s/h overcharging!
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 4 of 41, 2, 3, 4
Author

User avatar

Verbose Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 1709
Joined: Feb 04, 2004
Last Visit: Aug 23, 2016
Location: Chandler, AZ

Post Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 3:54 am 
 

It pays to be nice after all. . . I go to the same post office and am very friendly and polite.  I sell a lot, so they see me often.  I call everyone by name, we chit-chat about how the day is going, etc.

They do little favors for me, call me "hon", let me know of new services they will be offering, and so on.

I have an equally friendly relationship with my Postal delivery man - I send out most packages using auto-label printing with Paypal.  I leave him a little note in my mailbox letting him know I have a package pickup waiting in the door and he will grab them all and send them out (definitely no questioning media mail this way).

Anyway, the point is:  I have never been questioned - ever - about Media Mail shipping.  A few times I have even heard dice rolling around in my boxes and no one has raised an eyebrow in surprise.

The comics/old Dragon mags is an interesting question though - I have my own interpretation of the rules which is advertising doesn't count if it is outdated. . . of course, I would mail out Media items with current advertising as well. . .

The post office should be excited about eBay. . . if they manage their business right, this is the best opportunity they have ever had to actually start turning a profit.

Be nice to eBay and it will be nice to them. . . I say. . .  8)


"Gleemonex makes it feel like it's seventy-two degrees in your head... all... the... time! "

  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 7969
Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Last Visit: Dec 01, 2021
Location: DFW TX

Post Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 4:40 am 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:
Badmike wrote:I can say from experience that from hundreds and hundreds of mailings, I've never had the contents of a box opened although I have been asked on numerous occassions "What is the contents?" or "Are there books inside?" when requesting media mail over parcel post.


I've actually been experiencing a surge of media mail resentment with some postal employees lately, including a number of packages being opened and inspected. Also, has anyone else seen new media mail signage in their local post offices? I've seen a number of signs lately that say [paraphrasing]: "We reserve the right to inspect ANY media mail package." The signs I'm talking about have red lettering on a white background.

Also, does anyone else sell comic books? Now, THAT is always an interesting discussion to have with a bored P.O. employee. Are they or aren't they media mail? What about if they're from the '70s and all of the advertising is obviously totally outdated? I've gotten MULTIPLE answers to these questions; it depends on who I'm talking to ...

I actually don't mean to sound down on media mail. It's a wonderful (and cheap!) service, provided both buyer and seller are in agreement about using it. It just seems that some of my local USPS employees are beginning to suspect that a lot of eBay sellers are S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G the boundaries of what is an acceptable item. Has anyone else noticed any backlash ... ?


Hoo boy, let me get up on my soapbox, thanks X for giving me the forum!!!!!

(BTW, technically comics are not media mail, but the distinction is very slim, so I'd argue the point...)

There is a ton of resentment to media mail by both employees and management of the USPS, all of it the USPS fault and all a result of idiotic policies they implemented a few years ago.  As someone who has been selling online since 1994 and mailing out packages about that long, I've seen the stupid pricing and shipping policies come and go.  The rise in media mail is a direct result of the USPS losing money, having some moron decide he knew how to get the money back, the method failing miserably, and then backtracking to what they used to do anyway.

Several years ago, priority mail was standardized across the country.  This really made it the best method for mailing the books and D&D stuff I sold online, because I could quote a flat rate price (I believe in the ancient days of the 90's it was $3.50 an envelope or box), then stuff the said envelope or box full and as long as it was  under 2-3 lbs ( I forget the weight requirement) it went anywhere in the US for the same price.  Texas to New York; Texas to Seattle; Texas to Florida; Texas to Los Angeles..you get the picture.  $3.50 a pop. And the best part?  All priority shipping supplies are FREE from the USPS, and they even deliver them to your door!

