June 24 2010

Mailing Bomb at the Post Office

So today I FINALLY mailed out all sorts of boxes and stuff. Long overdue prizes (Oscar contest winners, signed books, coffay mugs and other stuff.) I used shoeboxes to mail some of the stuff. I tried to mail this stuff earlier in the week but the local place was like insanely expensive. (I don’t want to ‘out’ the name of the place because it’s Mom & Pop and there’s a cute bunny rabbit inside) but just to mail a 2 lb. shoebox to Canada would have been $45! Just for that one box! The guy before me was mailing a single letter overnight to LA and it cost him over $50! It’s now officially ridiculous! All those mailbox stores are GIANT ripoffs and this time I put my foot down and carried all the boxes home….

And today, I headed to the US Post Office to mail stuff (btw a mile walk in 90 degree heat carrying boxes). I walk in (all sweaty) and wait on the line. When it’s finally my turn I put all my boxes down and the woman says, ‘You can’t mail those boxes with all the writing on it…’ I was like, ‘Huh?’ Apparently, the shoe boxes being covered with logos and shoe description text was a big no-no. She’s like, ‘You gotta cross all that writing out?’ Then she yells, ‘Next!’ …

I grumpily walk away with my shoeboxes and scan the room for a magic marker or something. Anything that can cross out. No magic marker. I go from chained ballpoint pen to chained ballpoint pen. They’re all out of ink. Ballpoint wouldn’t have done the job anyway. (BTW can we solve the bank/post office pen situation already!?! It’s enough with the out of ink pens ruining our lives everyday!)

Anyway, I find a big roll of red, white and blue Priority Mail tape and mummify the shoe boxes. Covering all the text. (Is it really so bad to have that text there btw?!) Also it made me crazy because I had to keep biting off the tape and it was getting stuck on my teeth then I couldn’t find the beginning again and I’d spin it and half-start it and totally tape nightmare. After a ten minute struggle, the boxes were text/logoless– totally smothered in red, white and blue Priority Mail tape.

Then I waited on line again and brought the boxes up to the counter again and the woman is like, ‘You can’t have all that Priority Mail tape on the box going to Canada. It ain’t shipping that way. You gotta cover that up.’ I was like, ‘But I just mummified! You can’t see any of the shoebox writing!’ She was like, ‘Gotta cover that Priority Mail tape up. It’ll confuse the box.’ I asked if she had any regular packing tape and she sold me some for $5.00– then yelled, ‘Next!’

Now I’m super pissed. I go and tape over the Priority Mail tape with brown packing tape and made sure it didn’t say ‘Priority Mail’ anywhere. (Btw at this point, this box looks like it might have a friggin bomb in it— all angrily taped up ripped up un-neat and stuff).

I get back to the window and the woman says, ‘I can’t ship that. I can still see red and blue colors all over it.’ (Literally steam shot out of my ears.) I was like, ‘But you can’t read the words Priority Mail anymore!’ She was like, ‘You can’t have those colors showing. It’ll confuse the package.’ I grabbed the box back and went nuts on it right in her face. Covered up every friggin bit of red/blue and it was finally accepted. If there was any doubt that it looked like a bomb before– I erased that doubt. (btw Box of Mystery winner in Canada— won’t be much of a mystery if you’re reading this. Don’t be scared. it’s not anthrax. (Is it illegal to joke about this btw?)

Anyway, the GOOD NEWS is that it cost me like $35 to mail out everything I was mailing! The Mailbox Bunny place wanted to charge me $40 just for the Canada box! The moral of the story is– certain Post Offices will make you friggin crazy… but for frucks sake the difference in price is seriously sticker shocking.


ok bye!


Jessica says:

Hmm. Maybe the extra money was to pay for them making it post office acceptable?

I send stuff to England and I always make sure nothing can be mistaken for the address. Mainly cause I want to make sure it gets to my friend and not routed to whatever company the box came from.

A paper bag usually suffices for wrapping such things. Like how we used to do our school books, it protects the box and can’t be seen through. (Try it for next time, Todd.)

Sorry you had a tough time. Cool story though.

Rampage from Canada says:

Hey Todd,

Thanks for going to all the trouble to send me my mystery package. I really appriciate it!! I can’t wait to see your awesome packageing work.

Jackass says:

Take photos of that wrap job and send it to Todd for random e-mail Thursday

WTF?!??!?!?!?!?! says:

Well, now that that’s all over with…. HOW ABOUT FREAKING NUMBER NINE ALREADY?!?!?!? HAHAHA

i am WEEZE says:


Anonymous says:


Crumbles says:

I was in line at the Post Office in Brooklyn today… some guy was like taking forever and the line just kept getting longer and didn’t move at all annnnddd WHAM

Odd Todd Fan says:

A great story to read but no fun for you to walk in this heat.

