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Old 12-10-2008, 07:27 PM   #1
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Default Postage on hand stamped Holiday cards

Geeze I had brads on a card I mailed to Norway they charged me an extra 20 cents for this. Then I needed stamps for the rest of my cards and the lady asked me if they were all the same, I spoke up, no they are not, but of course they were I felt bad but I was not going to pay an extra 20 cents per card to mail!

Has anyone else ran across this at the post office?


BTW my card to Norway cost me .92 cents
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:29 PM   #2
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I have one for you too. My handmade cards weighed 1 oz., in a white 4 x 6 envelope. The postal clerk squeezed the envelope, announced, "this has a rigid center" they will cost $.62 each. JEEZ
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:35 PM   #3
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So, your was ALSO 20 cents more
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:50 PM   #4
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This is why I don't take my cards to the post office. I tend to take them to my office and leave them in our mailing room, or just leave them by my mailbox for the mailman to pick up from my house.
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:53 PM   #5
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I just posted about this the other day...I was mailing to Canada. I just had something popped up on dimensionals. I didn't mind paying an extra .20 but I think it would have fit in thier machine...anyway what really ticked me off was the lady was really rude and mean about it. Soooo for my Christmas cards I'm just dumping them in a mailbox and crossing my fingers, haha. Good luck!
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:57 PM   #6
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They consider it "nonmachinable" if it is too rigid to bend halfway. Here is how you can prove to them it is able to go through the machine:

Flat-size pieces must be flexible. Boxes—with or without hinges, gaps, or breaks that allow the piece to bend—are not flats. Tight envelopes or wrappers that are filled with one or more boxes are not flats. At the customer's option, a customer may perform the following test on their own mailpieces. When a postal employee observes a customer demonstrating that a flat-size piece is flexible according to these standards, the employee does not need to perform the test. Test flats as follows:

a. All flats (see Exhibit 1.3a):

1. Place the piece with the length parallel to the edge of a flat surface and extend the piece halfway off the surface.

2. Press down on the piece at a point 1 inch from the outer edge, in the center of the piece's length, exerting steady pressure.

3. The piece is not flexible if it cannot bend at least 1 inch vertically without being damaged.

4. The piece is flexible if it can bend at least 1 inch vertically without being damaged and it does not contain a rigid insert. No further testing is necessary.

5. Test the piece according to 1.3b. or 1.3c. below if it can bend at least 1 inch vertically without being damaged and it contains a rigid insert.

http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/301.htm#wp1070347

1.4 Uniform Thickness
Flat-size mailpieces must be uniformly thick so that any bumps, protrusions, or other irregularities do not cause more than 1/4-inch variance in thickness. When determining variance in thickness, exclude the outside edges of a mailpiece (1 inch from each edge) when the contents do not extend into those edges. Also, exclude the selvage of any polywrap covering (see 3.3) from this determination. Mailers must secure nonpaper contents to prevent shifting of more than 2 inches within the mailpiece if shifting would cause the piece to be nonuniform in thickness or would result in the contents bursting out of the mailpiece (see 601.2.3).

http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/301.htm#wp1070363


They probably could've still put the card through and it would've been fine, and I find a 20 cent surcharge a lot of money for that! Yikes

It's annoying that at my post office they told us if the flap of the envelope had any dry embossing on it that it was nonmachinable, but according to their website the raised part has to be at least a quarter-inch thick to be nonmachinable - and there is no way my cb folders emboss a quarter inch deep!

Next time I will just put a stamp on it and stick it in the box.
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Old 12-10-2008, 08:12 PM   #7
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Oh, I forgot to ad that she wanted me to hand my cards to her after I put all of my stamps on, lucky I was in my uniform and I work across the street from this PO, I told her I dindt have time right now to put all of the satamps on so I left with my stamps and my cards that still needed stamps. Yes, I am going to jsut put them in the mailbox outside of the post office.
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:28 PM   #8
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I am another one who always mails them from my own box. I would never go to a mail clerk because they all give you a different answer and it is probably never the right one. On top of that it will COST you more money. Dont know what is going on with our post office these days.
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Old 12-10-2008, 10:58 PM   #9
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I mailed a 5 1/2 inch square envelope, which the clerk said did fit the standard size, but because it had a ribbon with a knot that was raised, it cost me an extra 20 cents. I don't think I will ever make Christmas cards to mail that cost this much, but I still will for birthdays or anniversaries. The ones with the 'most' bling, ribbons, etc., will just have to be for hand delivery.
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Old 12-11-2008, 05:35 AM   #10
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I made some 6 x 6 cards and when I took them to the post office it ended up costing me $1.00 each. I had 36 of them. Oy! They didn't have a bunch of embellisments on them, it was just the size that made it cost so much. They didn't even weigh that much! Never again will I make 6 x 6 cards, unless I'm hand delivering them!
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Old 12-11-2008, 06:29 AM   #11
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Quote:

