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Zany_in_CO

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Today I received an order with the product shipped in a USPS
Priority Mail® Small Flat Rate Box ~ 5-3/8" x 8-5/8" x 1-5/8" ~ $8.30
It was wrapped in bubble wrap, and then placed inside a USPS
Priority Mail® Flat Rate Envelope ~ 12-1/2" x 9-1/2" ~ $7.75
For a savings of 55¢!
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I can't make up my mind whether this was a clever way to save on shipping or cheating the USPS?
Hmmm 🤔
 

msunnerstood

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The rule for priority flat rate boxes is, if it fits, it ships. I know many companies that do this (including me) but more to protect the items than to save on shipping costs.
 

lenarenee

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Hmm....and the flat rate box is free, provided by the usps to slip into the envelope and save 55 cents. So...I’d have to say ‘both’.
 

BattleGnome

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I offer a contrasting opinion. What was in the box? Was it breakable? How was the inside of the box packed?

I can see a seller who has had too many products break in transit want to do everything they can to have items reach the buyer’s home in one piece. Something fragile wrapped in bubble wrap in a box in more bubble wrap in an envelope will have several layers to get to the fragile item. Bubble wrap ain’t pennies, the seller might have chosen to to put those extra 55 cents into protection instead of extra postage to replace a broken item.
 

earlene

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I think her point is that the person who did the mailing 'stole' from the USPS by using the box and putting the box inside the envelope, rather than to just pay the cost of one or the other. Ethics, my dear, ethics.
 

Zany_in_CO

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I think her point is that the person who did the mailing 'stole' from the USPS by using the box and putting the box inside the envelope, rather than to just pay the cost of one or the other. Ethics, my dear, ethics.
Exactly! At a time when the USPS is operating at a loss, I have seen people help themselves to those FREE Flat Rate Priority Mail boxes for packing books and other items when moving. ...And the USPS wonders why they are losing money.
What was in the box? Was it breakable? How was the inside of the box packed?
It contained a 48 oz. Mina's USP Vegetable Glycerin in a plastic container that perfectly fit into a Priority Mail® Small Flat Rate Box ~ 5-3/8" x 8-5/8" x 1-5/8" ~ $8.30
 

Zany_in_CO

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I'm not sure I understand the quandary: the box fit into the envelope, correct?
Correct. But the shipper did not pay shipping for the box, only the envelope. So, the USPS incurs the cost of a box that may never be used for it's intended purpose, i.e, shipping.
 

lucycat

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Personally, It lessens my opinion of the seller when I purchase something where this has been done. Priority boxes are great but following USPS rules for using them seems only right. I expect a plain box inside the priority mail envelope if a box is needed. The information when you order boxes is below. It doesn't expressly prohibit the practice but it is clear that the intention is for the box to have been used with postage.

I understand that Priority Mail Express™, Priority Mail®, Global Express Guaranteed®, Priority Mail Express International™ and Priority Mail International® packaging is the property of the United States Postal Service and is provided solely for sending Priority Mail Express™, Priority Mail®, Global Express Guaranteed®, Priority Mail Express International™ and Priority Mail International®. Misuse may be a violation of federal law.
 

KimW

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Not to be a PollyAnna, but I've done this exact thing by the instruction of our Postal Clerk. I came in with a box and she told me I could ship for less money with an envelope. I of course agreed to send with the envelope and she put the already taped up priority mail box into the envelope, printed another label and sealed that thing shut before I could say, "shut my mouth". Just a thought that maybe something like that happened...? :)
 

AliOop

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But if that is how the post office is instructing people to send it, then I don't see that as wrong to follow their directions.🤷‍♀️
 

KimW

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But if that is how the post office is instructing people to send it, then I don't see that as wrong to follow their directions.🤷‍♀️
In my case, I don't think the postal clerk was actually instructing me to send a priority mail box inside a flat rate/priority envelope as standard procedure. I think it was perhaps a one-off situation.
 

dibbles

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In my case, I don't think the postal clerk was actually instructing me to send a priority mail box inside a flat rate/priority envelope as standard procedure. I think it was perhaps a one-off situation.
I agree with you. The postal worker was probably just trying to help you out in that one instance. I think if someone is using a flat rate/priority envelope, they should provide their own box to put inside it.
 

GemstonePony

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Correct. But the shipper did not pay shipping for the box, only the envelope. So, the USPS incurs the cost of a box that may never be used for it's intended purpose, i.e, shipping.
I take it the box has not been shipped before, then? In which case, I'd say it's cheating, since the box hasn't filled it's intended purpose. But if it's a box they had received something in and then repurposed, I'd say it's clever, since the USPS would have already regained the cost of making the box.
 

DeeAnna

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This royally p****s me off when people do this. We ship hundreds of packages via USPS priority every year, and I am a stickler about using these resources ethically. I reuse clean packing materials like bubble wrap, air packs, and paper fill as much as possible -- I'm all for recycling! -- but I refuse to misuse the new shipping materials provided by USPS, UPS, and FedEx.

I've gotten stuff shipped via UPS inside unused USPS priority boxes that had been taken apart and turned inside out. That was back in the day when USPS hadn't started to mark the insides of their boxes to prevent this kind of abuse. It's amazing the lengths people will go to in order to avoid spending a dime.

I've warned people who do this (usually eBay sellers in my experience) that as a consumer I don't appreciate this kind of shady stuff. A few times a seller has smirked and more-or-less said "what the usps doesn't know won't hurt them." I've retorted that I know what they're doing, and it hurts me and others by driving up USPS costs, and I promise them I won't be shy about leaving critical reviews.
 

TheGecko

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I can't make up my mind whether this was a clever way to save on shipping or cheating the USPS?
It's clever.

I take it the box has not been shipped before, then? In which case, I'd say it's cheating, since the box hasn't filled it's intended purpose. But if it's a box they had received something in and then repurposed, I'd say it's clever, since the USPS would have already regained the cost of making the box.
I guess I've "cheating" the government for years then because I have quite often NOT used the box for it's intended purpose. I work for a CPA firm and I cut up the medium boxes to use as inserts in the envelopes when sending documents to clients.

UPSP gives the boxes and envelopes away for free so how is it 'cheating'. The simple fact is...you don't HAVE to use a designated "priority" box/envelope to send something via Priority Mail. If you want to talk 'cheating'...it's the USPS changing the size of its Small box from a square to a rectangle.
 

KimW

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I take it the box has not been shipped before, then? In which case, I'd say it's cheating, since the box hasn't filled it's intended purpose. But if it's a box they had received something in and then repurposed, I'd say it's clever, since the USPS would have already regained the cost of making the box.
Ahhh - I hadn't thought about this possible scenario! 👍
 

jcandleattic

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I don't do this persay - but I do use a box roughly the same size as the priority small flat rate box, and put that inside the flat rate envelope. It gives the items more protection from the USPS just throwing the boxes around, so there is less damage and less chance of having to replace/refund items.

Even though I know people find this unethical or wrong or whatever, I personally do not see any harm in this practice.
 
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