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#185837 - 12/20/10 04:26 PM Interesting chat at the Post Office...
dragon Offline
Elf VP

Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 1883
Loc: MA
I had an interesting chat with the desk clerk at the Post Office the other day. I've noticed for a while now that the only Priority boxes they have on display are one of the larger, flattish boxes (approx 11"x13"x3"?) and the box that fits a video tape. I'm talking regular Priority, not Flat Rate, they have Flat Rate boxes available in all sizes.

I've mentioned on here a couple of times in threads about ebay how it almost seems like the PO is trying to do away with regular Priority and have everyone use Flat Rate since I can never find the regular Priority boxes out for the taking. That was original the big perk for using Priority mail, you got free packaging for the higher price of shipping Priority.

Well, I needed one of the 12"x12"x8" boxes for a large but light weight item last week. Popped into my local PO, saw only the 2 mentioned above and the line was too long to wait in to ask about them. I went to the big PO a couple of towns over and saw they were only displaying the same two sizes but the line was short so I waited. I just want to say up front that the clerk was very nice and sincere, I had no problem with him personally, just with what he told me.

When I asked the clerk where the Priority boxes were he told me that those two sizes are the only ones they are allowed to stock! I must have looked like I thought he was kidding because he said "No really, if we stocked all the sizes then no one would buy our retail boxes" pointing to the Ready-Post section.

Huh???

When I pointed out that one of the perks of sending Priority was supposed to be free boxes he told me I could still get all the sizes for free by ordering on line. I explained that then I would have to order in multiples of at least 10 per item, wait almost two weeks for them to come and then find somewhere to store the extra ones.

He seemed very sympathetic but re-iterated that I could just purchase the size I needed right there at the Ready-Post display or use a large, Flat Rate box. The largest flat rate box is 2" shorter than the large Priority box so it was too small, and would have cost me almost $6.00 more than regular Priority!

So, I was wondering, is this is the situation with all the POs out there or just locally? Does yours still stock all the size boxes? Or are we truly moving to a situation where we supply our own boxes for regular Priority or get free boxes but have to pay for Flat Rate shipping?

Karen

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#185839 - 12/20/10 04:32 PM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: dragon]
Qwackertoo Offline
Santa's Helper

Registered: 04/13/99
Posts: 11860
Loc: Rocket City, U.S.A.
Same here. They only let them have certain things. Use to be minimum order was 25, guess they have changed that.
_________________________

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#185840 - 12/20/10 04:33 PM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: dragon]
Jill Offline
Elf Manager

Registered: 05/08/99
Posts: 704
Loc: Aurora, Colorado
Mine does NOT stock all the Priority boxes. As far as I know, they never have stocked them all at my local PO. I order mine online. They do stock the Flat Rate Priority boxes.
_________________________
In the midst of winter I found, within me, an invincible summer.
Camus

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#185845 - 12/20/10 04:57 PM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: Jill]
grandma lise Offline
Santa's Helper

Registered: 07/17/09
Posts: 7848
Loc: Washington State
Our Post Office does not stock the 12 x 12 x 8 boxes either, but if someone drops off extra boxes ordered online, they hold them in the back which is how I got one this Fall.

I think part of the problem is that people will take the larger boxes and use them for other purposes...[sigh]...

Lisa

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#185846 - 12/20/10 05:01 PM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: grandma lise]
mel-gregory Offline
Santa's Helper

Registered: 04/26/99
Posts: 3299
Loc: Valencia, CA
I noticed all the different regular Priority (and flat-rate) sizes seemed to be available at a satellite USPS near me.
_________________________

Melissa
Black Belt Mom

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#185855 - 12/20/10 05:55 PM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: mel-gregory]
jdneel Offline
Elf Engineer - Toy Design

Registered: 09/25/10
Posts: 365
Loc: Parrottsville, TN
I've never noticed. I don't use the PO boxes unless I'm using flat rate. I recieve and ship alot from my other hobbies so I always have different size boxes lying around.
_________________________
He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ~Roy L. Smith

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#185863 - 12/20/10 06:37 PM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: jdneel]
Loquacious Offline
Elf Engineer - Toy Design

Registered: 01/28/09
Posts: 261
Yes, most of the post offices in my area only have the flat rate. My local post office is a bit of a rebel and the manager there told me they couldn't order the regular priority boxes so he will have them delivered to his home and bring them in. Also when people have ordered more then they can use they will sometimes bring them back to the post office and the post office will put them out for everyone. I have noticed one local drug store, that is also a satellight post office, has ALL sizes of the priority boxes (of course they aren't trying to sell boxes either.)