I mailed a 5 1/2 inch square envelope, which the clerk said did fit the standard size, but because it had a ribbon with a knot that was raised, it cost me an extra 20 cents.
Quote:

I made some 6 x 6 cards and when I took them to the post office it ended up costing me $1.00 each. I had 36 of them. Oy! They didn't have a bunch of embellisments on them, it was just the size that made it cost so much.
Square envelopes are all considered non-machineable (whether bumpy or not), so they should cost an extra 20. However, the 6x6 square cards are under the maximum letter dimension (unless the envelope was larger than that - 6-1/8" is the maximum height for the "letter" designation), so they still should have been only the extra 20. The funny thing is, if they charged you $1 postage, they had to have been considering them a "flat" or "large envelope", which has to be rectangular, not square. (I have a copy of my postage cheat sheet in front of me - we mail a lot of odd-size items from work). If it was over 6-1/8" tall, and square, it should have been charged postage for a package, which would have been at least $1.17.

And this is the issue. How are we supposed to be able to know what kind of postage to use, when the employees at the post office aren't sure themselves?
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Old 12-11-2008, 06:48 AM   #12
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Yes, I have the same experience at my p.o. and the lady is so rude every single time. What I do now, is fold the card to where it's inside out, ya know...that way all the bumps are covered.
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Old 12-11-2008, 07:18 AM   #13
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I guess I'm the only one who thinks it's a bargain to ship a Christmas card from here in VA to my son in AK for $.62. My grandmother was a post master so I guess I just have a lot of sympathy for the PO.

I've actually taken in a few cards that had layers and brads and whatnot and they never charged me the $.20 extra. I will be taking all my Christmas cards in tomorrow as most of them have bows. I would rather pay the $.20 and have them hand cancelled and arrive safely than to risk them getting torn up in the sorting machinery. I spent far more than $.20 and a lot of my time making them, KWIM?
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Old 12-11-2008, 09:17 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by babydal57View Post
I guess I'm the only one who thinks it's a bargain to ship a Christmas card from here in VA to my son in AK for $.62. My grandmother was a post master so I guess I just have a lot of sympathy for the PO.

I've actually taken in a few cards that had layers and brads and whatnot and they never charged me the $.20 extra. I will be taking all my Christmas cards in tomorrow as most of them have bows. I would rather pay the $.20 and have them hand cancelled and arrive safely than to risk them getting torn up in the sorting machinery. I spent far more than $.20 and a lot of my time making them, KWIM?
I completely agree that postage is a bargain, even with the additional 20. And I really wouldn't want to work at the post office, especially at this time of year. It just would have been nice if, when they made the latest big changes to the rates, the postal employees had gotten better training or better instructions on what rates and surcharges are applied when. The rates to me aren't frustrating at all - it's knowing that one post office will charge $1.17 for an envelope when another PO will charge 62 for that same envelope that chaps my hide. Especially when I need to worry that even though I believe I have adequate postage on the card, the recipient might get it with postage due.
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Old 12-11-2008, 10:00 AM   #15
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in defense of the post office (my husband is a window clerk, so he deals with these issues daily, and it makes for lively dinner conversation....) they get so many different shapes and sizes of pieces of mail daily that I'm not at all surprised that they could all have a different interpretation of what it should be categorized, therefore what should be charged.....

and fwiw, at least where he works, the lumpy bumpy cards with extra postage really do go into a separate container, to be hand sorted, so as to not destroy them. someone has to personally do that, so it's certainly worth an extra .20 to me.....

the rudeness of the postal employees is a totally different matter, and i think a lot of that has to do with the management and environment they work in. hubby's p.o. is a pretty happy group of folk, so they almost always score high on their secret shopper evaluations. you're probably much too nice to do this, but i think if i encountered a nasty window clerk, i'd probably look at him/her and imply that they were probably not going to get a very high evaluation on their shopping report......and then give them a menacing look, but, i'm always a lot tougher when i'm sitting here at my desk, lol.....
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Old 12-11-2008, 10:10 AM   #16
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I just came from my post office. Some of my Christmas cards, though standard sizes, did require the 20 cents extra postage because some have pearls and others had dimensionals. I agree with babydal57 and cbet that I would rather pay the extra postage and have them hand-cancelled, but to also guarantee that the recipient doesn't end up paying the postage due. Because even though the accepting post office may not deem it needs extra postage, the delivering post office may. As it was stated, there doesn't seem to be a great deal of consistency - alot left up to the postal clerk and their mode of the day. JMHO.
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Old 12-11-2008, 10:11 AM   #17
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I've been charged package rate ($1.87!!!) before for a card that had one small embellie on it. I mailed another card the next day with tons of embellies, and the clerk (a different one than the previous day) said I only needed a regular stamp on it. I no longer take my cards to the counter and instead just put a stamp on them and drop them in the box. I've never had one returned for insuficient postage.
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Old 12-11-2008, 10:16 AM   #18
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Exactly. The rudeness is unacceptable. I am one to tell it like it is. If I get poor customer service, I tell management. But on the other hand, when I get GOOD customer service, I also tell management. I've been know to ask for the manager or post master and compliment the employee to the supervisor IN FRONT of the employee.