During the late 90's the government began to crack down on the USPS, mainly because this overburdened, understaffed, manned by crack adicts and morons, supervised by mental midgets that I wouldn't have teaching my cat how to use kitty litter, no-good-idea "business" was (and had been) losing millions of dollars every year of the 90s.  It seems that something called "The Internet" was pulling more and more people away from this industry every year as it became easier and less expensive to pay bills, talk to inlaws, and communicate around the world rather than put up with long lines and surly counter help on a daily basis.

The order went out, the USPS had to start making money instead of burning it on great ideas such as sponsering the American Tour De France team for millions a year.  On the surface, it seemed like it might be a good idea: start charging more for priority packages mailed further distances.  Thus, it takes more time and trouble to get a priority package from Texas to Maine than from Texas to Oklahoma.  The USPS created a price structure to cover this.  Unfortunately, it required a set of charts that had to be consulted each time you mailed something priority, and you had to know the zip code, and weight, before hand.  The problem was, for someone like me selling on ebay, it is impossible to list a set price on items I sold because the buyer could have been from Oregon or Louisiana, and prices vaired several dollars depending on location, not to mention a buyer might pop for two or three other items and you couldn't predict shipping weight. Shipping prices are very important in online auctions, letting your buyers know upfront what they are paying to have the item shipped let's them decide who to buy from and what the final cost would be.

While envelopes were still able to be used as "Flat Rate" (eventually ALL priority envelopes became flat rate), all priority boxes would be different prices depending on weight and distance.  So the USPS rolled out their new pricing structure, rubbed their hands together, and greedily waited for the money to fly in.

It failed miserably. I, and many other Ebay sellers, immediately stopped using priority boxes.  My output went from 10+ boxes a week to literally zero.  Times that by, oh, maybe a million or more sellers? Rather than worry about having to calculate each and every Ebay purchase seperately, I went to an alternative method suggested by some helpful postal employees at my local PO, who noted "I mostly shipped books, just start sending them book rate" (later to become media mail a few years later).  When I looked it up, luckily most of the items I shipped fell under the definition of media mail.  So instead of shipping 10+ priority boxes a week, I was shipping 10+ media mail boxes a week and saving tons of money, not to mention cutting the USPS out of tons of money.  So the packages got there 14 days instead of 3-5, most buyers didn't care, they saved money also. Plus, customers quickly figured out that they could sometimes save as much as $10 bucks by buying their own box or finding a box or heck covering a priority box in brown paper and declaring the contents "media mail".  Particularly those of us making a living mailing this stuff.

I go to the Post office nearly every single day, and have for the last 5 or more years.  I very, very, very rarely see priority boxes shipping out unless it's something that has to get there soon, or the guy in line forgot his box and has to put his fruitcake in something, or the customer just doesn't realize how much it's going to cost.  Everyone now mails their books and such media mail and saves tons of money, even if they have to buy their own padded envelope or box (I get my stuff free or buy bulk so the cost is neglible)

This isn't just speculation.  I spend upwards of 5 grand a year mailing at the local PO and I've become friends with a lot of the employees over the years, and the "Charge by the distance" change to priority boxes helped them LOSE more money the last few years, with nearly everyone just shipping to media mail because it was cheaper and less hassle.   And the funny thing is, the huge increase in media mail meant they USPS had to buy more trucks to haul it in, since they were shipping lots of mail by plane and train before then, and media mail increased ten fold, and it can only go by truck.  Then, the directive that media mail is the last of the last in regards to shipping (that is, if you have a ton of priority mail going out and a ton of media mail going out, such as around the holidays, the priority mail always goes out first) led to piles and piles of the stuff stacking up in the back with nowhere to go all during the months of December (which accounts for much of the hatred towards media mail most postal employees have, they've all had the pleasure of being barely able to move as the boxes pile up every Christmas in the back).  

