It’s the Little Things


It’s not a secret that I’m not much of a people person. I can handle social situations well at work, and with friends I’ve known for a while and gotten comfortable with, but the kinds of encounters I have to handle when doing miscellaneous things in public make me visibly uncomfortable. (Even with friends I can be reluctant to initiate contact for no good reason, as I’ve been with one new friend lately.) As a result, I like the kinds of inventions that minimize the amount of human contact I need to have throughout my day, such as ATMs and self-service checkout lanes at the grocery store. It’s more convenient, and often I can do things faster than the average checkout clerk and bagger.

Because I’ve been doing a lot more mailing than usual lately, I’ve made more than a few trips to the post office to weigh envelopes and buy the right postage for them. Before my local post office installed its local APC (Automated Postal Centre), this involved waiting in a line for a human being that could take anywhere from five minutes to over an hour, and there was never any logic in how long the wait was. With the APC, I can get in and out in a couple of minutes, and I don’t have to talk with anyone. It’s simple, it’s efficient, and it makes going to the post office a lot easier for me.

However, it can also be phenomenally stupid at times, as was the case today. I had two large envelopes I needed to mail, both of which were just under two ounces in weight. Each cost $0.61 to mail. The APC, however, only allows purchases of $1.00 or greater, which makes sense because of the set prices credit card companies charge on each transaction. If you’re under a dollar, you can get over a dollar by buying a booklet of stamps, which costs about eight bucks; that’s not exactly a small purchase, and I’ve got more than a few stamps already. The good news is that the APC lets you keep putting more items into your order before it closes the order and charges your card. The bad news is that, for some reason, it won’t let you weigh a second package until you’ve already come to a dollar. As a result, what should have been a $1.22 purchase for me wound up being close to ten bucks, and I’m not flush with cash right now. Yes, I’ll use that booklet of stamps at some point, but I didn’t need them now.

That small logical flaw of forcing you to get to $1.00 in purchases before you can weigh a second letter shouldn’t be there, and I doubt I’m the only person to have this problem. I’ll write the USPS soon to address this directly with them, but in the meantime, if I have more two-ounce or three-ounce envelopes to send out and I don’t have a larger one to send at the same time, I may very well take my chances in the line.

One thought on “It’s the Little Things”

  1. I've been using the APC a lot lately and generally been pretty happy. I've had a couple instances where the printer wasn't working, but all my packages have been over $1 so I haven't run into the issue you're discussing here (I did see a lady run up against the maximum, though). I do wish they'd handle international packages–that still requires a wait in line.

    Now that you've got the stamps, you could just stand in line once to get some 2nd ounce ones and not have to use the APC at all for those light ones.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.