A "routine" day at the Post Office to drop off a cymbal for shipment

Tama CW

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Just an ordinary day to drop off a pair of 20" ride cymbals. Just to be sure I had it all right, the night before I double checked the re-used 22" box measurements, weight, and USPS Postal Shipping calculator to be sure there were no surprises.
I've been surprised before with $45 in fees when I expected no more than $30. In this case, I expected a fee in the $27-$29 range (2 day priority - going about 250-300 miles). Full insurance value of $200 was included.

After handing it over to the Postal Clerk I was a bit surprised to hear $32.50. I just figured I must have gotten the additional insurance wrong or maybe was off 1/2" or so on the box maximum where 1 one side was bulging out a bit.
As I'm headed out I check the receipt to verify the weight.....and then notice I was gigged for a 25" box ! No way that could be. I flagged down the Clerk just as they were bringing the box to the back room.
I tell them there's a question on the shipping cost......"it can't be a 25" size." They assure me it is. It's a standard 22" box! They're still not buying my story. But remeasured it in front of me.
They point to the edge of the box and there it is "right on the 25" mark." "See" they said....25 inches. They were right. The end of tape did say 25 inches. At least they were consistent. How could you argue that??

Well I had already moved my eyes to the other side of the tape which was 2 ft away from them....and I couldn't believe what I saw. The tape's measurements began at the 3" mark.....not 0 or 1. I told them their tape
measure was "missing numbers." They looked at me like I was from Mars. "Hey, there's no numbers below 3" on your tape measure." Finally, they look at it and went completely silent. They were stunned. I think I added a few
comments like how long has this "unusual tape measure" been in use on other customers? The Postal Clerk went away to discuss the issue with a supervisor. It took about 5 minutes for them to figure out what to do.

I'd have taken stamps in trade. In the end they gave me back $3.00 cash even. Fair enough. Once back in the car I was quite amused by the whole thing. I should have taken a selfie with the Clerk and the "magic tape."

I would imagine the starting clip on this fabric tape measure was sheared off along the way and someone reattached it.....very expertly I might add. Certainly usable if you knew how to adjust for the 2" change.
I doubt it came to them new in that condition.
 
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Deafmoon

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That was probably just a broken tape measure at that Post Office. Though shipping all over has gone haywire. UPS & FedEx are no better.
 

Tama CW

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That was probably just a broken tape measure at that Post Office. Though shipping all over has gone haywire. UPS & FedEx are no better.
Well, it's a good thing no one here has one of "those" tape measures. Ran into one of those yesterday on a FB forum where a seller stated they had a potentially rare 24" NAK. They were asked more than once if they were sure it was a 24"?
And the reply was, "I know how to measure cymbals." And some hours later.....with a tape measure attached.....it measured 22". You can't get away from this stuff. That was 2X in one day for me.....LOL. You might see a TMZ special on this
soon.........Tape Measured Zildjians.
 

swarfrat

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I'm going with broken tape measure too. The employees of the post office have no incentive to gouge you, and a lot of disincentive if they get caught. Mail fraud is one of those things where the penalties are much higher than the same crime anywhere else.

Probably someone broke it, used it forever knowing to subtract three inches, then passed it along to someone who didn't get the memo.
 

JDA

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32.50 seems fair. right?
2 20" cymbals (pretty heavy) in a box insured? Sounds fair enough.
 

sixplymaple

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That’s government work for ya. They probably need to jump through 3 hoops, set themselves on fire, and fill out a book full of paperwork just to have that tape measure replaced. Then they probably have to justify their decision repeatedly to higher ups because the company is broke. They probably thought about buying a new one with their own money, but don’t get paid enough.

I’m not trying to defend their stupidity, but it’s probably more than that. Until you work with/for the government, you won’t get it lol.
 

Rich K.

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1. Measure, weigh and print your labels online at USPS.com. It will save you time, and most of the time the clerks don't remeasure, though they may re-weigh.
2. You will save money and get better service by using Fedex and UPS.
3. You will get significant discounts if you use the "print label" through Paypal, reverb and ebay.
 

