. I'm always willing to pay extra postage for 'thicker' envies/cards.

=============================

I have hit other post offices where they give me a hard time ("What's in here?????")----------ok, NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS (I always want to reply, "A dead body.")

I agree...........some are just looking for the easy way out/lazy. MANY/MOST are not.

Your comment about the dead body made me smile. I'll have to remember that one.
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:23 PM   #26
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what i find amazing is all the junk you get in the mail for much less postage...and some are weird sizes, thick etc.

i mailed my cards in one of the large blue boxes on the street this year! but did go to the PO to mail several packages.....i jokingly asked if the rates were going down now that gas was so much less. he said NO, prices are going up soon !

i usually just put a stamp on and put it in my mailbox....i didnt do that with the cards since there was a bunch and didnt want the letter carrier to have to deal with it. he is such a sweetie.

we gave him a holiday check in one of my cards and he wrote a thank you the next day with a note from his wife asking if i could show her how I "created the card" !! i thought that was really nice.....i am glad they appreciated it. only i cant remember which card i gave him !! i can not bring myself to make identical cards....even when i try
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:42 PM   #27
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Buy Forever stamps befroe the postage goes up again!

It really does depend on the PO and the person working the line! I pay one price today and a different one tomorrow for the same card, mailed the same way!

The frustrations lays in the fact, they have no SET policy they all follow! Tht's our government! Love them!
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Old 12-19-2008, 10:55 AM   #28
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Do you have a PO that has an Automated Postal Center? I always use it, especially since it is open 24/7. The computer screen is always pleasant and it sticks to the rules!!
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Old 12-19-2008, 10:59 AM   #29
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One year I added letters inside the cards so they were probably too thick. They were all identical. One came back for extra postage and it was the card that only had to go a few miles. All the others went through fine. It's definately hit or miss with the PO.
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Old 12-19-2008, 11:06 AM   #30
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Quote:

Originally Posted by BabyNurseView Post
I only have trouble at one post office. It is a little one in an office supply store. I only go there if I happen to be in town anyway. Sometimes they can be not very nice. On one occasion, she kept trying to bend my card in half and said that it had to be flexible. I was about to have a cow. I kept envisioning the recipient opening this envelope only to find a wadded up, bent up mess of a card. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Oh, boy! Does that ring a bell!!! I took a largish card in a kraft envelope to the PO to mail, and the clerk bent it and THEN asked me "Is it ok to bend it?" I was gasping!!! I registered a complaint with the manager on duty. ASK the question BEFORE you mangle the card!!! How hard is it to ask first? Once you've bent the envelope, for some cards, it's ruined. (I also wonder why we call it COMMON sense, if it's not common for people to use it) I understand that they have rules and restrictions, I just think it's courteous to ask me before you wipe out a days work on a handcrafted card, if it's OK to bend the envelope. Then I can say yes or no. Simple, right? Ask, answer.
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Old 12-19-2008, 11:09 AM   #31
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Quote:

Originally Posted by LizSwickleyView Post
Do you have a PO that has an Automated Postal Center? I always use it, especially since it is open 24/7. The computer screen is always pleasant and it sticks to the rules!!
My daughter in law is a postal carrier so I get good service...but...I gave her 35 Christmas step cards to mail all made the same, anWd 7 took extra postage.
Go figure. Last year I made square cards not knowing they took extra postage so she brought them home and I put them in different envelopes. Next year flat easy cards
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Old 12-19-2008, 12:30 PM   #32
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Well, I'll have to agree with everyone else, it really does depend on which post office and clerk you get, and that is the sad part. And they wonder why people would prefer to send their packages UPS and letters via the Internet. I mailed a package to myself at my son's address (from Washington to Virginia) on the 5th of December. They said it would take 5-8 days. Great, I'd be there before the box arrived (it was Christmas gifts for my grandchildren) however, it didn't arrive until yesterday, 13 days later. That is one of the reasons I ship UPS instead of USPS, I've had to many packages arrive very late.
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Old 12-19-2008, 01:05 PM   #33
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Being at an APO, I've had to fill out a customs form just to mail some of my cards...
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Old 12-21-2008, 02:42 PM   #34
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Any "questionable" cards, I just ask my XH to take for me (he works for USPS) and I never have any problem.
Last week however, I took a package in to be mailed (ebay auction) and it had to go to Canada. The postmaster ripped me a new one for using a priority envelope that are no longer in use and demanded to know where I even GOT it. I pointed to my left to the display of free mailing envelopes where I had picked it up the day b/4. Boy did she turn red.
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Old 12-21-2008, 02:58 PM   #35
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Has anyone else seen the Discovery Program on Mail??? It showed the entire process for letters and packages and included film from inside the sorting facilities.

Anyway...after watching that it is very clear that 'hand cancelling' means absolutely nothing. You can ask for it, write it on the card, do whatever you want, but if the entire card is less than 1/4" thick, it will be automatically run through the machine whether or not you ask about it.

There are 2 exceptions:
1- If your card is dropped off and delivered within your own local post office and that post office is not attatched to a sorting facility. **This is the only SURE way that a card will not be machined.

2- If your card is perfectly square. The machine cannot decifer which way to run the envelope through the automatic address reader, so it is rejected by the machine and an actual person has to read the address and hand-cancel it. Often times it is still dropped into the machine with all the other mail, and only spit out after a quick run through the belt thing.

The only solution to make sure cards get there un-machined is to make sure it's over 1/4" thick (bubble mailers work great!).

Or machined but un-shredded you can do the cardboard deal over the face of the card.

The problem is not so much that they can charge extra postage for uneven bumps, but that the machine just shreds at any protrusions.

I am not saying all cards are gonna get messed up...just saying what you can do to guarantee that they arrive safely.
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Old 12-21-2008, 03:40 PM   #36
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I'm just hoping all my Christmas cards arrive safely. I put in an extra piece of stiff paper to cover the bumps caused by ribbons and jewels that I put on some of the cards. I'm just hoping there are not 50 or so people who are going to owe extra postage on my Christmas cards.
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:49 AM   #37
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all 50 of my Christmas cards made it to their destinations. They were all in clear envelopes. I used brads and bows. I only put ONE .42 stamp on them. I mailed them all from my mailbox at home. Amazing how some people have good luck this way and others have to pay more.
I hope all your cards make their destinations without extra postage.
Blessings.
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:56 AM   #38
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Quote:

Originally Posted by sprtchickView Post
all 50 of my Christmas cards made it to their destinations. They were all in clear envelopes. I used brads and bows. I only put ONE .42 stamp on them. I mailed them all from my mailbox at home. Amazing how some people have good luck this way and others have to pay more.
I hope all your cards make their destinations without extra postage.
Blessings.
I thought clear envies required extra postage, no??
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:14 PM   #39
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Quote:

Originally Posted by LizSwickleyView Post
Do you have a PO that has an Automated Postal Center? I always use it, especially since it is open 24/7. The computer screen is always pleasant and it sticks to the rules!!
Well, the machine follows the rules, but the person inside the mailroom may not agree!

I usually always take my swaps to the PO closest to my house on Saturday mornings & use the automated machine. My swaps most always cost $1.34 to mail, very rarely does it cost any more.

One time, I was getting close to the swap deadline & couldn't wait until Saturday morning to mail the envie. So, I stopped at different PO on my way home from work. I used their automated machine; it charged me $1.34. I got the envelope back the next day saying I didn't put enough postage on it!
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