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Old 09-07-2012, 04:25 PM
 
1,446 posts, read 2,526,349 times
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This deals with costs, so I think that this is the most appropriate forum. If not, please let me know where we can move it.

I still us the US Postal Service a lot for typed letters. I usually mail out at least a dozen a week. (Though I will not get into to who and where I am writing to). I have been getting away with sending 3 or 4 papers, once even 5 pages of letters in one envelope. This I send away with one basic 45 cent first-class stamp. My letters are always delivered. However, the USPS website says that they will only deliver up to 1 ounce for domestic letters that are using only one 45 cent stamp. Below is a link to their prices.

Anyway, paper weight is obviously a factor. I have 500 sheets of paper that are 20 pounds. Hence, each sheet of paper is 0.04 pounds. This is 0.64 ounces for one sheet of paper. So two sheets of paper should put me above 1 ounce. Hence, shouldn't anymore than 1 sheet of paper in the envelope require more than one stamp?

Am I looking at all of the information correctly? If so, why is the postal service delivering my letters? Why do I not get them back with "insufficient postage" stamped on them? I only checked out how many letters I can send in an envelope just now on their website! Someone told me I can mail up to 5 sheets on 1 first-class stamp and I never thought of verifying this. So what is going on?

http://pe.usps.com/cpim/ftp/manuals/.../Notice123.pdf
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:02 PM
 
Location: Nesconset, NY
1,290 posts, read 1,451,383 times
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It's my understanding it's 500 sheets of 17" x 22" that determines the weight of 20 lb. "bond" paper and one can get four sheets of 8-1/2" x 11" out of one 17" x 22" sheet.

If you're sending 8-1/2" x 11" paper wouldn't that be 2,000 sheets = 20 lbs. This would make each sheet 0.16 oz., right?
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:06 PM
 
1,446 posts, read 2,526,349 times
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Quote:
It's my understanding it's 500 sheets of 17" x 22" that determines the weight of 20 lb. "bond" paper and one can get four sheets of 8-1/2" x 11" out of one 17" x 22" sheet.

If you're sending 8-1/2" x 11" paper wouldn't that be 2,000 sheets = 20 lbs. This would make each sheet 0.16 oz., right?
I am sending standard letter-sized sheets "8-1/2 * 11". The side of the paper covering the 500 sheets says "20lbs" and beside that "75 g/m2." I was assuming that the 20lbs refers to the 500 sheets that I bought. But are you saying that the 20lbs does NOT refer to the 500 sheets that I have, instead it refers to some other standard? If so, why would the company not just put the weight of the papers I have am buying?
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
11,781 posts, read 27,479,564 times
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If you heft a ream of paper, it is pretty obvious it isn't 20 lbs, but more like 2 or 3 pounds at most. If you put a letter on a postal scale it is pretty obvious that it is less than an ounce. You have taken the written description and tried to have it trump reality. We've all done something similar at one time or another.

There are other funny oddities. Ever wonder about a #2 pencil? Does it need to visit the bathroom? I've been through Ticonderoga. I can't recall having seen a pencil factory there, although there is a paper mill. Carbon paper usually doesn't contain carbon, but some blue stuff. Fountain pens don't work in fountains. Classic laid is non-sexual in nature. File folders don't fold files. Scotch tape won't seal a bottle of scotch.

You have pointed out a great example, on a meta-level, of why people who insist on following the letter of the law, rather than the general intent, don't have a full understanding of the purpose of the law.
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:39 AM
 
3,735 posts, read 3,214,254 times
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I have an accurate scale and I just weighed 5 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 paper (20 weight). They were .80 ounce total for all.

A business envelope was .15 ounce.

Another consideration is the weight of ink on the paper and humidity. I would imagine a sheet of paper with a picture on both sides (lots of ink) and in a high humidity area (moisture in the paper) would weigh a tad more than a page with just a little printing on one side in a dry environment.

Anyway I weigh my envelopes before mailing if they have multiple pages in them. If it is over an ounce, I mail it at the post office and let them put the correct postage on it. Usually things with many pages are something important, so I want to make sure it gets there ok...
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Old 09-08-2012, 03:10 PM
 
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20Lb paper means that 500 sheets of paper at a size of 17" x 22" weighs 20 LBs. This is standard no matter what size the paper you buy is.
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Old 09-08-2012, 03:18 PM
 
Location: The Southern Sac's, NM
1,533 posts, read 1,547,316 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lentzr View Post
If so, why is the postal service delivering my letters? Why do I not get them back with "insufficient postage" stamped on them?
They can also deliver it to the recipient 'postage due' which is more cost effective to the USPS. That's IF they even notice the weight discrepancy at the destination - they might not.
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:32 PM
 
1,446 posts, read 2,526,349 times
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Quote:
They can also deliver it to the recipient 'postage due' which is more cost effective to the USPS. That's IF they even notice the weight discrepancy at the destination - they might not.
This is not the issue. I am sure a few slip here and there, but I have send way to many. The best explanation is posted below...

Quote:
I have an accurate scale and I just weighed 5 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 paper (20 weight). They were .80 ounce total for all.

A business envelope was .15 ounce.

Another consideration is the weight of ink on the paper and humidity. I would imagine a sheet of paper with a picture on both sides (lots of ink) and in a high humidity area (moisture in the paper) would weigh a tad more than a page with just a little printing on one side in a dry environment.

Anyway I weigh my envelopes before mailing if they have multiple pages in them. If it is over an ounce, I mail it at the post office and let them put the correct postage on it. Usually things with many pages are something important, so I want to make sure it gets there ok...
That explains what I originally told...that usually a first-class stamp can mail up to 5 letters without question.

Also, thank for clarifying that the 20lbs weight is inaccurate to use literally. I do not know what I was thinking. I just never worked with weights, so I had no idea what 20lbs is like to lift.
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Old 09-08-2012, 07:10 PM
 
5,286 posts, read 5,756,449 times
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I send people coupons. I have sent as many as 70 coupons for one stamp.
There are other coupons called tearpads. They are a much thicker paper.
I once had someone send me 20 of those, and I had postage due on my end.

I too find that I can send 5 pages, 8.5 x 11, and I have never had one come back postage due.
I also ship on Ebay and my scale is off 2 ounces when compared to the downtown post office, and 1 ounce off when compared to the other post office.

If you plan to get a scale to weigh less than a couple or three ounces, you need a good accurate one.

If you are weighing you letters now, then some may be coming back because the scale you use, and the one used to weigh your letter are not synchronized with each other.

Yes, different stocks of paper, can vary in weight, and if your are mixing stocks in your 5 sheets per envelope, and not weighing the envelope, then some may come back.

I know this is off topic, but don't fall in love with 45 cent stamps. I read an article where the postal service, in an effort to stay in business, could, remotely, consider raising the first class letter to $1.00 and be done with price increases for a very long time.
The are losing money and headed to bankruptcy without massive changes.
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:09 PM
 
1,446 posts, read 2,526,349 times
Reputation: 887
Quote:
I know this is off topic, but don't fall in love with 45 cent stamps. I read an article where the postal service, in an effort to stay in business, could, remotely, consider raising the first class letter to $1.00 and be done with price increases for a very long time.
The are losing money and headed to bankruptcy without massive changes.
If they go up to 1 dollar, then they loose me as a customer. I can adapt.
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