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Why Everything I Ship has Insurance

I don’t work for the post office, but I’ve had many conversations with folks who do. I really have to wonder if there is some sort of unwritten mail code about how to handle different types of mail.

First we have junk mail, like the piece pictured here. That is how it was actually delivered to me, wrinkles and all. The large section missing would actually be 100% acceptable if my mail carrier was a German Shephard. But since that’s not the case, I’m left thinking junk mail is given the lowest priority for mail handling technique. Sort of a “whatever happens, happens” mentality.

Next we have First Class mail. Just the plain ol’ run of the mill slap some postage on it kind. This seems to be given only slightly better handling technique over junk mail. I once dropped off 2 bills and a Netflix, inside the USPS at the counter. None of the three pieces arrived at their final destination, so what did the manager suggest to me when I brought this to his attention?

“Send it registered if you want to make sure it gets there.”

Now, I wish I was kidding but that was honestly what I was told. Apparently paying postage is just to hope it gets delivered, but if you really want to be sure every bill you mail out arrives, you need to send it registered. Needless to say, those 2 bills are now handled via online payments (and the USPS wonders why people are sending less mail?).

From here we have priority mail. I think this is given the best handling at its base rate than any other form. But what if you’re like me, and don’t want to have to charge your customers priority rates for an item that is within the first class weight restrictions of 13 ounces or less?

The answer I’ve found is this: You pad the item, get insurance, and have them stamp “Fragile” all over it. Is it really fragile? Of course not- it’s wood! But my hopes are that if seeing “Fragile” isn’t enough incentive for them to be careful, then maybe seeing it is insured will. I don’t know what sort of budget the USPS has for damaged items that were insured, but I’m pretty sure nobody wants to be the one who broke the insured package. If that sort of thing started to become the norm, then maybe German Shephards wouldn’t be such a bad choice after all.

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This entry was posted on November 18, 2009 by and tagged , .
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