This was taken from the blog at http://www.consumerist.com
Postal Employees Ordered To Stop Offering First-Class Mail [Usps]from Consumerist by Carey
Postal employees have been ordered to upsell pricey express or priority mail services to anyone sending anything more than a letter, according to an anonymous tipster. The directive comes straight from Washington to help combat the Post Office's $1.1 billion operating deficit. To avoid the upsell, specifically ask if there is a cheaper way to ship your package. The anonymous tipster's letter, inside...
Hi, I work the counter for the United States Postal Service and right now we are in a really big financial mess, they claim to have lost about one Billion dollars this past fiscal year. I was told yesterday by my supervisor (and I saw the written memo from the District) that stated we are not to offer first class, parcel post, or media mail.
If a customer comes to the counter with anything other than a letter, we are not to offer anything other than Express Mail or Priority mail.
So if a customer comes to the counter with a 5 ounce small package I am supposed to say "Good Afternoon, would you like to ship this Express Mail overnight guaranteed, it includes $100 of insurance and free tracking for only $16.50?"—Customer looks at you like you are crazy, especially if the package is just going across town—"Ok, then we can send it Priority Mail and it should get to its destination in 2-3 business days for $4.80 and we can add insurance for loss or damage, and for an extra 65 cents you can add delivery confirmation." At this point I am supposed to shut up and let them either be duped into paying at least $4.80 or wait until they say - how about first class, or is there anything cheaper?—at that point I can offer the first class postage. For the package I described, a 5 ounce parcel, the cost would be $1.85 or almost $3 cheaper than Priority Mail. My advice is to always ask if there is a cheaper way to ship. Once asked we can tell you, but we won't volunteer the information.
Some tips if you are going to the Post Office, Express Mail will get it there overnight. Priority mail AND first class will usually get it overnight if it is going within your city or usually within your state. If the package is going farther than a neighboring state the Priority Mail will get there in 2 or 3 days, with first class usually a day or two later than Priority. We are not supposed to offer parcel post mail—I do agree with that, parcel post is usually within a dollar or two pricewise of Priority Mail and will take anywhere from 7-14 days or even longer to get where it is going. If you are only sending books, media mail is the ultimate cheap way to go, usually 1/3 the price of parcel post. A warning though—media mail can be opened, and we do open it if we suspect it is not media mail. In that case the person recieving the package will pay the difference in price.