Sunday, August 16, 2009

Please, Mr. Postman Automated Postal Service

Have you ever mailed anything using the automated machines in the post office? I tend to trust people rather than machines. But I got to the post office the other day and it was closed, so I had to to the newfangled route.

I was mailing some letters to Russia and didn't really know what would happen. However, I started pressing buttons on the touchscreen, and was pleased to see that there was an "international" option. I hadn't swiped my card yet, so I had nothing to lose, although I was a little nervous that the counter beneath the scale would open and swallow up my letter without it being stamped.

After going through the weighing and pricing process, I told the machine that 98 cents was okay with me (that's the standard rate for a letter to Russia). But I was then informed that since I was paying by credit card and the minimum was $1.00, I could not go ahead with the stamp purchase as totaled. I could either...


-buy a 98 cent stamp and a 44 cent stamp
-buy a 98 cent stamp and a book of stamps
-cancel the order

The machine did not ask me if I wanted to weigh and stamp the other two letters I had in my hand, which would have added up to more than $1.00.

So I ended up swiping my card and paying $.98+$.44 three times. I'm sure we'll find a use for the $.44 (x3).

So the good news is that you can walk into the post office at any time and mail a letter, regardless of whether the counters are open. There are, however, a few kinks still to be worked out.

I wonder what I looked like on the security cameras.


  1. You crack me up. Did you talk to it? I would have!

  2. I'm not sure if I was talking out loud, but I was definitely talking to myself in both English and Russian, as well as composing a future blog post!


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