Tag Archives: packing

USPS to seek ’emergency rate hikes’…

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) – Battered by massive losses, the Postal Service wants to raise rates to bring in more money.

Postal officials scheduled a briefing Tuesday to discuss the amount of the increase, which will go to the independent Postal Regulatory Commission for review.

The boost comes as no surprise. Postmaster General John Potter said March 2 that a rate increase would be necessary for the agency, which does not receive tax funds for its operations.

The current 44-cent first-class rate took effect May 11, 2009.

While that change will be the most visible, rates for other types of mail will also go up, raising concern among business groups and nonprofit organizations.

Under the law, the post office is generally limited to increases no more than the rate of inflation — 0.9 percent for the year ended in May.

However, the agency is allowed to seek a larger increase in unusual circumstances. Potter said in March he planned to take that step.

“The projections going forward are not bright,” Potter said then. But, he added: “All is not lost. … We can right this ship.”

The agency lost $3.8 billion last fiscal year despite cutting 40,000 full-time positions and making other reductions. It has continued to face significant losses this year.

The weak economy has sharply reduced mail volume as companies cut their advertising. At the same time there has been a significant drop in lucrative first-class mail, with more and more people turning to the Internet to communicate with each other as well as to receive and pay bills.

The proposal drew a prompt complaint from the mailing industry.

“This proposed rate increase amounts to another tax imposed on Americans at a time when the economy can least afford it,” said Tony Conway, executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, a group representing charities and other organizations.

“Consumers everywhere will pay more for the letters and packages they need to send; businesses — large and small — will suffer and even more jobs will be lost,” complained Conway, who was designated spokesman for the Affordable Mail Alliance, a coalition of businesses, charities and other mailers formed to oppose the increase.

Postal officials also have proposed eliminating Saturday mail delivery as a means of cutting costs, a change that would require congressional approval.

Post office finances are also complicated by the requirement that the agency make annual payments to pre-fund future health benefits for retirees, something not required of other government agencies.

And the postal inspector general contends that the Postal Service has been overcharged billions of dollars for retirement benefits for employees who worked for the old Post Office Department before it was converted to the Postal Service in 1970.

For quality shipping service that with rates that won’t rise without notice, call Goin’ Postal Tallahassee at (850) 692-3130, visit us on the web at http://gpoftallahassee.com, or drive to our store at 5810 North Monroe Street, Suite 210A, Tallahassee, Florida!!!

You can also connect with us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/gptally) or like our Facebook fan page!

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Where the USPS sends lost packages…YIKES!!!

As hard as it may be to believe, the last time the United States Postal Service allowed an outside organization to audit their delivery efficiency was in 1989. in that study, they found that approximately 13% of mail sent through the USPS was never delivered.  THAT’S 1 OUT OF EVERY 7 PACKAGES!!! And that was over 20 years. There were a number of reasons for the mail never getting to its destinations, including:

1) The mailperson deciding what he/she has room for, and what he/she doesn’t have room for…many mailpeople were found to be going through the mail, and trying to find bulk mail, or items that didn’t look like they were important. “we just don’t have room for everything,” the mailperson was quoted as saying.

2)  The mailperson damaging the item inadvertently,and just discarding it or marking the item as ‘undeliverable’…

3) The mailperson just not wanting to deliver it. Just recently, a USPS employee in the Philadelphia area was discovered to have hidden over 6 months worth of mail that was never delivered…IN HIS GARAGE! Sometimes, if the mailperson can’t fit the package in your box, they will just keep it–instead of ‘wasting’ the time to fill out a form for you to pick it up at your local Post Office; or *GASP* walk it to your front door themselves. Sometimes, they feel like it just saves time to not deliver all of those pesky envelopes and packages, and its much easier just to stash them somewhere…

So, ever wonder where your ‘lost’ packages go? The United States Post Office actually auctions the undelivered packages off–the items inside them, that is. here is a link to when the Atlanta auctions are:

http://www.usps.com/auctions/

Now, when you package is lost, at least you can travel to Atlanta and make a bid and try to win it back!!!

I am posting this message right after a customer visited our store and would not fill out the customs form (his shipment was going to Canada). He told me the last time he shipped a gift to Canada using the USPS, he put ‘jewelry’ on the customs form, and his package was lost….

Maybe he should check Atlanta.

