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mail size issues.... half size is considered large envelope?

while this might be a relatively dumb question that i can just search the web for i am really confused. i sent something directly through the post office yesterday (was a first for me, believe it or not)... and it cost me more than it would've if i used my stamps... and when i look at the receipt it's because they used the rates for LARGE envelopes...

see, whenever i send out my half size zines, id always use the rate for the regular(?) envelope/letter mail, i think it's called? and i check the sizes of my envelopes too and make sure they are small enough for the cheaper rates XD. is there something i dont understand here (other than why they used large envelope rates on my mail)?

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For me, half sized are always regular post, but I'm Canadian.
It might just have been a mistake. I've had my post office make a LOT of mistakes on my mail, like putting Canadian stamps on International mail... if something seems different about the price, ALWAYS ask. they're only human, after all.
Yes, it might have been a mistake. Take a trip down to the post office with one of the envelopes and have them lay it on their template (it's right there at the counter, most have it on the scale top actually). Yours might have been 'large' and you've just gotten away with less postage because nobody's caught it before.

Still, it'd be worthwile to know for sure, so a look-see will give you a solid answer.
i thought so too! but i went to a post office downtown (and boy was it an adventure walking there! I was paranoid someone was going to shank me any minute!) and they charged me large again. So i asked what they consider was regular mail and the lady showed me the long letter-type envelope (i believe it's about 3x6 in size?)

star blanket river child said:
For me, half sized are always regular post, but I'm Canadian.
It might just have been a mistake. I've had my post office make a LOT of mistakes on my mail, like putting Canadian stamps on International mail... if something seems different about the price, ALWAYS ask. they're only human, after all.
OK, I went to the USPS online website, here's the guidelines they use for all envelopes. This is what is officially considered 'large' or 'standard'. If yours does fit in a standard size format, they owe you a refund. Are you sure that it wasn't the thickness or the distance traveled that was the factor that added to the postage? They're charging by zone now, just like Fed-Ex and UPS. That started last year sometime, and it can affect the price of the shipping. The further away it goes, the more it costs.

Standard Shape and Size Guidelines
Letters:
• Maximum thickness is 1/4”
• Minimum size is 5” long X 3 1/2” high
• Maximum size is 11 1/2" long X 6 1/8" high

Postcard:
• Maximum size is 6” long X 4 1/4” high
• Minimum size is 5” long X 3 1/2” high

Large Envelopes:
• Maximum thickness is 3/4”
• Minimum size is 11 1/2" long X 6 1/8" high
• Maximum size is 15" long X 12" high
Oh, and one more thing--our post office is a REAL stickler about this.

If the envelope has one of those bendy metal closures, they charge you an extra 25 cents because it can get caught in their machinery. Even if you stick a 2" wide strip of packing tape over it to hold it down and encase it, they still charge the 25 cents. You have to actually cut it OFF before they say 'ok'.

I've only come across it at one post office, but like I said, they were sticklers about it. VERY annoying. I always tape down the backs of my envelopes, but their anal retention on this has me using a scissors now.
they're probably not ripping you off because you look like a naive child. they probably made a mistake because all of these regulations are relatively new & a lot of post office employees are still confused by them. a half-sized envelope has to be shipped as a "large envelope" if it is more than a quarter-inch thick. there is a template for that at the post office, so you can make sure you're under the limit, but a lot of post employees just eyeball a package & make a judgment call.

here's an example: i mailed a bunch of small-ish packages yesterday. they were packed into manila envelopes, & i figured they'd all be shipped for the large envelope rate & not the parcel rate (which is a little more expensive & is for envelopes that are extra-thick). one of the packages contained several quarter-sized zines that had slid into one side of the envelope & stacked themselves up there. the employee felt that my package was not uniformly thick & was not very flexible on the side where the small zines had stacked up. she thought maybe it should ship as a parcel. i explained what was in the envelope & she shipped it as a large envelope because she acknowledged that the zines would slide around inside the envelope.

the best thing you can do is educate yourself about postal guidelines (use the "consumers guide to mailing regulations" on the UPS website, or the "zinesters guide to the U.S. mail" at undergroundpress.org) & be specific about what kind of postal rate you want when you get to the counter. if you feel that a postal employee is charging you more & mis-interpreting a guideline, you are free to speak up. ask them to measure your envelope against their templates & explain their decisions. sometimes they'll realize you are right & give you cheaper postage, & sometimes you will learn that you made a mistake & have actually put together a large envelope instead of a small one, or a parcel instead of a large envelope.

i know, it's confusing.
you can use your national stamps on international mail too !

my post office sometimes does mistake, like the "I assure you, there is no economic rates for international mail"
of course it is. sometimes postal office clerks are jerks (not in mine) and they want me to pay for a package shipment when I sent an half-size envy with a zine, a letter and a CD-R on it...


star blanket river child said:
For me, half sized are always regular post, but I'm Canadian.
It might just have been a mistake. I've had my post office make a LOT of mistakes on my mail, like putting Canadian stamps on International mail... if something seems different about the price, ALWAYS ask. they're only human, after all.
well, she explicitly said that she's charging me large because of the size and not the thickness. and im pretty sure my envelope was no way past the standard size :O

it was 5.5 x 4.25. i have a ruler with me right now. lol. and i've always used standard rates when mailing my zines with stamps... :O

Elaine Moertl said:
OK, I went to the USPS online website, here's the guidelines they use for all envelopes. This is what is officially considered 'large' or 'standard'. If yours does fit in a standard size format, they owe you a refund. Are you sure that it wasn't the thickness or the distance traveled that was the factor that added to the postage? They're charging by zone now, just like Fed-Ex and UPS. That started last year sometime, and it can affect the price of the shipping. The further away it goes, the more it costs.

Standard Shape and Size Guidelines
Letters:
• Maximum thickness is 1/4”
• Minimum size is 5” long X 3 1/2” high
• Maximum size is 11 1/2" long X 6 1/8" high

Postcard:
• Maximum size is 6” long X 4 1/4” high
• Minimum size is 5” long X 3 1/2” high

Large Envelopes:
• Maximum thickness is 3/4”
• Minimum size is 11 1/2" long X 6 1/8" high
• Maximum size is 15" long X 12" high
In this case I'd have asked for a manager. The envelope size is far smaller than the 'large', and if it was not too thick you should have been well in the required limits.

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