Thursday, July 24, 2008

Metered Mail

So we had two cases today where people had sent large reply envelopes to send back their unrequested partials using metered mail. This means that after they found out the weight and price of shipping the partial at the post office, they either had the post office stand the SASE before it went into the main envelope or they had one of those machines in their office that did it for them with red ink on the envelope based on the weight of the package.

The problem with this is, with metered mail you can't send it from a wildly different zip code than the one you metered it at. And because it was over 14 ounces, my boss took it to the post office to mail it, only to be told she couldn't, because it was metered in another zip code.

Long story short, if you're one of those people with a machine that weights and then applies a stamp via a meter and a red stamp thing, don't do it on your SASE. Find out the cost and put that much in stamps on the SASE so we can mail it back to you.

Some agencies don't make the trip to the post office or have an office person who does it for them, and just toss the returns envelopes that would require a trip to a post office because our country doesn't understand how actual postal security should work. So if you send an unrequested partial and it's heavy, don't expect it back, even if you send enough stamps to do so. Not everyone will send it.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, people still do non-e-queries?

Maybe I should query some of those agents. I'm sure there's nothing wrong with them. I'm literally just too lazy to print, address, stamp and mail, and until I run out of agents who take e-queries, I just can't bring myself to take the time to snail mail.

Maria said...

My post office informed me long ago that metered mail will not work on any other day other than the day it is metered. In other words, you can't use metered mail to SASE.

:>)

Thankfully most agents are taking e-queries these days!

sylvia-rachel said...

I think that also means people are using their employers' mailrooms to send their personal mail, which I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to do ...

You think out-of-ZIP-code SASEs are a pain, you should try submitting from outside the US! (No, there are no agents in Canada. Well, okay, there are about three. This is why most Canadian writers have American agents.) Fortunately, I have friends and rellies south of the border to keep me supplied with stamps.

Anonymous said...

sylvia,

Canadians know how to write? [gasp]...I thought they all just hunt caribous and drive trucks on ice roads, eh?...

Aimless Writer said...

I never expect anything back from an agent. When they answer my email they do reply it's because they are nice.
If someone sent me an email or letter do I really have any responsiblity to do anything with it? Same difference.
I think agents are great for answering tons of unsolicited emails, but I don't think they have to do it.

Dave Kuzminski said...

Actually, you can do metered mail return envelopes. I just recently sent out close to 1,500 in the mail. Of course, it wasn't easy getting everything in order so the postal service would accept and deliver them, but we achieved our goal. Furthermore, a significant number went out of state so we had to deal with different postal zones.

We also dealt with not knowing ahead of time how much weight some of the responses would have. We're not certain if the special SASEs will work as well as the others we normally send out as that was a new twist we incorporated in our process this year.

Still, it's not a chore for the faint of heart. I'm glad we do this only once a year.

Elizabeth said...

huh, good to know...I don't think I knew this before.

babs m said...

Thank you! That's information useful to know.

bonitakale said...

Is it my imagination, or is the US the only country that makes it hard to get stamps? I've had no trouble getting stamps from Canada and the UK-- just phone them up and give them my credit card number, or maybe I could do it online, now. But the US, last I checked, made it hard.

(Hey, I see the letters I have to type in are rkynqbaj-- no doubt the name of a heroine from another planet, pronounced Rink-baj.)

Sling Words aka Joan Reeves said...

Didn't know that. Learn something new every day.

bonitakale: you can buy stamps online for U.S. I did a blog post a while back about obtaining postage from other countries. If you do a search on my blog, you can get the info.

Mommy C said...

I am hoping that this is not a repeat comment, my computer went blitzy the first time I tried to send.

USPS is no longer shipping stamps to foreign destinations, as I discovered the other day. I'd like to tie Bush's shoe laces to Bin Laden's and throw the pair over a clothesline. You can read my tantrum at:
http://quirkymommyc.blogspot.com

I have found my dream agent, but he recycles MSs on receipt, if they are lacking the coveted SASE. So, what's a poor Canuck to do now? Join a stamp collectors group or something? I'm thinking of searching the chat rooms for a lonely old philatelist to be my Stamp Daddy.

rachel said...

Just discovered your blog and am glad I did! I'm looking forward to sifting through it...

Anonymous said...

"This means that after they found out the weight and price of shipping the partial at the post office..."

"partial" or "parcel?"

Just askin'!

1979 semi-finalist said...

anon 11:47

"partial" or "parcel"

PARTIAL

or are you just trying to be funny and I've totally lost my sense of humor... Honestly, at this point that is totally possible...

Grace said...

I don't know what they call them in US and Canada, but over here in the UK they are called 'franking machines'.

Anonymous said...

Hey- You CAN meter SASE- It's called 'Meter Reply Mail'. You just omit the date, and add an endorsement above the address which says "No postage stamp necessary, postage has been prepaid by:". This lets the USPS know it's OK to accept the mail w/o a date and with a postmark different from the mailing post office.

Anonymous said...

When using SASE to send to another zip code, it gives you the option of entering the zip code you are sending your mail to. You don't have to go through the trouble of figuring out the postage cost and manually entering the price of the postage. Also, the date DOES NOT have to be the same do you send it, I believe it is six months or so before it becomes obsolete. Although you can delete the date and you would never have to worry about that issue.