Friday, December 12, 2008


Our family Christmas cards arrived yesterday. With Benjamin's help, I got them into their envelopes, return address labels in the upper left corner, address labels in the middle, and a 41 cent stamp in the upper right corner. Except for the cards going overseas, which got 90-something cent stamps. I used up a roll of stamps I found in my desk, and then, again with Ben's help, took them over to the post office. Ben was thrilled to put each envelope in the slot for outgoing mail, doing a careful job not to bend or otherwise crumple them. I took the remaining twenty cards that didn't yet have stamps and waited in the line to buy more. We took them to a small work table where Ben once again helped by carefully placing the stamps in the upper right corner. Right before he took the stack to put in the slot, I noticed that the new stamps were 42 cent stamps. One cent more than the stamps on the fifty cards that we'd already dropped through the slot. Oh no! Oh no! OH NO!

I quickly grabbed the postal employee who mans the lobby and told her that I'd just dropped fifty cards through the slot that were missing one cent in postage. I asked if I might be able to get them back to add the one cent stamp. No, she said, once dropped into a postal receptacle mail becomes the property of the USPS. The letters will end up being returned to sender so the one cent stamp can be added. I begged and pleaded, knowing that if the envelopes come back to me, they'll have a giant ugly stamp that states, "POSTAGE DUE" which will pretty much destroy the beautiful job that Ben and I did in addressing the cards. No, was her reply. You'll just have to wait. We can't give you back something once it's been put in a USPS receptacle.

All I have to say is:

Twenty lucky people will receive their beautiful and pristine envelopes with the proper 42 cent stamp within a couple of days. The other not-so-lucky folks will get theirs in a week or two when the post office gets around to returning them to me and I then re-stamp them and send them back out again. And I thought I was so clever by getting those cards out in such a timely manner after just having taken the photo on Sunday...

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