Tama CW

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32.50 seems fair. right?
2 20" cymbals (pretty heavy) in a box insured? Sounds fair enough.
While a $3 error might be "reasonable" when taken in the totality of the complete cymbal transaction....it wasn't fair to me or the next guy(s).

Had the USPS receipt stated a 22" or 23" box at <12 lbs. I'd have been fine and not had any reason to question it.
Sometimes you have to stand up for what's right. That was a 10% pricing era. on their part. Whether at the grocery store, restaurant, or USPS.....I'll debate a possible 10% pricing era with them.
Multiply that 10% by "how many" packages got by them with that magic tape in use? Could be hundreds or thousands of dollars....who knows? The lady clerk was flustered in finding out the
error. I don't think she had a clue that it was messed up. And those were 20" 1950's A's in good weights of 2145-2175 gms each. At $90 each the whole transaction was tight.

Yeah, I could have shipped these through Reverb, UPS, etc. but it's a lot more work for me....more driving....more time....and probably a higher net cost to the buyer. Seller was OK with a max of $30 shipping so I was ok with that.
$15 shipping per cymbal is palatable.....and they didn't have to drive 600 miles round trip.
 
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mydadisjr

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I agree that you should pay what is correct and fair... but I also am too old to stand in line and then argue with a USPS employee. Lines at my main PO can be ridiculous.

That is why I sell thru Reverb almost exclusively... print the label at home and get a discount on shipping. No standing in line. No arguing with the USPS guy.

I am not sure why using Reverb shipping would involve more time and driving. Either way you have to drop the item off at USPS or UPS. USPS has a handy 24 hour drop box for pre-paid, couldn't be easier.

Also, the Reverb shipping discount, especially with UPS, can be quite substantial.

And NO, I do not work for Reverb.com.
 

gretschdrummer

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That was probably just a broken tape measure at that Post Office. Though shipping all over has gone haywire. UPS & FedEx are no better.

They’re a little better as they do have competition in shipping

Makes them somewhat better

Example at work we shop usps fedx ups
On every shipment and weigh measure it ourself

And reps from ups fedx contact us frequently to adjust and evaluate rates service etc

Usps never contacts us obviously
It’s take it or leave it
 
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jptrickster

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Warning: I'm about to go Postal. I'm sooo over USPS delays , the take forever travel around the country twice, stall out in the middle of east jesus shipments and all the NO SOUP FOR YOU DRAMA with HEAVY 'TUDE!! at the postage counter. You get none of that 'break yer balls' nonsense at the Fedex hub, They're actually very happy people.
 

gretschdrummer

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Warning: I'm about to go Postal. I'm sooo over USPS delays , the take forever travel around the country twice, stall out in the middle of east jesus shipments and all the NO SOUP FOR YOU DRAMA with HEAVY 'TUDE!! at the postage counter. You get none of that 'break yer balls' nonsense at the Fedex hub, They're actually very happy people.
because hopefully...you have choices...they have to be profitable to exist...no bailouts allowed lol

Not too say we don’t have issues with ups and fedx we do of course

But we do have somewhat of an option if things go south
And they want the business
It seems the post office sometimes doesn’t
 
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LRod1707

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I've noticed lately on some incoming USPS shipments that the tracking no longer shows an expected delivery day. It's nuts!
For selling I've exclusively been shipping via UPS. Just recently they've boosted ground shipments to arrive 1 day earlier than the usual transit time. It has a slightly higher cost but it's worth it and a UPS store is 2 blocks away from me. I buy the postage via eBay (after a sale) which has a huge discount and I drive 2 blocks over to drop it off. No faulty measuring tapes there, LOL!! So far no issues!
 

pwc1141

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I had something similar but it was at the seller's end when he went to a local delivery service. We had agreed his shipping cost estimate for a 22" cymbal but when he got to the delivery company they insisted on repacking in their next size up and charges were extra. He frantically phoned me and we agreed on the slight increase. Good news was that the local shipping cost was just over US$10 ......:) There are 3 or 4 local shipping/delivery companies like this here and all are very reasonably priced.
 


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