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Seed Trading: When Did Postage for Bubble Mailers Get so Expensive??

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ButterflyChaser
Northeast, AR
(Zone 7a)

October 29, 2012
7:35 PM

Post #9319661

I mailed a small bubble mailer with 3 packs of tiny seeds in it today and it cost $1.95!! I was told that it's considered a parcel, which I already knew. But the starting rate for a parcel now is $1.95 and it goes up from there. Holy cow!!! I remember not so long ago people were complaining that 60 cents to mail a bubble mailer was too much and now it's over 3 times that cost. WOW! I haven't traded seeds in a long time. I guess postage has gone up to match the cost of gas!

I suppose I won't be trading seeds anymore. I refuse to send them out in a regular envelope where they can get ground into dust in the sorting machines at the different post offices they go thru on the their journey. I'm just shocked at this increase. The last package of seeds I sent out cost me about $1.25, but $2 for a little packet of seeds seems excessive to me.

How are y'all managing the costs these days? Are you doing much trading? And how much is your PO charging?

NancyAnn
Kim_M
Hamburg, PA
(Zone 6b)

October 30, 2012
5:24 AM

Post #9319890

Well I wouldn't stop trading seeds...because you can loose out on that special seed you may be looking for :-) Yesterday I spent $10.00 on a pack of 5 seeds (this included the sellers shipping) now that seems like highway robbery!!...But if someone had them here... I would have been happy to spend $1.00 postage for them. I still can send a bubble envelope for 90 cents (flat, no thickness). But I don't because I like to use delivery confirmation so I print my postage online and can send up to 4 ounces in a bubble for $1.81 or up to 3 ounces for $1.64. This is when it becomes a package. You can get a lot of seeds in the bubble up to 4 ounces. Otherwise you can send a bubble in a plain envelope for $1.05 cent.

Printing postage online is less expensive then using the Post Office. I just found out when I tried to buy postage for a Flat Rate box with delivery confirmation. It came up to $6.30 and I questioned the clerk...I told her it's $5.15 to mail a Small Flat Rate Box. She explained the extra cost and that it's cheaper to print your postage online. Delivery confirmation is .$95 when purchased at the Post office and Free online. Also that the Flat rate box fees are more if you buy the postage in the Post office :-/...Ain't that a blip??
ButterflyChaser
Northeast, AR
(Zone 7a)

October 30, 2012
7:40 AM

Post #9320060

I knew priority mail was cheaper online. That's the only way I send stuff.

My mail clerk told me that any bubble mailer starts at a rate of $1.95 and goes up from there, depending on weight and distance.

What are you using to print out postage that isn't Priority or Express, Kim? When go to print, I don't get rates for regular mail, so I just stopped shipping that way. Of course, when I trade, I trade plants. I really don't like waiting for seeds to germinate. I like the instant gratification of seeing a live plant when I open a box. So usually I'm just giving away seeds. Usually I want rarer seeds which I have to buy.

I think postage is cheaper online because we're doing the clerk's job--keying in all the info. Then the clerk only has to scan the Scan form and she's done. I love doing it online--not just to save money, but to save time too. If I don't have time to stand in line to get the Scan form scanned, I can just leave the boxes and scan form on the counter and I can be on my way. The clerk will scan it when she gets to it. Technology is awesome, isn't it?
Kim_M
Hamburg, PA
(Zone 6b)

October 30, 2012
7:53 AM

Post #9320083

Ohhhh I use Stamps.com because I sell online and I ship Internationally often. First class postage isn't an option when you uses USPS.com. I couldn't live without my Stamps.com and been using it for almost 10 years. But it's not worth it for someone who doesn't need to ship daily (monthly fee). I like instant gratification too but I guess I'm the opposite. Because I love the success, challenge, and watching them grow from seeds. Some plants are easy to trade for and there are many that are impossible to buy. I have grown many plants from seeds that can't be purchased :-)
dmac085
Greensboro, NC
(Zone 7a)

October 30, 2012
10:49 AM

Post #9320241

Some of the things I do for enjoyment (seed & plant trading or book swapping) I just factor the cost in. I collect many seeds which is free or have had tons of generous trades given to me. If a dger has seeds I really want and it was a one way (them sending to me) I wouldn't have any issue paying postage ever and up front. I know everyones financial situations are different but for me, I don't have or need the most current electronics, car, have a 7+ yr old pc (dial up thank you:lol:), don't drink or smoke or take expensive vacations. My garden and acquiring stuff for it and sharing with others is for enjoyment so as long as I am able to share I will.

The post office saves on payroll and overhead if the client is doing the clerks job from their home and while I want people employed I can't stand going to the PO and I have a terrific little branch that I use with very nice even tempered organized clerks:lol:
Kim_M
Hamburg, PA
(Zone 6b)

October 30, 2012
11:23 AM

Post #9320275

Dial up?? Now that would just about be painful for me...LOL. But I totally feel the same as you do with the same outlook. My gardens are everything to me and I will spend on a plant what I might not spend on a pair of shoes...ha ha! I'm purchasing a greenhouse soon and it's gonna cost me thousands when it's all over with (adding my wants..heating system...etc). And some would think it's too much...but it will be my happiness and like my sports car (if I had one) ha ha!

As far as last nights storm (Sandy). Only damage was this tree next to my house...Thank God it's over!

