Is anybody familiar with the workings of the postal service?

StephenCampbell

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 21, 2009
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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?

Thanks!
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,654
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No one is going to check the dimensions of hundreds if millions of pieces of mail to make sure they are ok
 

caribiner23

macrumors regular
Feb 15, 2005
106
0
Chicago
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."
 

SandPebble

macrumors regular
Oct 18, 2012
121
4
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.
 
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StephenCampbell

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 21, 2009
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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?
 

The Doctor11

macrumors 603
Dec 15, 2013
5,907
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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
 

StephenCampbell

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 21, 2009
1,037
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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.
 

0007776

Suspended
Jul 11, 2006
6,474
8,052
Somewhere
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.
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.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
64,141
30,739
Boston
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.
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,654
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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