05 March 2008

Frustration with the Post Office

Who knew that sending out wedding invitations could be such a hassle?

On Saturday Carrie and I stopped by the local post office branch to purchase some stamps. We didn't have the invitations with us (they didn't come until Monday) so we described them to the clerk. He showed us the special 58¢ stamps with hearts on them for this purpose. He said as long as the invitation is normal size and not too heavy, those would work. We had them save the stamps for us until we could come back with an assembled invitation.

On Tuesday morning, I arrived at the same branch but it was closed. They neglected to mention that the hours on the business card they gave me are no longer correct. I didn't have time to wait so I drove over to another small branch (I was headed that way for an orthodontic checkup anyway). The clerk there weighed the invitation and said that it falls into the 58¢ range, but because it is square and not letter shaped, it can not be machine-processed and requires the 75¢ stamp. They weren't wedding-like, but they did feature the Great Smokey Mountains which I'm a fan of so I went ahead and purchased them.

So last night Carrie and I assembled all of the invitations complete with the stamps and I stopped by the post office this morning. This time a different clerk said that they would need a 97¢ stamp! I was really ticked off at that point. He said that it's possible for them to go through without any problems, but there was still a chance someone would flag them and return them to us for more postage. I pulled a few envelopes from my pile and mailed them off today and will wait and see what happens before either sending off the others as is or reluctantly adding more stamps.

After a little online investigating, our invitations should have no problems based on this USPS memo from May 2007. It says
"The cost of postage for a 2-ounce wedding invitation has been reduced from 63 cents down to 58 cents*"
and the asterisk
"*Your letter must be with letter shape dimensions: maximum weight, 3.5 ounces; maximum length, 11 1/2"; maximum height, 6 1/8"; maximum thickness, 1/4". All First-Class Mail nonmachinable letters are subject to the 17-cent nomachinable surcharge."
I will make sure and point this out to the employees when I drop off the rest of the invitations tomorrow morning.