So, after years of thus, FINALLY, this year a brilliant postal employee management member somehow comes up with the great idea to start making FLAT RATE PRIORITY BOXES this year...JUST LIKE THEY USED TO FRIGGIN DO 10 YEARS AGO!!!!!!!  Everything you can cram into a box for $7.70 up to something like 25 lbs. WHAT A FUCKING CONCEPT GUYS!  Early reviews show that lots of people are using these boxes because, oh, I dont' know, you can predict the amount it's going to be to send without having to know the distance or weight?

Unfrickinbelievable.

Anyway, thanks for letting me rant, as a loyal USPS customer for many years (Even though their policies make no sense and their supervisors are the worst for any business I've ever dealt with), and friend of many of the overworked and underpayed counter help, I felt I had to get that off my chance and illuminate why the postal cops are starting to finally open media mail packages and enforce the restrictions, it took them years to realize how much money they were losing with their dumb priority policies.

And as a post script, I've been using the "new" flat rate boxes and advertising their rates in my auctions, I've gotten lots of buyers of the heavier or bulkier items that don't mind paying a few bucks extra to have their items shipped in these. (I charge $8.50 plus free delivery confirmation to use a box when a priority envelope won't work).  Of course, I have no doubt that the postal genius that decided they needed to go back to flat rate boxes will be fired soon....smarts like that cannot be tolerated in the USPS for long.

Mike B.

 WWW  

User avatar

Verbose Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 1231
Joined: Mar 08, 2003
Last Visit: Dec 03, 2021
Location: Close to GenCon

Post Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 5:23 am 
 

The other day I tried to ship some magazines via media mail. The mail clerk told me you can't send items via media mail if they have advertisements. So apparently comic books can't be sent media mail.

  

User avatar

Verbose Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 1709
Joined: Feb 04, 2004
Last Visit: Aug 23, 2016
Location: Chandler, AZ

Post Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 6:25 am 
 

burntwire wrote:The other day I tried to ship some magazines via media mail. The mail clerk told me you can't send items via media mail if they have advertisements. So apparently comic books can't be sent media mail.


The question is:  Is advertising that is no longer applicable still advertising?  It is probably an issue that the Post Office does not have an answer for.  If you send a Comic that is 30 years old, the adds are no longer relevant.  It is a collector's item at this point.  The advertising restriction is intended to prevent soliciting and marketing of products while using media mail as the shipping method (If they didn't put this restriction, then a magazine company could ship using media mail as could a catalog company, etc.)

That is what the intent is - whether or not it is clearly defined whether something is no longer subject to the advertising restriction after a given period of time is probably not know to anyone - including whoever makes the rules at the USPS.  

Incidentally, many novels contain advertising as well - just grab a paperback fantasy novel and flip to the last few pages. . . many advertise for other novels by the same author/publishing company.  Same as many hardcover RPG books.  Technically, many items don't qualify for media mail with the advertising caveat. . . that is why you should never ask a postal employee anything. . . just interpret the rules yourself and everything will go a lot smoother.   8)


"Gleemonex makes it feel like it's seventy-two degrees in your head... all... the... time! "

  

User avatar

Prolific Collector

Posts: 851
Joined: Jun 12, 2004
Last Visit: Nov 09, 2021

Post Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 11:44 am 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:I've actually been experiencing a surge of media mail resentment with some postal employees lately, including a number of packages being opened and inspected. Also, has anyone else seen new media mail signage in their local post offices? I've seen a number of signs lately that say [paraphrasing]: "We reserve the right to inspect ANY media mail package." The signs I'm talking about have red lettering on a white background.

Badmike wrote:Anyway, thanks for letting me rant, as a loyal USPS customer for many years (Even though their policies make no sense and their supervisors are the worst for any business I've ever dealt with), and friend of many of the overworked and underpayed counter help, I felt I had to get that off my chance and illuminate why the postal cops are starting to finally open media mail packages and enforce the restrictions, it took them years to realize how much money they were losing with their dumb priority policies.