Thumbnail by Kim_M
Click the image for an enlarged view.

lanakila

lanakila
Holly Springs, NC
(Zone 7b)

October 30, 2012
11:55 AM

Post #9320291

Be careful with those Flat-Rate boxes! I did the calculations once and unless you are cramming some pretty darned heavy stuff in those boxes, you are spending too much. The break even for the medium boxes is 5 lbs and 9 lbs for the large. I'm generally sending bareroots or certainly not-that-heavy of plants, so it is worth it to look into the non-flat-rate prices. And, yes, postage is cheaper if you print it from the usps website.
Kim_M
Hamburg, PA
(Zone 6b)

October 30, 2012
1:33 PM

Post #9320373

Yesssss I only use Flat rate boxes if my contents are heavy or if they are going West. To send over a pound to CA for me is automatically over $8.00 if it's even 1 ounce over a pound. Sometimes it's needed because I send 4 to 5 pounds of plants.
ButterflyChaser
Northeast, AR
(Zone 7a)

October 30, 2012
1:39 PM

Post #9320374

I often send across the country too, and I ship a lot of plants in one box, so then Flat Rate is usually the most cost effective for me too, Kim. To ship to a neighboring state, it's cheaper to use the regular priority rate.

I don't ship out a lot anymore since I've discovered some awesome nurseries in TN and MS that carry the more unusual plants. They get a lot of the Terra Nova plants that I crave, so I let them grow them a bit and then I go get their well established plants. I'm already looking forward to next spring so I can go on another "plant safari". LOL
tikipod
(Ang) Bremerton, WA
(Zone 8b)

October 30, 2012
1:59 PM

Post #9320383

O_o Nothing to see here. o_O

This message was edited Oct 30, 2012 1:09 PM
Tropicman
Bushland, TX
(Zone 6a)

October 30, 2012
2:08 PM

Post #9320390

Whats a buck 95 among making me happy!!!!!LOL Its only money! Money Money!!!!Some people go to Starbucks and pay 5 bucks for a cup of JOE!
Sorry for buttin in!!!!!
risingcreek
sun city, CA
(Zone 9a)

October 30, 2012
2:22 PM

Post #9320401

the clerk at the PO here told me it is the thickness of the envelope that helps determine the cost. if it is more that 1/4 inch thick you get charged the highest price. they even have this mold with slots of different thicknesses to slide the envelopes through to determine what to charge. so an 1/8 inch thick bubble envelope could cost way less than one that is more than 1/4 inch thick. makes no sense to me.
ButterflyChaser
Northeast, AR
(Zone 7a)

October 30, 2012
4:04 PM

Post #9320499

Any bubble mailer these days is considered a "parcel". Your clerk was probably referring to a regular white envelope with bubble wrap in it. If it's less than 1/4 inch thick, they will send it thru the sorters and big seeds can be crushed to dust or the envelope gets stuck and is ripped open when they try to pull it out of the sorter and the seeds get scattered all over the post office. The commercial bubble mailers are hand-sorted and are not sent thru the sorting machines. That's supposedly why they cost more. It seems silly to consider them parcels now when they used to be considered envelopes and priced as envelopes.

It's been a year or so since I mailed seeds, so I was just shocked to see that a one ounce bubble mailer had gone up 70 cents in a year. Not really a biggie for me since I don't trade seeds these days. I was just sending some seeds to another DGer as a gift. I had affixed what I thought was the correct postage and then had to add more at the P.O. Not a big deal; I was just caught off guard.

LazLo

LazLo
Austin, TX
(Zone 8b)

November 2, 2012
12:04 PM

Post #9322867

if your post office branch will not let you mail the bubbies as First Class Package - - you are getting screwed

i spend 65¢ unless i want to put dc on it . . . anything up to an ounce.

This message was edited Nov 2, 2012 1:05 PM
ButterflyChaser
Northeast, AR
(Zone 7a)

November 2, 2012
1:28 PM

Post #9322933

That's what I was thinking, Lazlo. I used to mail out a lot of SASEs for less than a buck for 4 or 5 packs of seeds and less than $2 for 15 or more packs of seeds. This bubble mailer only weight an ounce!

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

November 2, 2012
8:37 PM

Post #9323278

LazLo,

I recall when the first ounce of a FC Package was only 65-75 cents, but that was a while ago.
Then the first three ounce all cost $1.71, and then the first 3 ounces all cost $1.95.

Last I checked, FC Packages were::

Weight Not Over Price
1 oz $1.95
2 oz $1.95
3 oz $1.95
4 oz $2.12
5 oz $2.29
6 oz $2.46
7 oz $2.63
8 oz $2.80
9 oz $2.97
10 oz $3.14
11 oz $3.31
12 oz $3.48
13 oz $3.65

That is over-the-counter, NO delivery confirmation and NO 'non-machinable surcharge (the surcharge would not apply to a FC Package anyway, justb FC Letter or maybe Large Envelope)..

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

November 2, 2012
8:42 PM

Post #9323282

For an yone would a double degree in Law and Packaging Engineering, here are some of the USPS rules about First-Class letters. Enjoy!

1.2 Nonmachinable Criteria

A letter-size piece is nonmachinable (see 6.4) if it has one or more of the following
characteristics (see 601.1.4 to determine the length, height, top, and bottom of a
mailpiece):

a. Has an aspect ratio (length divided by height) of less than 1.3 or more than 2.5.

b. Is polybagged, polywrapped, enclosed in any plastic material, or has an exterior
surface made of a material that is not paper. Windows in envelopes made of
paper do not make mailpieces nonmachinable. Attachments allowable under
applicable eligibility standards do not make mailpieces nonmachinable.

c. Has clasps, strings, buttons, or similar closure devices.

d. Contains items such as pens, pencils, keys, or coins
that cause the thickness of the mailpiece to be uneven;
or loose keys or coins or similar objects not
affixed to the contents within the mailpiece.