To make sure YOUR MAIL doesn’t end up in a USPS-sponsored auction, visit Goin’ Postal of Tallahassee! Give us a call at (850) 692-3130, visit us on the web at http://gpoftallahassee.com, or drive to our store at 5810 North Monroe Street, Suite 210A, Tallahassee, Florida, and we can help you package your items safely and cheaply!!!

You can also connect with us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/gptally) or like our Facebook fan page!

United States Postal Service…gone?

The United States Postal Service lost an estimated $3.8 BILLION in 2009. And that’s even with the increase in postage rates, most notably the raising of the 42-cent stamp to 44 cents.  The USPS is hampered by a multitude of factors–the increase in things such as electronic bill pay; the inflation in costs such as fuel and healthcare; and the emergence of companies such as FedEx, UPS, and DHL–companies that can offer comparable or better service for the roughly the same price to the consumer. In fact, the largest percentage of the USPS revenue comes from Direct and Bulk Mail Marketing, not from individual consumers or private business order deliveries.  The USPS is projected to lose over $200 BILLION DOLLARS by 2010!!! Because they are not allowed to close USPS facilities due to their financial state, they are exploring other options:

1) Eliminating Saturday deliveries…this would decrease the salaries you pay employees to work 6 full days, and would save the USPS an estimated $90 Billion over the next ten years. 

2) ANOTHER POSTAL RATE HIKE, although that will not happen until 2011, at the earliest.

3)Moving facilities into grocery stores or department stores, which would save facility costs, and would allow them to skirt around the rule of not being able to close down facilities.

As you can imagine, all of this is not only making consumers wary of using the USPS, but also the employees themselves are becoming disgruntled and losing a great deal of motivation with their jobs (Remember this the next time you stand in a line for an hour to buy a book of stamps).

Luckily, here at Goin’ Postal Tallahassee, we use all the major carriers, so we can offer you the USPS services–like Stamps (at face value), Priority Mail, and International Mail; but we can also offer you alternatives like UPS, FedEx, and DHL.  Make sure to visit us at our store in Tallahassee (5810 North Monroe Street, Suite 210A), or our website at http://gpoftallahassee.com so we can help you with all your shipping needs!

And remember, you can also connect with us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/gptally) or like our Facebook fan page!

Hazardous, Restricted and Prohibited Items

An agreement was reached between the carriers, U.S. DOT and IATA to keep all shipments traveling in the air safe. For this reason the HAZMAT question was created. So, there is a definitive list of items that can and cannot be shipped in accordance with the law. However, while you should never ship liquids like oil, lighter fluid and other flammable substances, there is nothing wrong with shipping a well-packaged bottle of bubble bath via a ground service.

Descriptions that indicate Dangerous Goods include: “Explosive”, “Compressed Gas”, “Flammable”, “Poison”, “Toxic”, “Infectious”, “Radioactive”, or “Corrosive.”  These dangerous goods should never be sent.

The carriers will also restrict shipments with certain commodities due to regulatory laws or concerns about personal safety. Those items include: live fish, alcohol, clinical specimens, human parts, firearms, batteries, tobacco, currencies, or used medical devices.


Hidden Dangerous Goods

While not obvious, these items are classified as Hidden Dangerous Goods and should not be shipped:

Breathing apparatus (may contain compressed oxygen), Camping gear (may contain flammable gas or liquid), Dental apparatus (may contain hazardous chemicals, resins or solvents), Cylinders (may contain compressed gas), Photographic supplies (may contain dangerous chemicals or inks), Household shipments/goods (may contain flammable household liquids, bleaching powders, aerosol paints, lighters, or perfume), Car batteries (may contain corrosive,or explosive materials), Fireworks (may contain flammable substances), Matches (may contain flammable substances), Aerosol sprays (may contain compressed gas), Nail polish (may contain chemicals), Nitrogen-refrigerated liquids (may contain compressed gas), or ORM-D (may contain compressed gas).

Questions about particular items can be directed to the carrier, or you can call Goin’ Postal of Tallahassee at (850) 692-3130, visit us on the web at http://gpoftallahassee.com, or drive to our store at 5810 North Monroe Street, Suite 210A, Tallahassee, Florida.  We’ll help you package your items safely and cheaply!

As always, you can also connect with us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/gptally) or like our Facebook fan page!

