At the post office today I learned quite a bit of new information and I thought I'd pass it on to you all, because I didn't know any of what I was told today and apparently neither does every postmaster/mistress either. We stopped by another post office Friday on our way to Macon and this lady never mentioned any of this information to me at all.
First, if you are mailing fragile or perishable items you must say so via a computer prompt at the pay kiosk. The post offices no longer are supposed to mark contents as fragile (the lady on Friday DID). It is right on the postage label that prints and this is a prompt to the service to handle that piece of mail differently than they might others. Anything perishable or liquid is going to cost more to mail than other objects in the same packaging. This is because they must be handled differently and while they do not necessarily require special packaging you'll pay extra for that specialized care.
Second if you are sending gift cards you should use a priority mail envelope or box to put them in. Yes, it costs more to mail but that priority mail packaging again mandates special handling and because it moves more quickly through the postal stations it is less likely to be subject to thievery.
Third, it is virtually useless to insure gift cards....I know I was shocked as well when she told me that and yes, I paid bookoodles for additional insurance on a package the other day. ACK! Again the priority envelope is your best insurance overall because that piece of mail is continually tracked as it passes through various stations on the way to the destination. On the other hand, a regular envelope or package does not. Once a gift card is stolen there is no means to track it except through the card number. I was told that the best 'insurance' you can have is your register receipt from the store where you purchased it. Getting the thing replaced won't be easy but you'll stand a better chance replacing it if you do that than if you rely on the post office trying to figure it out.
If money gifts are the way you want to go, you might consider an e-gift card emailed to the recipient or send a money order which can be deposited into their account at the bank or even cashed at the bank, just like a check. I was told today that if you simply MUST send a gift card, then do all you can to disguise the fact. Pack in a much bigger box OR use the PRIORITY mail envelopes and boxes. Again the cost of postage is more but it's better than paying the cost of additional insurance!
I hope you all find these 'facts' as helpful as I did this afternoon.
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