Loose items may cause a letter to be nonmailable when mailed in paper envelopes; (see 601.2.3, Odd-Shaped
Items in Paper Envelopes).

e. Is too rigid (does not bend easily when subjected to a transport belt tension of
40 pounds around an 11-inch diameter turn).

f. For pieces more than 4-1/4 inches high or 6 inches long, the thickness is less
than 0.009 inch.

g. Has a delivery address parallel to the shorter dimension of the mailpiece.

h. Is a self-mailer that is not prepared according to 201.3.14.

i. Is a booklet that is not prepared according to 201.3.15.


... And the "201.3 rules" are even MORE fun than these.
When the PO clerk says "you can't", there probably IS some rule that bac ks her up.
But not always.
And it is hard to tell without an advanced degree in bull manure!

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

November 2, 2012
8:43 PM

Post #9323283

The first three ounces of First Class Package are now all the same price ($1.95), so you might as well pack a lot of bonus packets into any mailer you send someone.

65 cents PER ounce doesn't sound bad, but you have to pay for the whole 3 ounces no matter how light yours is.

Anything has to be thinner than 1/4" to go as a "First Class Letter".
It also has be uniformly flat and maybe even stiff.

Anyway, I haven't found any commercial bubble mailers that thin. But I bought a case of 250 from ULINE to make the bubble mailers themselves cheaper.

I made one attempt at a fancy semi-rigid First Class Letter seed mailer that I miked under 0.250", but the post office has a template with a slit that catches on almost anything. I think, to pass that test reliably, I would need to be less than 0.2" "for real".

I was trying to make a "First Class envelope" that would resist the Crusher.
My idea was to start with a Christmas card bought for 80% off, in January.
Build a firm little chipboard "frame" around the rim that's 0.15" thick.
Leave a big square hole in the middle (like hiding something in a hollowed-out book.
Tape the Zip-locs inside the hole.

In theory, the Crusher's rollers should be held apart by the chipboard (which is non-corrugated cardboard so it won't crush, like cereal boxes or six-packs).

The Christmas cards plus regular envelope are intended to meet the Post Office rule about "irregular thickness". It can't be a First Class Letter if it has "irregular thickness".

They also have some rule about "intended for flat sheets of paper". I've learned to avoid one Post Office where they delight in saying "you c an't, becuase...".

Next time I'm going to the one where the nice lady said "sure".

What hinks me opff is that they claim to offer "hand cancel only" or "non-machinable surcharge" for only 20 cents extra. That would be great. But my annoying office still won't take a floppy shape for the FC Letter rate + 20 cent surcharge. I was told that "THEY" would still try to push it into the rollers anyway "because they're lazy". GRRR!

I know a guy whom worked on the original USPS sortyation system. It is a high-speed mega-machi9ne and I underatnd not wanting to jam 50 envelopes at a time into a big wad, then pulling bits of paper out of a $100,000 machine for 20 minutes while it sits idle. But then DON'T CALL IT a 20 cent non-machineable surcharge.


I print Fisrt Class Package Postage from PayPal and get free confirmation without standing in line. Plus a few % off on the base postage. But the label is bigger than a business envelope!


I've learned that you can measure the amount of crushing with a few Brassica seeds in a soft plastic Zip-loc. The seeds dent the plastic visibly if they squeezed not-quite-enough to crush them. It would probably be smart to make a seed mix that would really tell you rthe exact width the rollers en forced: some big, medium, small and tiny seeds. The biggest WHOLE seed left tells you how far the rollers clamped down.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 2, 2012
9:10 PM

Post #9323302

For a little different twist, I've sent seeds in this manner and as yet have had no complaints on the seeds being damaged.

In a plain envelope... I cut a envelope sized piece of bubble wrap (small bubbles) and attach the package of seeds to the bubble wrap with tape.

One layer of bubbles only and the envelope, allows the seeds to be cushioned and the envelope to travel for the price of one stamp.

Has anyone else tried that with success or failure? Kristi
ButterflyChaser
Northeast, AR
(Zone 7a)

November 2, 2012
10:56 PM

Post #9323328

Kristi, I received an envelope mailed your way, but it arrived shredded with NO seeds inside. It had gotten stuck in a sorter machine and the post office put it in one of their envelopes and sent it on to me with a note saying that it was empty. It wasn't empty when it was sent, but the thickness of it caused it to get stuck and shredded. The trader had sent the last of her seeds, so she couldn't send me more--5 special packs that I had wanted at that time. So I got nothing from our trade.

I've received other packages shipped the same way, but the seeds were crushed, as well as most of the bubbles in the bubble wrap. I quit shipping in this manner and asked that any traders I dealt with not send this way either. I hear people say frequently that they've never had a problem with this technique, but I won't chance it again.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 3, 2012
4:07 AM

Post #9323385

Fair enough ~ that is good to know.

Perhaps our small rural P.O. and those enroute haven't use those sorting machines as I've been in contact with the seed recipients with no complaints.

Should I ever send you some, please do remind me. 8 )

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

November 3, 2012
2:43 PM

Post #9323770

I've also gotten envelopes-with-small-bubble-wrap. Always some or most of the bubbles were popped, and the seed survival varied a lot. And I've noticed that very few people sending from an urban-sounding address try to use flat envelopes.

