I’d like to make a formal complaint against the United States Post Office. They’ve fucked with me too many times and this last incident is just the last straw. Post Man, bring it on. It’s war.
Why is the USPS the target of my latest OCD-esque drama-filled tirade (both online and off)? Because they proved they don’t have any idea what the word “consistent” means.
The invitations to my wedding are completely untraditional. I did this on purpose because I wanted to go with something inexpensive but I didn’t want it to look cheap, and too many times, I’ve seen the low-dough versions of traditional wedding invites and they just look and feel low-dough to me. So I figured that if I went completely untraditional and inexpensive, nobody would even realize they cost me next to nothing!
Irish and I had CDs printed with the bare-bones information about our wedding and also included the website address to find out more info about the wedding and to rsvp. We burned a playlist of some of our favorite songs onto the cd and then we found these great so-called “Postage saver” cardboard cd mailers so that you don’t even have to put them in a jewel case… seriously inexpensive and totally unique.
The problem came when it came time to post-mark these fucking things.
I mailed myself a cd in one of these packages to see how much it would be. I threw two 44-cent stamps on and tossed it into the mail. I got it back a few days later without a problem, so I figured that it definitely wouldn’t take more than $.88 cents to mail the things out. I took one to the post office and, at the counter, I asked the really unhappy-with-life postal worker to weigh it to tell me exactly how much it would cost to mail it first-class mail. She weighed it and then told me it would be $1.71 to mail.
After I told her that I mailed one to myself for two .44 cent stamps, she in a tone that was both utterly apathetic while at the same time authoritative and annoyed, that I was wrong and it was a parcel so it would be $1.71. Well then how the fuck did I mail one to myself for $.88??
I wasn’t satisfied with her answer. So I walked my ass across the post office lobby to the automated postage machine. I followed all the instructions to the letter, I answered all the “is it over-sized” type questions truthfully and I put the envelope containing the cd on the scale. The machine told me it would require an $.84 stamp. I tried it again with slightly different answers to the size and shape questions and another quote came back to me for $.81. I was satisfied that the lady was wrong and that it would not be $1.71… after all, the machine had told me twice that it would be somewhere in the eighty-cent range and I had actually mailed one to myself for $.88.
Being the cheeseball bride that I have become in the past few months, I surfed my ass right over to one of those custom stamp-making websites and designed some too-precious-for-words Chicago-themed stamps to go with our Chicago-themed wedding. And the postage I specified them to be worth? Eighty-four cents. My first mistake.
Several weeks ahead of my decided date to send out the invites, I had them all packaged, addressed, sealed and stamped. I was the model of efficiency and preparedness. We had three invitations that would be sent via international mail, so I knew we were going to have to go to the counter at the post office to mail them, so we also brought up with us the box of domestic-destined invitations. It was the same bitchy, unhappy postal worker at the counter Monday when I brought everything in to finally get in the mail. My second mistake.
She got the three international pieces all set and ready for going out when she saw the box of the invitations we had, all stamped up and ready to go and she said, “That ain’t enough postage. Those are parcels. Not letters. I told you that last time.”
“No ma’am, they aren’t parcels. I mailed one to myself for $.88 and it got back to me. I weighed it on several machines, everything has come back as being in the eighty-cent range.” I doth protested.
“Well, okay. Whatever. We’ll see if they actually get to where they need to be,” she offered out as pissy as possible. We handed her the box of the stamped invitations, stupidly thinking she would just put them out for delivery. Mistake number three.
I was confident they would be fine. Irish wasn’t as much and his questions got me worried and for the next 48 hours, he and I wondered out loud if they would actually get there or if they would be returned to me.
Early the next day, I got my first text message from a friend in Philly who had received his invitation. To say I was relieved would be a complete understatement. Then I got the next text message…. “But it said there was insufficient postage and it was actually supposed to be $.87 instead of $.84.”
Over the next few hours, reports from friends across the country rolled in.. some got notes saying they needed to pick up the invitations at the post office, and to bring money to cover insufficient postage. Some said it was insufficient by three cents. Some said it was insufficient by .87 cents. A bunch had them delivered no problem, without any insufficient notice at all. What the fuck????
A big part of me regrets leaving the invitations in the hand of that self-righteous counter employee. Deep down I believe she fucked with them just to prove herself right, though that wouldn’t explain why only some of the invitations claim to have insufficient postage. I know that it’s “a federal offense” to tamper with mail, but you know, a whole lot of things are illegal and that doesn’t stop some.
But why in the world would the claims of insufficient postage be as varied as the day is long?? Why isn’t the USPS consistent? Why wouldn’t each envelope–the exact same size, shape and weight–not cost the same to mail??
I know this incident isn’t the end of the world. It’s not ruining my wedding and while I was wicked frustrated yesterday having to explain and apologize to all my guests, there are far worse things that could happen in the world. Like getting a whole bag of pistachios that aren’t cracked open. That would really suck. But I’m still a bit pissed about the lack of consistency and the fact that this minor mistake inconveniences each one of my guests and is so glaringly obvious. Had the flowers at the ceremony been wrong, that wouldn’t be a big deal because that doesn’t personally affect each guest.
So there. That’s my complaint against the USPS. I would love love love form someone to explain to me WHY the postage needs have been so different on each one of these invitations!
Whew. I’m done.