Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Adventures in the mailroom

Here's another reason I'm tempted to stop doing favors for people.

But first a lesson in postage:

First class mail 1 oz and under costs 41 cents. Each oz after that costs 17 cents. Oversized mail costs 80 cents for the first ounce and 17 cents for each subsequent ounce. Postcards cost 26 cents. Before the recent postal increase those rates were 39, 39, 24 and 24 cents respectively, so in some ways the increase was actually a decrease, albeit a confusing one.

When I took over running the mailroom, I decided I wanted to keep stamps on stock at all times, so that I could save my fellow wage slaves a trip to the Post Office whenever possible. Not every possible denomination of stamp of course, but enough to handle most common postal needs. Before the rate increase I always kept 39 cent and 26 cent stamps around. (I like having 26 centers around cuz I enter a lot of contests that require postcard entry.) It was easier than when postcards and subsequent ounces both cost the same. Now I only keep 41's and 26's. I don't keep 17's because I have noticed that most people look at them the same way they look at two-dollar bills, id est, as not exactly legal tender. I'll weigh a letter for someone and tell them it's over an ounce so it's going to cost 58 cents. And they'll say, "Okay, I guess that means I'll need to put two 41 cent stamps on here." And I'll say, "Not necessarily, all you need is one 41 cent stamp and one of these spiffy 17 cent stamps."

And they'll look at me as though I've lost my mind, mumble something about how they've never heard of such a thing and put another 41 cent stamp on there -- spending 82 cents when they only had to spend 58. I guess they honestly believe the Post Office assigns certain pieces of mail postage rates that it is impossible for their patrons to hit exactly on the nose.

These are the same spendthrifts who like to empty out their piggy banks to buy a stamp from me. I just want to tell them, hey, if you've got no use for those pennies, what makes you think I do?

Humh, I seemed to have digressed.

But anyway, the other day I got a voice-mail from a co-worker who works in an office about twenty miles away. (The company I work for is spread out all over the state.) She says I sent you (by courier) a letter to be mailed out, would you please weigh it and make sure I put enough postage on there?

I said sure.

I get the letter and it's oversized -- 9 X 12 -- which means it's 80 cents for the first ounce instead of 41. And it's heavy. She had three 41 cents stamps on there. That's not enough. And I'm out of 26 centers, so I e-mail her to say:

Your piece of mail needs $1.82 postage. You have $1.23 on it – so you need 59 cents more. I have a couple stamps here in the mailroom and I’ll be happy to add them to your envelope, but I better get reimbursed with a couple of those hummingbird or bat stamps in the afternoon mail. Deal?

Her response:

Ok---I’ll send you $.41 ---deal?

I write back:

No deal. You need 59 cents postage so it’s going to take two stamps – or 82cents, but I’d rather have the stamps.

And now she has the gall to say:

Go figure----82 cents is more than .59---what is the additional cents for ---shipping and handling?

At this point I was torn between sending the letter back to her with the couriers, mailing it out with insufficient postage or sending her an I've-really-had-about-enough-of-this-and-I'm-going-to-explain-this-to-you-one-more-time-and-this-time-like-you-were-a-spoiled two-year-old e-mail. I decided on the latter.

And 41 cents is less than 59 cents. I’m having to put stamps on your envelope. I only have 41 cent stamps. If I put one stamp on that’s not enough. Two is 82 cents. If you prefer I’ll ship this thing back to you and you can put a 59 cent stamp on it – assuming you can find such a thing.

And she whips out the ALL CAPS and lets me have this:


True to her word she sent me two stamps -- stapled to a post-it-note that said "Love ya, Loy."
If you love me, don't try to cheat me out of 41 cents when I'm doing you a favor. And don't staple stamps to a post-it note. Post-it notes are sticky already.


kratsman said...

That sounds like one of those exasperating routines between Groucho and Chico. Wouldn't a postage meter machine make sense? I think the one in our office is from Pitney-Bowes.

Glad to see your recent posts.

Norrin2 said...

Exasperating is the right word. I do have a postage meter machine but I can only use that for the Corporation's mail. Personal stuff has to use stamps.