Sending from my Seattle area, anything near or over 1/4" thick has to pay the FC Package rate. Anything under (or near) 1/4" paying FC Letter rate will be more or less crushed.

>> Perhaps our small rural P.O. and those enroute haven't use those sorting machines

That's my theory, also. I think it depends most on where you ship FROM, because any urban center with sortation-crushers would use them to bag outgoing mail more cheaply.

I think there is some variation when mailbags arrive at an urban destination. Maybe it depends on whether the arriving bag is already sorted all the down to specific ZIP codes.

By the way, due to the very high-speed nature of the machinery, if one envelope jams, dozens of them get jammed at the same time. So we not only lose our seeds, but dozens of other letters are damaged or destroyed.

That gives me some sympathy for the USPS enforcing "thin, flat" rules on the cheap Letter rate. But it makes me pull my hair out when a PO clerk tells me that "THEY will try to put it through the rollers if it is even close to 1/4 inch". Arrgh!

DonnaB
Vancleave, MS
(Zone 8b)

November 3, 2012
4:16 PM

Post #9323845

rate increases for Jan 2013
http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2012/pr12_114.htm
zinniared
Virginia Beach, VA
(Zone 8a)

November 26, 2012
2:53 PM

Post #9343179

If I'm just trading a few varieties of seeds that are not bulky, I send them
in a card with some bubble wrap. The cards are stiff, and I think help
protect them from getting torn up in the post office rollers. I find thank you
cards, christmas cards, at the second hand store really cheap. A whole
bag of them for $1.95..Sometimes if it's a little thick I will put 2 stamps.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

December 28, 2012
5:52 PM

Post #9369432

Butterfly--

You can mail quite a few seeds in a regular envelope--as long as they are not too bulky.
I do this often--I put them between two index cards and tape the edges shut with scotch tape,
just so they don't shift.
Then I just put one stamp on it and they always go. As long as it is under 1oz.
Even if it is 2oz.--it will still go for a lot cheaper. I suppose that some PO's are not as strict, or do
not have these sorters--or do not have time...

I have found that, if you take anything to the PO for postage, they will sock it to you.
Like large X-mas cards--you will pay more--not if your mailman just picks them up at your house...
I have curb side mail p/u. They do not pay much attention and all my seeds and cards always get to where they need to go.

I am a miser--through and through--and try to be as frugal as i can get away with..

Gita

Doug9345
Durhamville, NY
(Zone 5b)

December 28, 2012
6:33 PM

Post #9369455

I just mailed a small bubble envelope out for 90 cents after questioning the $1.95. It helps that I go to a small post office and I'm friendly with the staff. It makes a difference if they are trying to find to find a rule that says you can't or one that says you can.
ButterflyChaser
Northeast, AR
(Zone 7a)

December 29, 2012
11:13 AM

Post #9369903

Gitagal, the problem with using regular envelopes is that they go thru the sorters. Seeds can get crushed and then you have to resend IF you have more of those seeds. Sometimes you don't so your trader gets disappointed. Also, in the sorters, envelopes can get stuck in the sorters and mangled, in which case the seeds can get scattered all over the postal floor and postal workers aren't going to pick them back up and stuff them inside. I received an envelope with NOTHING in it because it had gotten stuck in a sorter and ripped open. The trader had sent 5 packages of rare seeds and had no more to send, so I got nothing altho she got everything I sent, after spending the extra postage to mail in a bubble mailer. I won't send seeds in a regular envelope and now, when trading, I specify that the sender must also use a commercial bubble mailer. I've been disappointed too many times; I just won't risk it.
Doug9345
Durhamville, NY
(Zone 5b)

December 29, 2012
1:55 PM

Post #9370029

I have a feeling that it depends on the particular sorting machine and it's operators. I just sent tomato seed out. With the single packet I sent I put a cardboard ring around it so that the rollers couldn't hit it. The multipack one I sent I put in a bubble envelope because I couldn't figure out how to protect the seed so it wouldn't be hit with a roller.

legallyheidi

legallyheidi
Griffin, GA
(Zone 8a)

December 30, 2012
7:09 PM

Post #9370931

I agree...I think it depends on the post office worker, as well as the post office. I always tell them to mark it fragile and send it the cheapest way. Sometimes it's as cheap as $1.11, and other times it's $1.95. There are three post offices in my town...all seem to have different prices for a light packet of seeds.

I have mailed small amount of lettuce before using a paper towel and a regular envelope...it costs more than mailing a letter (I think its either 90 or 95 cents), and they mark it "Hand Sort", so it doesn't go through the machine. I wouldn't risk it with bulkier seeds, though I once had corn seeds mailed to me in one.
ButterflyChaser
Northeast, AR
(Zone 7a)

December 31, 2012
10:02 AM

Post #9371337

You also have to realize that the envelope may be sorted at several POs on its journey. Your PO may hand sort but at other POs, if it's flat enough to go thru the sorter, it's probably going thru the sorter. They have so much mail they have to get sorted each day and the sorting machines are faster. So to save time, they'll throw anything in them that they can. They figure if the item is fragile, it will be in a bubble mailer or box, so if you're not concerned about anything getting crushed, they aren't either.

Also, remember that if you don't put enough postage on the envelope, your trading partner may have to pay "postage due". That's happened to me a few times too.

There doesn't seem to be much consistency in all the different POs. I guess even the postal workers are confused. With the last rate change, where they started counting bubble mailers as "parcels", I had to inform the postal clerk. I didn't want my package to arrive and my trading partner having to pay the extra postage.

