Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ineptitude at the Post Office

No, not at the *local* Post Office, but at the national level among those whose job it is to provide a "help" function.

One of the categories in which I do a lot of online selling is school yearbooks, generally high school yearbooks.

Now the United States Postal Service has a shipping category - you know, Parcel Post, Priority, etc. - called Media Mail. It is the slowest, but also the least expensive way to ship anything by mail. Eligible are various media items - "books, sound recordings, recorded video tapes, printed music, recorded computer-readable media (such as CDs and DVDs)."

There is some confusion at my local Post Office about whether school yearbooks fall in the "books" category.

I'm not exactly sure why such confusion should exist. Read my lips:



But exist it does.

I thought I might settle the matter and after doing all the research I could at usps.com, which is entirely silent on the matter, I exercised the USPS help function. One option is to email your questions to the USPS and await the promised answer, which I did.

I specifically mentioned the local Post Office's confusion on the matter and specifically asked whether yearbooks could be shipped via Media Mail.

I also asked a second question. Prohibited from Media Mail are books containing advertising (except incidental book advertising). I asked whether fifty year old or hundred year old advertising was OK, since at this point it really is memorabilia, not advertising.

Today I received my email response, in which "Donna" played back to me exactly the material at usps.com, informing me of the materials considered eligible for Media Mail: books, sound recordings, recorded video tapes, printed music, recorded computer-readable media (such as CDs and DVDs).

Not forgetting my second question, she also informed me that advertising material was prohibited (except incidental book advertising).

You will have noted the glaring absence of answers to my questions.

And then, and *then* she provided me with a telephone number for further information, the telephone number of my local Post Office, which I had informed her was the one confused on the issue of yearbooks.

Why waste the electrons?


Just Another Wannabe said...

Did you really expect an honest-to-goodness, authentic, personal answer? From the USPS, of all places? I think not! But I must admit that I do the same thing: ask a question knowing full well that I'm going to get a copy-and-paste reply. I think we do it just to prove (to nobody in particular) that we were right in expecting the answer we get. Or not.

Anyway ... just popped by to say I agree with you about the USPS, and to wish you a happy Thanksgiving.

Dramlin said...

Ha. I once, in all seriousness, asked a company to explain a charge they had added to my credit card, as the explanation was in French. Their response? They quoted back the French explanation.
Happy Thanksgiving to you foreigners!

tap shoes for girls said...

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