Thursday, June 27, 2013

At the Post Office

The customer: I’m mailing these three books to Cincinnati. Do I have to use some specific kind of package—a box, a bag, an envelope— to get the book rate?

The employee: The way you want to send them is up  to you.

The customer: Does the choice affect the price?

The employee: No.

The customer: All right. I have another question. If I wanted to mail books to Venezuela, about five pounds in weight, what would the cheapest possible price be?

The employeeDidn't you say you were sending those books to Cincinnati? The book rate does not apply to shipments outside of the U.S.

The customer: I understand. These books are going to Cincinnati. The books for Venezuela are other books, and I'm not mailing those today. So, what’s the cheapest way to mail five pounds of books to Venezuela?

The employee: You can send them in a flat-rate box.

The customer: How much does it cost?

The employee (after typing directly on the screen of her computer): Seventy-seven dollars and ninety-five cents. The medium flat-rate box costs fifty-nine ninety-five.

The customer: Um, isn't there a cheaper way to mail books to Venezuela?

The employee: As I said, the book rate does not apply to international shipments.

The customer: I understand that. What I need to know is if there is a cheaper way to mail anything―I mean, anything that isn't prohibited, of course―; anything—books, for example— that weighs about five pounds and fits in an envelope or a box, to Venezuela. Not long ago I mailed an envelope full of books and CD’s. It weighed close to four pounds, and I only paid about twenty-five dollars...

The employee (producing a medium-sized cardboard envelope): Four pounds of books do not fit in this envelope.

The customer: The envelope that I used was bigger than that.

The employee: That’s the old rate. We don’t have that rate anymore. When was that?

The customer: Two or three months ago. In this office. So anyway, what’s the new cheapest price for mailing four pounds of books?

The employee: The book rate does not apply to international shipments.  

The customer: And I understood. Let’s forget about the books for now. I need to know if there is an option cheaper than the flat-rate box for mailing four pounds of anything that may be legally mailed, and fits either in an envelope or a box.

The employee: Where?

The customer: Venezuela.

The employee (after typing directly on the screen of her computer): Forty-eight sixty-five.

The customer: How about five pounds of books?

The employee (glaring through her glasses at the customer):  I already told you that the book rate cannot be applied to shipments outside of the U.S.

The customer: How much would it cost to mail either a box or an envelope which, along with its contents, weighs a total of five pounds? I just want to know what the postage would be for five pounds, the cheapest possible price.

The employee: Where?

The customer: Venezuela.

The employee (after typing directly on the screen of her computer): Fifty-two dollars and thirty-seven cents.

The customer: Thank you.

The employee: Uh-huh. Next in line.


The customer goes to the back of the line in order to mail three books to Cincinnati, at book rate.

  


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