I guess it's still cheaper than a gallon of gas though. LOL

legallyheidi

legallyheidi
Griffin, GA
(Zone 8a)

December 31, 2012
12:51 PM

Post #9371493

I once had to pay 40 cents on a seed package I received one time...it was rare stuff, so I didn't really mind ;)

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 2, 2013
4:56 PM

Post #9373571

>> It helps that I go to a small post office and I'm friendly with the staff. It makes a difference if they are trying to find to find a rule that says you can't or one that says you can.

You hit it on the head!

One clerk told me that it didn't matter if I paid the 20 cent "non-machinable surcharge" that is the new name for "hand sort only". She said that if it was close to fitting through the rollers, "they" would push it in because that's easier. I guess the poeple that push the envelopes in aren't the ones who have too dig the jam out of the machine.

Once I got some Brassica seeds that were not obviously crushed, but I could see where the soft Zip-loc plastic had been dented by a seed being forced into it. I've often found that a plain envelope plus bubble wrap arrives with some of the bubbles popped.

I need to find some largish inexpensive seed that is also fragile. Then I'll experiment with a cardboard ring like Doug, using the fragile seeds as canaries to tell the recipient whether or not I had protected it enough.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

January 2, 2013
7:20 PM

Post #9373677

I have to admit that i have never been on the receiving end of mailed seeds. I am always the "giver'--
not the "taker". I have so many seeds--I gladly share them--only for postage.
No one has EVER contacted me and said any seeds arrived crushed or damaged.
I have a load of very positive feedback.
It is scary reading all the things you all have written above.

I have an old postal scale--and I used to just weigh my bubble Envelopes and put 2 stamps on them.
Put them in my curb mailbox for pick up--and off they went. Never got one back.

I wonder if there is a big difference whether you mail the envelopes as at-home pick up--
OR--you take them to the PO and let them tell you how much it costs???????
I know they sock it to you.

I once had the man at my PO tell me that, if i stopped writing on my BE --"Live plant material--
please keep from freezing"...or some such. they take it more as a package, not just and envelope with regular stuff in it.
He was being helpful--because he knows how many times I mail plants and cuttings.
Lesson learned.

Same goes for the larger greeting cards. They have a square drawn on their scale. If the envelope is bigger than the square--
it will cost you more.
Half of all the X-mas cards we mail are bigger than this square. Yet--they would NEVER get anything done if they sorted out
all the cards we mail and then returned them for more postage. BUT--you take it to the PO--and you will pay extra.

Every business is out to make as much money as they can--including the PO.

Gita
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

January 2, 2013
8:09 PM

Post #9373721

I often mail in the regular size envelope which meets the size requirement and use a card to tape the little baggies to, distributing them evenly so the thickness does not vary. instead of bubble wrap, I use this stuff that is thinner but still soft and springy. It comes in sheets and is used in packing lots of things. I dont know where to buy it. i just save any that comes thru my hands. I cut a piece that when folded double, fits inside a regular business size envy. I place the seeds taped to the card between the fold, in the envy and mail with one stamp. I would not try this with large seeds but things no bigger than tomato seeds are not harmed. Ive even received tomato seeds in the tiny ziplock in a naked business envelop and they were OK. The only time Ive ever received pulverized seed was when I attempted to send some small seeds overseas in a commercial bubble mailer and the address was undeliverable and they were sent back to me...pulverized.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

January 3, 2013
6:42 AM

Post #9373948

steadycam3--

I do exactly what you do--but use regular-sized envelopes.

I tape the little zip-baggies of seeds to an index card, put a small piece of that flat packing foam over
the seed packages, tape another index card over it and off it goes for one stamp.
This way, the contents are fairly flat and equally distributed. Maybe this is the secret?
As I said--if i am not sure, I weigh the envelope on my postal scale to make sure it is under 1oz.

I have sent bigger seeds the same way--like Wintersweet seeds, which are the size of some beans--
just a bit flatter, 4 O'clock seeds and MG seeds--which are the size of peppercorns.
All for one stamp.

I would never want to take one of these envelopes to the PO. They would be too nosy what is inside.

Gita

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

January 3, 2013
1:42 PM

Post #9374384

I ship with Paypal shipping labels, which is cheaper. I also need the tracking number for customers. I buy the package of 6" x 9.25" bubble mailers from Walmart and cut them as needed in half for seeds. I can't see sending a full size envelope if shipping a few seeds.

In Paypal, I click First Class thick envelope 2 oz, according to my digital scale. I also recycle padded envelopes when I get them.

Every penny count and I pass savings on to customers.

The mailperson will pick up packages free if you schedule a pickup. Nice service when it snows.
Buttoneer
Carlisle, PA
(Zone 6b)

January 3, 2013
2:19 PM

Post #9374427

I sent out several seed trades, 3 of which went to E. Europe @ $ 3.00 each, all put in small bubblewrap mailers. Don't know if they are still available but here's the info: Mailers and More. 1-800-981-9064. www.MailersAndMore.com. Mailers are white and 5" X 5". Hope this helps. Buttoneer.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 3, 2013
2:26 PM

Post #9374437

Blomma,

>> 6" x 9.25" bubble mailers from Walmart and cut them as needed in half for seeds.

>> In Paypal, I click First Class thick envelope 2 oz, according to my digital scale.

I like the idea of cutting bubble mailers in half! I finally bought a case of 250 from ULINE to get the $39 price (15.6 c ents each, but add the ULINE S&H). Kraft bubble mailer S-9985 #0 6x10" outside. It is over 1/4" empty so it can't ever go as a First Class Letter.