I once wrote a letter to the police chief complimenting one of his officers that had assisted be above and beyond the call of duty. I got the nicest letter back from the chief telling me that my letter went in the officer's permanent file and that things like that make a huge difference when the officer is up for promotion.

So I guess I'm saying give feedback, both positive and negative, to management who can do something about fixing your issue. I don't think it's wrong to send a letter to the post master about the different interpretations of the regulations. Maybe it will lead to more or better training for the employees. I always try to smile at everyone. I seem to get better service that way.
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Old 12-11-2008, 10:23 AM   #19
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I had a similar experience about 3 Easter's ago. I made all my Easter cards, then put some beaded cross bookmarks I'd made and tucked them inside the Easter cards. I weighed the cards before I mailed them to make sure I had the right postage. Then, on the Saturday AFTER Easter, I got HALF of them returned to me for an extra handling charge. I mailed out 38 cards -- they "took" half of them and delivered them; but returned the other half to me via mail. Fortunately, most of the people whose card was returned to me were from Church, so I hand-delivered them to them -- but a week after Easter. Although everyone enjoyed the card and the beaded cross bookmark I'd inserted, I was very disappointed half of the people didn't get them on time.
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Old 12-11-2008, 11:45 AM   #20
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Quote:

Originally Posted by babydal57View Post
I always try to smile at everyone. I seem to get better service that way.
I'm a little off-topic here, but I have a 2nd job at a call center for a mail order company. I've been known to give free shipping upgrades just because a caller is polite. We have to leave a note on the account as to a reason - here's one I actually used "Free 2-3 day air shipping because this was the first customer who didn't yell at me tonight". I never got in trouble for it; I'm assuming the higher-ups understood
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Old 12-11-2008, 02:33 PM   #21
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Everyone working in my post office is awesome! I took my cards in yesterday and dropped the flat ones in the box and waited in a VERY long line to ask the clerk if I needed extra postage for the bulky ones and she looked at me like I was crazy and told me there was no way my cards were "too bulky".

The only thing they object to is bows and I don't put those on mailed cards. I've had a few phone calls already thanking me for the cards so I guess they made it just fine

It would be a real drag to have nasty postal workers to deal with.
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Old 12-11-2008, 04:29 PM   #22
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I have to say that the postal workers in my Post Office have been nothing but polite and helpful. Now, if I go to the Post Office near my previous workplace, that's a different story. There really is no consistency in this organization regarding service or policy.
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:26 AM   #23
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Yeppers my CC had a knot from my ribbon and it cost me 62 cents a card. Won't be doing that again! I mean it's a pain in the backside but it has to be able to go through their machines or it's manual labor. Can you imagine how many pieces of mail there must be this time of year? It's a bummer but like everything else there are rules.
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:35 AM   #24
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The cost of stamps to Europe for standard mail is 94c. I just bought all 50 stamps and mailed my cards yesterday too. I didn't hand them in either! So she didn't charge you more, just the standard rate.
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:19 AM   #25
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Cathy'sFancyView Post
I mailed a 5 1/2 inch square envelope, which the clerk said did fit the standard size, but because it had a ribbon with a knot that was raised, it cost me an extra 20 cents. I don't think I will ever make Christmas cards to mail that cost this much, but I still will for birthdays or anniversaries. The ones with the 'most' bling, ribbons, etc., will just have to be for hand delivery.
Yeah, naturally I am still working on my cards, but I decided to go with a design that would not have too many bumps or not too much bulk. It's OK for special occasions, like you say, but not for mass amounts of holiday cards.
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Old 12-12-2008, 01:26 PM   #26
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I paid 62 cents on all my cards today. I rather pay that, then have them ripped through their machine. My friends are special to me so I dont mind paying that. I just cant seem to make a simple card or flat one...I tried.
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Old 12-12-2008, 04:30 PM   #27
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Yes, I always use 62 cent stamps on my dimensional cards. They cannot go through the automated machine. For one, your card may get messed up, and two, I'm assuming their machine could get messed up by so many lumps.