Funny you guys should mention this.  The post office opened up the box that contained my copy of the Castles & Crusades box set (with dice).  Boom, an extra $2.00 s&h because it didn't qualify as media mail, but as priority.  I have a rather mixed reaction to this "policy" and the USPS in general.  As a private corporation (no government funding), there are few, if any guarantees like what exists in federal statutes.  However, opening a package simply to determine whether it needs to be charged more because your company (USPS) is losing money seems to me to fall within the boundaries of unreasonable search, a violation of the bill of rights.

Just one more of those things that really leaves me less than enamored with the Bush government since the government manufactured the war in Iraq.

Shuts the hell up now.



  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 7969
Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Last Visit: Dec 01, 2021
Location: DFW TX

Post Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 11:45 am 
 

beyondthebreach wrote:
burntwire wrote:The other day I tried to ship some magazines via media mail. The mail clerk told me you can't send items via media mail if they have advertisements. So apparently comic books can't be sent media mail.


The question is:  Is advertising that is no longer applicable still advertising?  It is probably an issue that the Post Office does not have an answer for.  If you send a Comic that is 30 years old, the adds are no longer relevant.  It is a collector's item at this point.  The advertising restriction is intended to prevent soliciting and marketing of products while using media mail as the shipping method (If they didn't put this restriction, then a magazine company could ship using media mail as could a catalog company, etc.)

That is what the intent is - whether or not it is clearly defined whether something is no longer subject to the advertising restriction after a given period of time is probably not know to anyone - including whoever makes the rules at the USPS.  

Incidentally, many novels contain advertising as well - just grab a paperback fantasy novel and flip to the last few pages. . . many advertise for other novels by the same author/publishing company.  Same as many hardcover RPG books.  Technically, many items don't qualify for media mail with the advertising caveat. . . that is why you should never ask a postal employee anything. . . just interpret the rules yourself and everything will go a lot smoother.   8)


Bingo.  My interepation has always been the same, such comics are "collectibles" and should fall under the media mail headings.  Besdies, many comics nowadays such as independents and graphic novels have no advertising, yet to the undiscerning eye look exactly like any issue of Spiderman or Batman that has advertising.  I'd agree with btb, make your own informed decisions.  These are the same postal employees that last month were telling me "All of your Canadian mail for the last few months is going to be returned, they are telling us unless they are addressed in all capitals they are stopping them at the border and sending them back." I read the protocols at the USPS website, they supposedly started in October, funny how I haven't had a single returned package since then, nor has a single Canadian customer emailed to complain about his package not arriving or being held up in customs.  This after being told that probably everything I shipped since then is going to be sent back any day now as undeliverable....

Mike B.

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector

Posts: 5648
Joined: Jun 30, 2003
Last Visit: Nov 18, 2021
Location: New Hampsha

Post Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 2:07 pm 
 

It's a dog-eat-dog world, and I'm going to chew down as many frigging puppies as I can. Look, they didn't offer media mail out of the kindness of their hearts. They thought there was profit in it. Just because there isn't does not mean I should not take advantage of the system whenever possible. Hell, I sent my nephew's shoes Media Mail 3 months ago. And let's keep something in mind: It is OUR tax $$ that keeps them afloat in times of trouble, so I have already paid extra unwillingly.
Worst case scenario, I try to send something out, they open it and say it has to go PP or Prio. Big deal.


If you hit a Rowsdower, you get to keep it.

 WWW  


Sage Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 2884
Joined: Nov 04, 2004
Last Visit: May 09, 2020

Post Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 2:46 pm 
 

Deadlord36 wrote:It is OUR tax $$ that keeps them afloat in times of trouble


Actually, it's not — the USPS does not receive tax revenues.

It makes its money from the sale of hard goods (stamps) and services (that $13.65 you lay out to send something Express, for example), and attempts to stay afloat through periodic rate increases (such as the 37-cent one-ounce rate from 2002).

 WWW  
Previous
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 4 of 41, 2, 3, 4