I seem to recall the PayPal label being huge. Does it really fit sidewise on 1/2 of a 6" x 9.25" without wrapping around? Maybe their FC Parcel label is bigger than their FC Thick Envelope / Flat.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 3, 2013
2:26 PM

Post #9374439

Gita,

Maybe your BE are thinner than 1/4", so they can go as First Class Letters? I thought anything thicker than 1/4" was "supposed" to be a Package (or "First Class Parcel") which now costs $1.95 for the first 3 ounces.

Maybe they were giving you the 88-cent price for "Large Envelope" or "Flat". They have to be "uniformly thick" and 1/4" to 3/4" thick. I thought that was only for a stack of paper (hence "envelope" and "flat".) I see that price has gone up to $0.90 to $1.30 for the first three ounces. But 90 cents is still two first-class stamps.

https://www.usps.com/ship/first-class.htm

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

January 3, 2013
2:36 PM

Post #9374451

Rick--

IF I use BE--they are more than 1/4" as they have the padding inside and pay the $1.95
IF I send something in a BE--I do go to the Po and pay the price...

A few years ago--I used to just slap on 2 stamps and send them off--but now the price is higher
and i do not want to have them come back to me.

It is the regular envelopes that I just put in my mail box for pick up.
Quite a bit of seed packets can be put in one of these...described as above.

Also--when people reimburse me for the postage--i always ask that they send me stamps
instead of cash or a check. We all can use more stamps.

Gita


RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 3, 2013
3:06 PM

Post #9374477

I imagine that I save a few cents using PayPal or even the USPS online postage printer. We have a nice laser printer at work so I don't worrry about inkjet postage smearing or blurring.

When I go to the PO, there is always a line and often a long line. But I will use their "ATM ". The clerk at the desk always seems to find that it wieghs one ounce more than my scale says, or the ATM scale says.

That PO is staffed by people that always look for the rules that say I CAN'T do something.
Or I could drive 20 minutes to another PO, where they look for rules that say I CAN.

(I'm borrowing the "rules" quote from someon e else, but it describes my PO experience perfectly. I think when people fail the police entrance exam, one PO gets all the "Good Cops" and the other PO gets all the "Bad Cops".)

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

January 3, 2013
4:18 PM

Post #9374533

Rick,
Paypal labels are large and completely covers the BM that I cut in half. It works.

I have a digital scale that I test every so often with a 2 pound bar bell. A year or so ago, when I brought down one of my orders that was in a small box to be mailed. The PO was about to close so the guy weight the box and told me it weight more than was printed on The Paypal label. Bull! He let it be but I have a feeling that the PO scales are set to weigh more than the actual weight. I know Walmart's scales are.

So there is your answer Rick

I forgot to add that Click'n Ship is cheaper also but it doesn't handle First Class.

This message was edited Jan 3, 2013 5:19 PM

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 3, 2013
8:20 PM

Post #9374750

I was surpised the frirst time I weighed something on THEIR ATM scale, and the clerk added an ounce.

I wasn't as surprised the second time it happened.

As long as "the story" is different every time I mail something, I'm going to trust FedEx and UPS more ... but save money whenever I can, even if it means gambling on the PO.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

January 4, 2013
9:49 AM

Post #9375205

Rick,
I rarely buy postage (except stamps) at the post office, unless a payment came in the form of money order to be shipped First Class. Then Paypal has no record of it so can't be used.

It's great not to have to stand in line for postage.
kilngod
Gettysburg, PA
(Zone 6b)

January 13, 2013
2:16 PM

Post #9383882

**You have to insist that they use the "First-Class Mail: Shape-Based Pricing Template". As per that federal PO policy, bubble envelopes are to be mailed as "large envelopes" because they exceed the normal thickness. Do NOT believe a person behind the desk that because the bubble envie is thick, it goes as a package. That is wrong. Cite notice # 3-S, June 2007. I have a plastic template provided by the USPS administrators themselves. It has slots for putting an envelope through, to prove it is not too thick for "regular envelope" or "large envelope". Do not fault them too much -- they do not know the proper regulations, but their higher ups do expect them to, and are dissappointed when they do not.

Now all this said, you cannot have bubble envies that are:
More than 3/4" thick (large envelope limit), or 1/4" thick (regular envelope limit),
Cut-down to the point that they are no longer an aspect ratio (length divided by the height) of less than 1.3 or more than 2.5 -- or all bets are off. Then it becomes an "unmachinable", and that is another story. "Normal range" envelope proportions only.

*You can also ask them to procure one of these templates to have behind their counter. They should. You may be able to get one for yourself, if kind and persistant enough. :)

--Tina


This message was edited Jan 13, 2013 5:20 PM

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

January 13, 2013
3:36 PM

Post #9383959

Tina,
I ship with Paypal labels and click on "package or thick envelope". It usually cost me $1.64 for 3 oz. I have a digital postal scale, and use bubble envelopes. Never had a problem.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 14, 2013
2:48 PM

Post #9384967

Thanks very much, ... but rats! I have a whole case of # 0 bubble mailers with outside dimensions 7"x9". Aspect ratio = 1.286 which is less than 1.3.

If I squint, it might be 7" x 9.25" ... aspect ratio = 1.32.

I guess I should fold the flap to maximize the length, and try for the "First Class Large Envelope" rate, once called "flats". That should drop my postage from $1.95 down to $0.90 or $1.30. Good deal!