I guess each person has to decide how rigid is too rigid, but if you go to the postal calculator on the USPS website, it actually asks if there's a rigid object.
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Old 12-12-2008, 04:31 PM   #28
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I've been charged package rate ($1.87!!!) before for a card that had one small embellie on it.
That is really odd. Was it in a regular little white envelope or a padded one?
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Old 12-12-2008, 04:32 PM   #29
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Because even though the accepting post office may not deem it needs extra postage, the delivering post office may.
This is true. I've had to pay the additional postage before on the receiving end.
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Old 12-12-2008, 04:34 PM   #30
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I NEVER taken them to the post office. My Christmas cards had 9 layers.......3 on the card itself, 3 on the Santa, 1 on the believe, 2 on the ribbon and doily piece, plus 4 rhinestones. The santa and believe were both popped. And I sent them for the regular price.....$ .42
Not sure what I was thinking when I made these but they did have lots of stuff. I had one weighed and went from there. JMO
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Old 12-12-2008, 04:40 PM   #31
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i'm scared to go mail my christmas cards. i hosted a few swaps and now the post office ladies hate me. what a bunch of grumps.
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:47 PM   #32
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I put 21 IDENTICAL Halloween cards in the mailbox on the street on the same day. They all had a single 42 cent stamp on them. ONE of the 21 was returned for extra postage!!!!!! SO the PO is pretty inconsistent.
I just mailed 20 Christmas cards - about 8 of them had bows on them - we'll see if they come back for extra postage - I don't think they were thick enough (but then neither were my Halloween cards. . .)
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:42 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by babydal57View Post
I guess I'm the only one who thinks it's a bargain to ship a Christmas card from here in VA to my son in AK for $.62. My grandmother was a post master so I guess I just have a lot of sympathy for the PO.

I've actually taken in a few cards that had layers and brads and whatnot and they never charged me the $.20 extra. I will be taking all my Christmas cards in tomorrow as most of them have bows. I would rather pay the $.20 and have them hand cancelled and arrive safely than to risk them getting torn up in the sorting machinery. I spent far more than $.20 and a lot of my time making them, KWIM?
How do you insure that they get hand cancelled instead of going through a machine? I guess I need a PO lesson! LOL!
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:59 PM   #34
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Quote:

Originally Posted by JenniferCRView Post
How do you insure that they get hand cancelled instead of going through a machine? I guess I need a PO lesson! LOL!

I usually just write "Please Hand Cancel" on both sides of the envelope then I highlight it in yellow then just stick them in the mailbox. Not sure if they pay attention or not but that's how I do it.
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:13 PM   #35
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Just because you drop it in the mailbox & it doesn't come back to you doesn't mean that the person you mail the card to doesn't get the card with postage due on it. I'd hate to have a family member or friend have to make a trip to the post office just to pay .20 cents to get my Christmas card. I remember a few years ago I got a note in my mailbox saying I had 1 envelope with postage due at the post office. I had to make a special trip to get the envelope & pay I think under 50 cents to get a small bubble envelope that someone sent me without enough postage on it.
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:31 PM   #36
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I paid 20 cents extra for each of my cards as well. They were a little puffy as I had put a bit of light plastic packing cut to size in front of them (not bubble wrap) to protect the bow I had cut out and popped up. That made them $1.14 each. However, I thought that a good deal as Canada Post would have been $1.60 just for an ordinary flat card. Plus, I find the US postal people very friendly.
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:39 PM   #37
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How do you insure that they get hand cancelled instead of going through a machine? I guess I need a PO lesson! LOL!
It is my understanding that putting 62 cents on the envelope automatically gets it hand-cancelled.

Correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 12-13-2008, 04:25 AM   #38
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Personally, I rarely mail any card with bumps, etc. Most of my cards are pretty simple. Plus, knowing the PO has rules for this type of thing, I just prefer to go simple. I also make at least 120 Christmas cards so, simple is necessary. On the rare ocassion I do mail an embellished card, I put something inside or use a padded envelope and just accept the difference in postage. It is what it is.
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:04 PM   #39
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I am worried now that some of the cards I sent (when I sent 21 identical cards and only one of them was returned for additional postage) had to be paid for by the recipients. Ouch! How awful. I will have to be more careful in the future.
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:56 PM   #40
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I understand the upset some of you are feeling. Been there and done that. But, I only make cards with all the embelishments for the truly card worthy people in our lives....parents, sibiliings, best friends. Not for the business associates. So, the way I look at it is this....for most of the cards I send out it is worth the extra cents for the card arriving in one piece.

Also, I put a piece of scrap cardstock over the top of the bow or brad to cushion and I put my card in the envelope so that the back is facing the front of the card.

Just my 2 cents worth.....
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