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Has anyone else experienced a dramatic price increase in mailing your cards yet, or is it just me?  I took my mom's birthday card to the post office yesterday to mail.  It was a standard A7 size card and the post office salesman told me because it was over 1/4 inch thick he judged by feeling it, and was rigid (which any normal card is) that it had to go as a parcel and cost $2.67 to mail.  Yes it had several layers in one area, but it was not to heavy, or too big, it was "over a 1/4" thick".  I understand an extra fee for hand cancelling on a card, but now it is considered a package.  This will seriously curtail the kind of cards I send in the mail, which is very sad, since this is totally ridiculous.  I know the post office just changed their rates as of January 22nd, but I saw no mention of changing the status of standard size mail over 1/4" thick to "parcels".  I am just curious if this is something anyone else is experiencing, or just my friendly post office clerk taking the opportunity to rip off his customers.

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I purchased a "First-Class Mail Shape-Based Template" HERE (and a basic kitchen scale) and use them to determine if I need to go to the post office or if I can just mail my card in the box on the street.  (This template is thick cardboard and looks just like the one they use at my post office branch.)  I was just told recently that even if they hand-stamp the envelope at the counter, it still needs to go through one more machine as part of the sorting and delivery process and that if it's too thick/large, it will get stuck/damaged.  I guess that's why they need to be careful that the thicker or larger cards are handled properly when dropped off.  

Donna Phelan said:

That is the 'gizmo' my favorite gal at the PO uses.  It's all grey and blue, so you can really see what envelope fits where.  She has explained it to me umpteen times, I think my eyes just gloss over at some point.  She is very strict on what I mail and I love her for it, I don't think I am getting a deal.  I think I am within all rules and regulations.  I have had some 'envelopes' go as a 'small package' but I would say 99% of them go at the 98 cents rate, I just looked at one of my recent receipts. 
 
Bonnie said:

I have found this calculator very helpful: https://postcalc.usps.com/Default.aspx?m=0&dpb=0

If I  understand the rules, when a letter exceeds 1/4" it moves up to the large envelopes ($2.63). PERIOD.  The only thing that a letter can have and get mailed for $.70 is a rigid object, square or odd shaped. I have yet to get the same answer from different clerks when asking if one letter has all three. Technically there is no such thing as hand cancelled any more either, letters just don't go through the automated system. It is the Post Office after all. 

Donna, the only thing I can think of is that your clerk is moving your fatties to large envelopes, but what is funny is that the $2.63 is for large that exceed 1/4". You have been getting a good deal.

I have learned a lot from this discussion and I appreciate everyones feedback on how to avoid sticker shock at the post office.

My post office gave me the plastic tool they use to determine thickness so I usually run it through that anything with bulk or unevenness from embellishments.  To play it safe I normally use two forever stamps.  I love the heavy weight cardstock from GKD but adding a few layers causes layers...I wish for a black in layering weight so I usually have a non-GKD on hand to layer.  

We should never over pay and I don't think any of us wish to under pay. Here are some card making guidelines that I keep in mind when designing something I know will go through the mail:

1.  Size: A2, A6 and A7 are all letter sizes that fit through machines so thickness, rigidness or unevenness are what usually cause the need for additional postage.

2. Weight: It takes four sheets of 8 1/2x11 card stock with an envelope to get over the 2 oz. So weight is rarely our situation and the cost for one ounce is 49¢ and two ounces is 70¢. Post office sells 2 ounce stamps so very easy to have them on hand and no reason to ever put two 49¢.

3 Rigid or uneven: This is different than thickness. If the letter has limited bend it is rigid. If you run your hand over the surface and you feel a rise it is uneven. These cause an additional 21¢, so for a one ounce letter that means a 2 ounce stamp. Not much to pay for a gorgeous Gina K card stock with many layers.

4. Thickness: Letter over 1/4" move up to large envelope status and that costs 98¢, unless the letter is rigid and/or uneven, then it is considered a parcel and costs $2.63.

So for me who lives in the country, and who makes mostly A2 with several layers I only check #3 and #4. If stiff or lumpy but under the 1/4" I put one 2 ounce stamp. When over 1/4" I go to the Post Office and let them tell me if they are going as large envelope (98¢) or parcel ($2.63).

Your cards should typically fall into only 4 prices and only 4 ways to consider. Not too hard and no need to be intimidated or over pay.

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