Inconsistencies…Always Irksome.

Years ago, we would take a few vacation days in the summer to go to the Wisconsin Dells, the Waterpark Capital of the World, or at least it used to be known as that. When our boys were younger we would pack up and go, staying one or two nights, usually not more than that. Our favorite place was the Great Wolf Lodge.  Many fond memories were made there both indoors and out on their slides, lazy river ride, and of course, the Tornado. We also enjoyed the racer slides as the boys got older.

But, occasionally we’d run into a problem with one of the younger boys. They would wear a “floatie” that was an outfit that had packing that consisted of foam.  More than once we were told they could not go down the slide with it on. But, the trouble with this was that often we had been in the water park for hours, going down the same tube or slide ride over and over with the floaties on! But, the guards would change, being rotated on to another ride, and invariably the new guard would deny our boys entry if they were wearing the floaties.  We were always on the rides/slides with our boys, so it wasn’t like we were sitting around and not attending to them. Our pleas never made a difference, despite the fact that they had been wearing the floaties on the slides already. We got the message, one guard was stricter than the next and it was all about the child’s (our child’s) safety.  So, invariably we’d take it off or move on to a different ride. Of course, children grow up and the floaties ceased to be an issue.

But, that story came to mind today when I went to the post office to mail a couple of fabric face masks that sold in my Etsy shop. I have not been charging postage for the masks and really just want to sell enough to be able to buy more fabric (see my post on fabric obsessed from the other day). Unfortunately, the postage for a single fabric mask, placed within a baggie and bubble mailer is upwards of $3.85.   I accepted this and kept my shipping free.

Then, the other day, I went to mail two masks in separate packages and the postmaster was at the window. I told him that I wanted to mail them “the cheapest way possible.” He kept feeling the packages, padding them down like they were going through the TSA scanner at the airport, and finally asked, “do you need tracking or anything?”

I answered, “No,” without really thinking about it. And, he said that I could mail them as a large envelope, as long as they were flat. “Awesome, that’s the way to do it,” I replied, very pleased!

“Yup,” he answered, as long as they are as flat as possible they can be mailed as large envelopes.  Bear in mind here that he never asked me what was in the envelopes, except confirming that they did not have any of their standard hazardous materials, asked about at each visit.  So, I came home really happy that one mailed for $1.00 and the other for $1.20.

As I thought about this, though, I was perplexed. I usually say, “cheapest way possible” especially if I am footing the bill for the shipping. Why had no one else told me about the large envelope option?

I’ve been back to the post twice since with masks packaged the same way, and had two more different postal workers. I asked each to mail them as a large envelope and each time I had to explain that the postmaster did this for me last week, and then, ask why couldn’t I do it now? I had to ask after each of them denied my request.

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The first person, when I told her what the postmaster did, went and asked another postal worker and then came back and ran the transactions (again, it was for two separate masks in two separate FLAT bubble mailers) as large envelopes.  I could tell she wasn’t happy. The second person, also turned cold today when I asked her to process my two mailers as large envelopes. “We can’t,” she told me.

“Why,” I asked politely. And, again recounted the actions of the postmaster last week.

“Well, what’s in them? Is it just papers?” she asked.

“Honestly,” I answered. “No,” I said, “they are both masks.”

“The large envelope option is for flat papers,” she said.  “Really, nothing else.”

She added that we could send them as large envelopes but the customer might be charged on the other end. I certainly did not want that, so today I paid $7.95 to mail two large envelopes with masks as opposed to paying the $1.20, I did last week.

Do you see the connection with the Dell’s here? INCONSISTENCY!  I am not pleased about the postage discrepancy and feel I need to do something about it. My choices are to start charging my customers for shipping. Or, I can look into having a postal scale and STAMPS.com account avoiding my trips to the post office and mailing as large envelopes. I’m not sure the second option is worth it. But, it might be. I’ll have to do some research.

Unfortunately, the lack of consistency is a sign of the problems in our society today.

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