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#185864 - 12/20/10 06:47 PM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: Loquacious]
grahamcracker72 Offline
Elf VP

Registered: 08/08/10
Posts: 1797
Loc: Michigan
I was told they couldn't order the 12x12x8 anymore too.
_________________________
grahamcracker72

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#185882 - 12/20/10 09:44 PM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: grahamcracker72]
Ellen B Offline
Elf VP

Registered: 08/15/99
Posts: 1316
Loc: TN.
Mine has all sizes that they leave out. #4, #7, shoebox size, long triangular tubes and others. Plus if I ask they'll give me a large roll of priority tape and/or the long peel off strips. They're really good with supplying the Priority items.

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#185893 - 12/21/10 12:08 AM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: Ellen B]
StaceyN Offline
Santa's Helper

Registered: 12/22/00
Posts: 6485
Loc: Idaho

Every time a post office topic comes up, I cringe. I think the post office closest to me is the most depressing place in the world. Nobody looks happy--workers or customers, it's dreary, messy and there is always a line. I HATE it there. Mostly I just have to drop off, thanks to on-line calculating and printing.

How nice of them to raise the rates and make it inconvenient to get the boxes.
_________________________


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#185896 - 12/21/10 12:19 AM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: StaceyN]
ornaholic Offline
Elf VP

Registered: 06/12/99
Posts: 1754
Loc: Ohio
That's the case here, but depending on your post office and their space many are appreciative when you order extras for them! Taking Priority boxes to the post office is pretty messed up isn't it, but the ladies at the post office I visit the most are really nice and helpful......so they're welcome to my extra boxes. They're limited on the amount of tape they can have at any one time also.

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#185914 - 12/21/10 06:15 AM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: ornaholic]
marywarning Offline
Santa's Helper

Registered: 05/01/99
Posts: 7302
Loc: Greer, S.C.
It has been years since the P.O. carried priority boxes. I have ordered them either online or by phone for many years now. You have to sign a post card (the first time) that they send you that you won't use them for anything else and after they get it back then they send you the boxes.
Mary

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#185924 - 12/21/10 07:58 AM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: marywarning]
bkbroiler
Unregistered


I have also noticed only flat rate boxes with a smattering of priority rate boxes. I have never asked but don't believe it has anything to do with purchasing "ready post" boxes. I think they are trying to unknowingly move people to flat rate hoping they can make extra money off of it. I am sure package delivery is where they make money anymore since letters are almost non-existent with the advent of email/eletronic payment etc. I always have a supply of the small and large priority boxes on hand at my house since I know the post office doesn't have them as well as recycled boxes from other companies. My guess is that the USPS is experimenting with this to determine whether or not to get rid of priority mail altogether and strictly use flat rate packaging. The pricing is pretty comparable to UPS and FedEx. It's possible if they go this route, UPS/Fedex might come up with a lower rate alternative than ground shipping that is basic mail service.

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#185972 - 12/21/10 04:01 PM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: ]
Diana* Offline
Santa's Helper

Registered: 04/23/99
Posts: 12439
Loc: Pasadena, CA USA
When I asked for the small cube-shaped priority boxes (perfect for ornaments) I was told to order them online, and however many I didn't want to keep, to bring them in for other customers to grab. Seems so totally inefficient, but that's the post office for you!

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#185984 - 12/21/10 05:07 PM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: dragon]
Nancy C. in Shawnee, KS Offline
Santa's Helper

Registered: 05/15/99
Posts: 8507
Loc: Shawnee, KS USA
Once a government mess, always a government mess...

I had my Indy address on my USPS profile, so when I ordered some of the small boxes to use for shipping Mayor's Christmas Tree ornaments I forgot to change it so that they would come to my KC house. I went ahead and ordered some to come to KC, and eventually I was able to find a number to call and cancel my order. This was a Saturday afternoon, so I figured the chances were good that no one would be working. I did find someone who told me that I had to call back about 1 PM EST Monday to cancel the order since they wouldn't process it until then. The woman also told me that if the boxes would be forwarded from Indy to KC, based on the forwarding information that they use every two weeks to forward my mail to KC, there would be postage due so I should send them back. Imagine my surprise when about 30 minutes later I got an EMail confirmation for the Indy boxes but never got one for the KC boxes. The KC boxes arrived on time without any problems. Last week, about 4 weeks after I ordered them, the ones that went to Indy first showed up in KC. My mailman was bringing them to the door when I pulled into the driveway, and he told me that the boxes showed $10 for the privilege of having them forwarded from Indy to KC. He and his boss discussed it because as he said "this is wrong." So now I'm well stocked on those boxes now that I don't need them for this season.