And if I cut in half lengthwise, like Blooma, 7" x 4.5" aspect ratio = 1.56. Ideal!

But I better run the address "the long way"
or the aspect ratio will be 0.643
and I'll go the Federal prison.

P.S. I think that "First Class Large Envelopes" need to be "UNIFORMLY THICK", so I should tape bulky pkts to a card, to keep them from bunching up and bulging the bubble mailer.
dmac085
Greensboro, NC
(Zone 7a)

January 14, 2013
5:25 PM

Post #9385145

I've received a couple of seed trades that were sent like that Rick, they were taped to stay distributed evenly and stay that way during travel:)

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 14, 2013
6:29 PM

Post #9385207

I just received a fat First Class Letter from YellowTLover with multiple pkts of seeds, including snow pea pod peas. They were taped cleverly and the envelope was constructed from heaqvy paper to wsrap the b undles tightly, preventing them from moving.

The peas and other Ziplocks were not obviously mashed.

So either the force of the rollers was so well distributed that nothing was crushed, or that PO sorts by hand and it never went through an automated transfer station.

LazLo

LazLo
Austin, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 15, 2013
11:01 AM

Post #9385972

First let me say that I have NO CLUE as to why so many folks are having problems with getting the CORRECT postage for their bubble mailers.

Here's what I do:

ANY sized envelope that has a bubble wrap inner lining and does not exceed one (1) ounce gets one (1) FOREVER stamp (currently 45¢, soon to be 46¢) and one (1) 20¢ stamp (featuring my hero George W., the First) . . . that is only 65¢ . . . btw, that is the ONLY reason the USPS makes a 65¢ stamp (which I sometimes also employ) - - - When the new rate goes into effect in the last week of this month, they will phase out the 65¢ stamp and we'll be offered a new 66¢ stamp - - BECAUSE that is the cost of sending ONE OUNCE via First Class Mail including a 20¢ surcharge (which is not going up) for having a piece of first-class mail that is lumpy or is thicker than ¼ inch.



This message was edited Jan 17, 2013 12:43 AM

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 15, 2013
11:39 AM

Post #9386033

Are you sure about those prices for First Class Package rate? I think they are a few years old. Here's what I see. Recently they made the first three ounces all the same price (8-12 months ago?)

Weight Price
Not
Over
1 oz $1.95
2 oz $1.95
3 oz $1.95
4 oz $2.12
5 oz $2.29
6 oz $2.46
7 oz $2.63
8 oz $2.80
9 oz $2.97
10 oz $3.14
11 oz $3.31
12 oz $3.48
13 oz $3.65

Check the current pricing file here:

https://www.usps.com/ship/first-class.htm

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 15, 2013
11:45 AM

Post #9386043

>> one (1) FOREVER stamp and one (1) 20¢ stamp ... the cost of sending ONE OUNCE via First Class Mail including a 20¢ surcharge (which is not going up) for having a piece of first-class mail that is lumpy or is thicker than 1/4 inch.

I agree that's the cost of sending one ounce as a First Class Letter plus the non-machinable surcharge ("hand cancel only"). LETTER rate. However, my understanding and the USPS website statement under "Rules and Restrictions" is that a "FC Letter" still has to meet these rules even if it is not machinable:

https://www.usps.com/ship/first-class.htm
--------------------
Letters:
- Must be rectangular.
- Minimum size is 5" long x 3 1/2" high x 0.007” thick.
- Maximum size of 11 1/2" long x 6 1/8" high x 1/4” thick.
- Maximum weight is 3.5 oz.

- A letter will be charged a nonmachinable surcharge if it’s a square letter 5" x 5" or larger, it doesn’t bend easily, has clasps or similar closure devices, has an address parallel to the shorter dimension of the letter, is lumpy, or the length divided by height is less than 1.3 or more than 2.5.
-------------

Over 1/4", it's not a "Letter" and has to go by some different base rate. That's my belief and I've been told that by multiple PO clerks, including several non-jerks. Notice that it doesn't say "you will be charged 20 cents extra if it is thicker than 1/4 inch".

Anyway, that's my 2 cents, or 44 cents, or 66, or $1.95. Inflation is terrible!

Possibly the postal clerk whimsey that we all experience has worked out well for you - maybe your clerk or PO take your 65 cent Packages (bubble mailers) as if they were FC Letters despite the USPS regulations. Or maybe you have some of the cool "thin" bubble mailers.

However, I'v e been told and I do believe that even if I do pay the 20 cent non-machinable surcharge and mark it in big red letters "hand cancel only", if a lazy clerk CAN fit it into the rollers, they very likely WILL put it through the rollers.

That will crush my seeds if they are just in a thin paper FC envelope. And if the envelope has irregular thickness, it likely will jam and be shredded along with many other letters. Those rollers run really fast. I know a guy who helped develop and in stall some of the early USPS sorters.

Whether that is unjust, my fault, the clerk's fault or snotty, I don't wnat to crush my seeds or shred other people's letters. Therefore I'll either make my package impossible to fit in to the rollers (over 1/4"), or protect it so well that it can withstand the rollers without crushing or jamming.

Other people have luck with sending seeds in paper envelopes. I've received seeds that had dented their plastic Ziploc despite thin bubble wrap. Usually when I get a paper envelope plus thin bubble wrap, many of the bubbles have popped and the rest are deflated. That convinces me they went through rollers.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

January 15, 2013
3:53 PM

Post #9386414

Hm...I paid $1.64 for a bubble mailer envelope up to 3 oz. Contained seeds. The price is with Paypal shipping labels.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 15, 2013
4:08 PM

Post #9386426

Paypal does give a discount. I just listed the USPS website price, what they want to see if you lick the stamps yourself.