ATTENTION: All eBay Sellers…

Here at our home store, a good portion of our business comes from eBay sellers who are shipping out merchandise. Sadly, all too often we will see a look of disappointment when they hear how much it is to actually ship out their purchase, and realize they were WAY UNDER on their estimate.  Since eBay requires that you input a price for shipping BEFORE you post your item, the best way to protect yourself from LOSING MONEY on your shipment is to contact us here at Goin’ Postal Tallahassee to get an accurate quote based on the weight and dimensions of your item.  All you have to do is call us at (850) 692-3130, or click on the link marked “Contact Us” on our website, http://gpoftallahassee.com, and one of our Shipping Experts will contact you right away with the different options you have for shipping, and the prices of each option.  That way you can make sure you cover your own costs BEFORE you put that item on eBay.

Of course, you can always just drive to our store at 5810 N Monroe Street, Suite 210A, Tallahassee, Florida, and we can help you package your items safely and cheaply!!!

You can also connect with us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/gptally) or like our Facebook fan page!

To Insure or Not to Insure…

THAT is the question. Granted, it SHOULD be the carrier’s job to make sure your shipment arrives in its destination on time and in tact, but when should you spend the extra money to protect yourself in case something were to happen? Here are a few tips:

1) Does your item have DOCUMENTABLE value or SENTIMENTAL value? Unfortunately, the shipping companies do not allow for what something is worth TO YOU, only what it is worth in the commercial sense, in other words—the amount that was on the receipt when yo purchased the item. So, if you put an old polaroid of your family in a $20 picture frame, and the shipper were to damage or lose it, while the picture may be priceless to you, it is only worth $20 to the shipping company.

2) Is your shipment packed properly? Regardless of how much insurance you buy, if the carrier determines that your package was not prepared to adequately protect your shipment against the normal wear and tear of transit, they still can reserve the right to deny the insurance claim.  Things they look for are: items placed in used or already damaged boxes, and items that are not cushioned with enough packing material (foam peanuts, bubble wrap, etc.) In fact, the drivers who pick up the packages are trained to look out for these types of things to protect the shippers against false claims.  So make sure you have your shipment packaged within the guidelines of the shipper you are using.

3) Is it worth the added expense to you? FedEx and UPS automatically include up to $100 worth of insurance; added insurance is usually around $3 per $100 of insurance.  The USPS does not automatically include any insurance; and to add insurance is usually around $2 to $3 per $100 of insurance.  So sometimes it just isn’t worth the extra expense; other times, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Should you have any questions about insurance costs or packaging guidelines, make sure to call Goin’ Postal Tallahassee at (850) 692-3130, visit us on the web at http://gpoftallahassee.com, or drive to our store at 5810 North Monroe Street, Suite 210A, Tallahassee, Florida. We will make sure we help you get your shipments where they need to be, on time and intact.

You can also connect with us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/gptally) or like our Facebook fan page!

The ART of Packaging (Part 3)

PACKAGING

Packaging is the art, science and technology of enclosing and protecting items, in our case, for shipping. Proper packaging is integral to the delivery of undamaged goods. Today, most packages are sorted and fed through high-speed conveyors and bar code reading systems.

Your goal is to protect the shipment from damage while conserving time and materials. This is achieved by using the smallest boxes and amount of packaging materials possible, while providing adequate protection in accordance with carrier guidelines. The guidelines in this chapter have been developed from service guides available from FedEx, UPS, DHL and USPS along with our own “hands on” approach. We will cover these guidelines in 3 parts; the final part we will cover is Sealing.

Sealing

By far, the most popular method is packaging tape. This is available in different sizes and types. We recommend pressure-sensitive tape in 2” and 3” rolls. For heavier items you may choose to use “strapping tape” which is pressure-sensitive tape that is reinforced with yarn.

Common types of tape that should NEVER be used include masking tape, duct tape and cellophane (Scotch®) tape.

Water-activated tape is another popular product. This type of tape needs to be moistened (like an envelope) and then applied to the package. It is usually reinforced with fiberglass yarn and requires less coverage then pressure-sensitive tape due to its strength.

Sealing Instructions

1. Apply at least three strips of pressure-sensitive tape, at least 2” wide, to both the top and bottom of the package.

2. Distribute the tape evenly across flaps and seams, using the H taping method.

3. You must use pressure-sensitive tape, water-activated paper tape (minimum 60lb grade) or water activated reinforced tape.

Making sure your package is protected from movement and shock during transit will ensure that your package arrives safely. Make sure to call Goin’ Postal Tallahassee at (850) 692-3130, visit us on the web at http://gpoftallahassee.com, or drive to our store at 5810 North Monroe Street, Suite 210A, Tallahassee, Florida, and we can help you package your items safely and cheaply!!!

You can also connect with us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/gptally) or like our Facebook fan page!