I'm just adding this to my file of stories I've been accumulating since I grew up in a town that is very military and government oriented. I guess I could take my extras to a post office - and if I do that it will be the one that doesn't lose my mail when I drop it off there.

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#186008 - 12/21/10 10:26 PM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: Nancy C. in Shawnee, KS]
jjv Offline
Elf Engineer - Toy Design

Registered: 07/22/09
Posts: 125
Loc: New Jersey
The same situation here in NJ, only flat rate boxes available...I had to dig through my Christmas closet to find a box to ship something yesterday...luckily I jammed it into a amazon.com box. I find it very irritating also. I agree the perk to priority was also getting free boxes. And I also heard that if you wrap in brown paper a flat rate box they give you a hard time because they know the dimensions of the boxes and hassle you. I paid $6.55 to ship something today, and it would of been nice to have gotten the box.

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#186017 - 12/22/10 12:07 AM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: jjv]
Colorado Collector Offline
Elf Engineer - Toy Design

Registered: 04/02/04
Posts: 109
Loc: Colorado
My local post office has not had all the Priority box sizes for a number of years. That is why I go to the nearest U.S. Postal Contract Unit located in a Copy It! store. Not only do they always have all the boxes in stock, I rarely experience a line, and the customer service is EXCELLENT!
_________________________
Linda

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#186164 - 12/24/10 06:24 AM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: ]
Barbara Harris Offline
Santa's Helper

Registered: 04/26/99
Posts: 3369
Loc: Miami County, Kansas, USA
 Originally Posted By: bkbroiler
...I think they are trying to unknowingly move people to flat rate hoping they can make extra money off of it....

"Unknowingly"--?? Not. They know exactly what they're doing.

One more reason I love YuleLog, where we can share our opinions and frustrations!
_________________________
Barb (Harris) Melton ~ Whispering Hollow ~ Miami County, Kansas

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#186172 - 12/24/10 09:37 AM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: Barbara Harris]
Carolfs Offline
Elf Manager

Registered: 07/06/03
Posts: 515
I love the new flat rate boxes. My son is in college in CA and I live in VT. Yesterday I mailed him a package that weighed over 11 lb. It would have cost me $35.85 to send priority but I used the flat rate box that cost $14.50.

I don't mind ordering the regular priority boxes from the post office. When I was selling on ebay I did it all the time. I even found some different sizes I had never seen at the post office which worked for me.

My real frustration has come with finding small boxes to send ornaments first class. I really hate to buy boxes but just don't get many small boxes. Several years ago Kmart stocked boxes with the PO name and logo that could be used for first class shipping. They clearanced those items and when they did I bought every small cube box they had plus tape and padded envelopes. I think the cube boxes were 19 cents each. I still have a few.

Carol

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#186174 - 12/24/10 10:00 AM Re: Interesting chat at the Post Office... [Re: Carolfs]
dragon Offline
Elf VP

Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 1883
Loc: MA
 Originally Posted By: Carolfs

I don't mind ordering the regular priority boxes from the post office. When I was selling on ebay I did it all the time. I even found some different sizes I had never seen at the post office which worked for me.
Carol

I don't mind ordering them from the PO either when I'm doing ebay, my original frustration came because I only needed one of a size I didn't have on hand.

I think there's a vast group of people who don't send things on a regular basis so they wouldn't know to stock up and have these on hand. They then go to the PO, which for years has advertised for people to use Priority Mail with the "free boxes available at the Post Office", only to find that the PO doesn't stock the size they need. So now they either have to go find a box, buy a box from somewhere like Staples, buy a "Ready Post" box at the PO or use a Flat Rate box.

 Originally Posted By: Barbara Harris
 Originally Posted By: bkbroiler
...I think they are trying to unknowingly move people to flat rate hoping they can make extra money off of it....

"Unknowingly"--?? Not. They know exactly what they're doing.

One more reason I love YuleLog, where we can share our opinions and frustrations!

I agree Barbara, they know exactly what they're doing, it just seems to me to be false advertising and a slick way to get people to use a more expensive PO product.

But...I'm done mailing anything for this year so I'm done whining for now. \:\)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Karen

edited to add for Carol, I agree the Flat Rate boxes are wonderful if you're sending heavy stuff, the shipping price can drop dramatically!


Edited by dragon (12/24/10 10:02 AM)

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