Is anybody familiar with the workings of the postal service?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by StephenCampbell, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. StephenCampbell macrumors 65816

    Sep 21, 2009
    So, we just mailed out a bunch of wedding invites, and we had one stamp on each of the domestic ones. Turns out, the envelopes are 3 32nds of an inch taller than the limit for "letter size" and technically needed two stamps each.

    However, I just asked one of the recipients if he got his invite, and he did.

    If any of you are familiar with how the machines and processes in the postal system work, should I expect that they'll all make it to their destinations okay? Do the machines that let through the letter size mail have a bit of wiggle room? Or should I expect that the recipient I asked just got lucky and that the postal machines will weed out the others for being too tall and send them back?

  2. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    No one is going to check the dimensions of hundreds if millions of pieces of mail to make sure they are ok
  3. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    Which is why he is asking about the machine tolerances.

    Stephen, I don't know much about the machines, but it sure sounds like a fun gamble to me!;)
  4. caribiner23 macrumors regular


    Feb 15, 2005
    Much of it depends on your local postal workers. Despite the machinery in use, there is often a human being making the decisions.

    Years ago my local post office returned an entire stack of Christmas cards (remember them?) for insufficient postage. It was a neat stack of about 75 cards, all bundled together when they came back.

    I took that same stack to a mailbox in the city, dropped them, and they were all delivered with no problem.

    A classic case of "your mileage may vary."
  5. SandPebble, Apr 8, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014

    SandPebble macrumors regular

    Oct 18, 2012
    I work in the mailing industry and there is near zero consistency between mail acceptance centers. What St. Louis accepts Atlanta will turn down and Dallas says change this one thing.

    The humans control it all. And don't make them mad.
  6. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 21, 2009
    So some of them might get delivered while others will be rejected in the post office at the city of the recipient and be sent back?
  7. The Doctor11 macrumors 603

    The Doctor11

    Dec 15, 2013
    New York
    My understanding of the post office is...
    You give them your stuff. They take it where you want.
    That's all I know
  8. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Do you have return addresses on them?

    My belief is that if a postal centre accepts them, and they start their journey then you're good to go.
  9. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 21, 2009
    Yes, they have return addresses on all of them. I'm hoping that since it appears they were accepted in the city of origin, that they'll all be sent to their destinations. But maybe only some of them were accepted here, including the one for the guy who received his.
  10. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    Assuming they were all mailed at the same time I would imagine it would be the same person making the decision about all of them and if one went through fine the rest should as well.
  11. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Generally speaking if it fits in the machine that does the automatic sorting then you should be ok.

    Of course if they're needing 2 stamps, you'll find out soon enough when you get them back in the mail in a day or so.
  12. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    BTW... Congratulations! I'll let you know when I get my invitation .... ;)
  13. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    i'm in NYC and unless you grossly under pay for what you send they won't care because the machines here process millions of pieces a day. the central post office here is HUGE. they even have regional sorting centers for different parts of NYC due to the amount of mail

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