Saturday, June 7, 2014

It's only words

I received a PWE in the mail from Tony of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards. The above request to the USPS was on the front.

When I send out PWEs, I'm not quite as direct. I put a little line at the bottom on the back that says "nonmachinable" and cross my fingers. Since I haven't received any complaints, I'm assuming that does the trick.

Maybe the USPS gets stirred up by exclamation points.

Because this is what arrived in the mailbox:

No. Not the black boxes. I placed those there. Please focus your attention on the rip that begins north and travels all the way south. Imagine that you can see the continuation of the rip underneath the black box.

Now imagine seeing the envelope wide open at the center and the contents visible out in the mailbox.

"Hoo-boy," I said to myself. "This isn't good."

It turns out it was just fine.

The cards were stored in one-third of a nine-pocket page, cut length-wise. That is the page folded over, which is how it came out of the envelope.

Those are the three pockets extended out. I am assuming that since it was folded over, and one side was stacked higher than the other, that this is what created the rip.

As for whether the USPS ignored the "Hand sort!" request, I don't know. Maybe things happen in shipment regardless. I've also heard that it doesn't matter what you put on the envelope, everything goes through machines anyway.

I just know that my cards are OK, which I'm sure relieves Tony as it did me.

Here they are:

How about that?

That's 11 cards, including, I believe, the last SSP from the 2013 Topps Dodgers that I needed in Ryu. Then add the Fleer sticker. Plus at least three decoys. All in one in PWE.

Given the circumstances, I think things worked out pretty darn great.

Well worth the scare at the mailbox.


  1. I'm glad you got them and that the rip wasn't fatal. I just hope you needed a few more of those other than Ryu!

  2. Nice ! Very lucky, that's why I don't like PWE's. We don't really hear too many horror stories but the possibility scares me.

  3. I love PWE's. My secret is making it look as nonchalant as possible. I never send more than 3-4 protected cards in them, so they make it through the machines just fine. I've read that writing "Do Not Bend" or something close to that makes it far more likely that angry postal workers will treat the envelope like shit. Since you aren't paying for special service, the vengeful ones like to make a point out of it.

  4. That's why I always use the clear thick tape on my bigger PWE's. I tape the entire envelope which odds are makes it tough to open at the receivers end. Not sure if it actually helps or not, but I always feel like the tape will protect the envelope, and make it tons tougher to rip open during its trip through the USPS.

  5. Somewhat like Prowling Cat, I put a strip of clear packing tape along the bottom edge. Adds rigidity and makes it less likely to rip.

  6. I send out a lot of PWE's and always use DO NOT BEND and write that across the bottom on the front of the envelope and back. I have also found that using smaller envelopes, a white filler card, helps in the USPS from bending or smashing the cards and most I send out are for the usual price of one stamp. But i like the above writing as well and never thought of that.

  7. I tested the postal service once. I sent two identical breakable items (a dish), packed exactly the same to the same address. One I marked "Fragile", the other one I didn't. Guess which package had the broken dish in it?
    My second favorite? The package I received with the hiking boot footprint on top. Awesome.