I just wish the PayPal label was a lot smaller. Sometimes I use the more expensive USPS web site for postage just so I can print everyone's address at once on one piece of paper in the font and size I want, then just use the website to print the postage-barcode without retyping every address field by field.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

January 15, 2013
6:49 PM

Post #9386600

Rick, you don't have to use the full label. I cut off the bottom part up to the tracking numbers. It will then fit on to an envelope. Actually, you can fold it aroung the corner as long as the address shows clearly.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 16, 2013
3:55 PM

Post #9387552

Thanks!

LazLo

LazLo
Austin, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 16, 2013
10:45 PM

Post #9387827

*************************
W T F !!
Update News
*************************

just thought i would pass along what my wife learned yesterday afternoon at the USPS kitty-korner to her own office in downtown Austin. she was only purchasing stamps for my use - - it took them over ten minutes to find enough sheets of one-cent stamps. i estimate that i probably will be able to make the transition to the new first-class rate for the first ounce with just one dollar's worth of them.

not for me to stick on to recompense an increase on a forever stamp - - i use them to make up the odd penny for packages quite a bit heavier than one ounce. so, i expect two years from now i just might finish them off, at last.

she says to me, "but it only took a couple of other clerks 5 minutes to russle up enough sheets of 20¢ stamps!" In light that the "surcharge" on the first ounce for added thickness over the first ¼ of an inch will not be increased, if figured i would get at least as many of them as i already had stocked up of various "forever" standard stamps for the first ounce of first-class carriage.

how freakin' much of our taxdollars were trickled away to cover the actual cost of those three clerks spending between 5 and 10 minutes, each, to pass no more than five bucks worth of stamps?

truth is, there is now a nationwwide run on 1¢ stamps! you know that means there's a horde of morons out among us who think that because the "Forever" postage will cost 1¢ more for forever stamps purchased after the date of the rate increase??!!! holy shit !! the entire concept behind "forever" postage that even if the rate increases, all the freakin' "forever" stamps ever freakin' made are worth exactly - - THE NEW POSTAGE RATE !!!!

it makes me mad as hell, and i know i will take it forever.

Semper fi - Peace. Out.

~and~ A T B T Y !             ~             £az£o    ;--)



This message was edited Jan 17, 2013 12:48 AM

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 17, 2013
11:10 AM

Post #9388249

>> how freakin' much of our taxdollars were trickled away to cover the actual cost of those three clerks spending between 5 and 10 minutes, each,

I thought the Post Office was became self-supporting years ago. Wikipedia says: "The USPS has not directly received taxpayer-dollars since the early 1980s with the minor exception of subsidies for costs associated with the disabled and overseas voters." But then they go on about pensions ...

It's still stupid waste, but it comes out of our postage dollars, not our tax dollars.
I think that all bureaucracies' stupidity increases with their size and age.

Carolina_Mike
Whitesburg, TN
(Zone 6b)

January 26, 2013
11:46 PM

Post #9398777

I agree with..."all bureaucracies' stupidity increases with their size and age."! To wit... I want to tell about an interesting experience I had recently. I mailed a package to a fellow DGer in Virginia about two months ago. He noticed that the stamps on my bubble envelope had not been cancelled (stamped over with a postmark). So, he mailed me some seeds back in the same package. The stamps were still not cancelled. I mailed some things back to him, and again...no postmark. Again, he mailed me another shipment of seeds...no postmark. That envelope has made two round trips between us and the same stamps have been used each time.

The stamps were the "forever" type stamps. I don't think that would matter, but they have still not been cancelled. I recently use the same envelopes again to mail some seeds to a different DGer in Alabama. I will let you know if the stamps make it this time or not.

In light of this experience, perhaps you should try the Forever stamps and take careful note of any envelopes that have not been cancelled. Use tape to reseal the envelope.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

January 27, 2013
12:14 AM

Post #9398786

Mike,
Uncancelled stamps happens quite often and yes I reuse them. Meanwhile the post office wonders why the are going broke. aybe they would be more sucessful if all of them did their job they are getting paid for.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

January 27, 2013
4:44 PM

Post #9399422

I always remove stamps that have not been cancelled--soak them off the paper and use them again
gluing them on my envelopes with a glue stick.

I know this is "wrong"--but in this economy--it seems just 'right" to me. Recycle!!! recycle!!!
Gita
Carolina_Mike
Whitesburg, TN
(Zone 6b)

January 28, 2013
12:09 AM

Post #9399721

It's not our fault if the post office does not cancel their own stamps.

They are going broke because children no longer collect stamps. :) The post office LOVES stamp collectors.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

January 28, 2013
9:55 AM

Post #9400181

Just heard that first class stamps will be 46 cents soon.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 28, 2013
11:07 AM

Post #9400253

>> ... two round trips between us and the same stamps ...

Oh, wow! That's the kind of "Forever" stamps I want to have!

I guess at those post offices, if the mailer would not go through the rollers, it was too much work to cancel them at all!

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

January 28, 2013
11:46 AM

Post #9400299

My PO man told me, before the Holidays, that flat rate boxes will also have
something like "forever flat rate" stamps. Should be kicking in soon.
G.

1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 28, 2013
8:05 PM

Post #9400812

Stamp prices went up yesterday.

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