S. S.

NashvilleBill says:

Todd, Do you not pay attention to the Postal commercials on the idiot box? If It Fits, It Ships!!!! They will provide you the boxes for FREE and you just pay the postage, and it is cheaper than Fed-ex or UPS. Hell, they drop their stuff off to the post office to deliver. You can go online and have the boxes sent to you and then pay the postage when your ready to ship online, and the local mail carrier will pick them up at your home. No need to walk and wait in line. Check in to it…

JV says:

True. That really is the best way to go.

the REAL weeze says:


the REALER weeze says:


the REAL weeze says:


Todd (not tOdd) says:

The title of your piece is going to draw you unwanted attention.

Chef Nic says:

I would have pimp slapped that postal worker…….. Kudos to you for not going “Postal”.

[…] Mailing Bomb at the Post Office Ā« oddtodd.comAnd today, I headed to the US Post Office to mail stuff (btw a mile walk in 90 degree heat carrying boxes). I walk in and wait on the line. When it’s finally my turn I put all my boxes down and the woman says, ‘You can’t mail those …Read more […]

potato says:

Yeah, I know too well about that “no words on boxes” policy. I recently went to the post office with a perfectly labeled box and tried to send it. The lady behind the counter was all like “Oh my god, no, you can’t possibly send this – you have to cover up all those words!” This box I was sending said “Dell” or “Cisco” or something in like two places. I asked her why this was a problem and she pointed to a poster behind her which backed her up alright but still didn’t explain why the post office is so mental about the whole word thing. Anyone know why they have this policy?

Ex hazmat worker says:

Don’t know about the post office but when shipping hazardous materials, you have to black out or remove all previous labels so that there is no confusion about the contents in case of emergency. Not sure why this would apply to the post office since you aren’t allowed to mail hazardous materials, though.

WTF?!??!?!?!?!?! says:

I just took a dump so big, I had to get a HazMat license just to flush it!

Krankor says:

The weight of all that tape probably added $5 to the shipping cost!!!

Whheezer says:

Your mother called Weeze. She wants her vuvuzela!

C.J. says:

Get a little scale – you can print the USPS label at home with paypal for an extra $0.19. That whole standing in line business drives me crazy.

Amy says:

ROFL I wish I was getting the box mailed to me!!



Zook says:

Remember when Todd used to make cartoons?

Anonymous says:

Todd’s a responsible mofo now Zook!

vanity smurf says:

I do not know how todd actually makes a living at all can he be secretly rich?

oddtodd7 says:

Here’s an email that came in today that explains some stuff and stuff… Howdy comment peeps!



Hey Todd,

I’m a long time reader of your site (since 04). You’ve posted a recipe of mine (which made my week), and we’ve had other conversations about the post office and how it operates in the past. I’m a systems engineer on the back end of the process so I understand how these frustrations can occur. I’ll try to answer some of your questions.

Yes, you have to remove all text from a box because our Optical Character Recognition (OCR) systems may try to look at other text to find addresses and shipping information and miss the correct information on the package. It’s a slight chance but the chance still exists. Unfortunately the window clerk that was ‘helping’ you didn’t inform you of this which would have probably reduced your frustration.

Yes, you can not have anything showing on the package that would label it priority mail unless you are shipping something priority mail. The initial processing of the mail is a very quick and manual process before it goes to a sorting machine. The class of the mail (ie first class, second class, parcel post, or priority) will determine where and how the mail is processed. So for the post office to insure the customer gets what they pay for, we do requirements to insure that the correct procedures are followed.

Yes, the window clerk asking you a second time to cover up the priority tape on the box is ridicules and should not have happened. One layer should have been adequate for the downstream operation to understand that it’s not priority mail. I’m sorry that you’ve had this experience and I hope it doesn’t keep you away from any post office in the future.

Yes, it is illegal to joke about having a bomb or any other life threatening substance or device while at the post office. Unfortunately, just like the airline industry, 911/the last anthrax mailing that killed several postal workers has changed the post office for better or worse. I would like to inform you, with out going into too much detail, that we do have chemical/biological weapons detection systems in place to prevent anything of that nature from being delivered to the public.

The post office is cheep because we charge our costs to operate. It makes you think about all the other shippers out there. There is no CEO’s at the top raking in multi-millions or share holders demanding dividends payments. We do not use tax dollars to keep costs low. Iā€™m sorry you had a bad experience with one of our employees, but I can assure you that 90% of the people that I work with day to day are just happy they have a job in an environment where they serve the public and are able to do a good job.

Thanks for the rant,

Jessica says:

Thanks for the update…and thanks James. Good to know.

the REAL weeze says:


Caps says:

Hey Todd. Nice package.

USA Pride says:

You can’t say USA! USA! in a message that says “Then I waited on line…” in this country we wait IN line

Anonymous says:

In the civilized parts of the US we wait ON line.

IN not ON says:

You are waiting IN the line. If you were waiting ON it you would be standing on top of those IN the line!

Crumbles says:


MsM says:

You can wait online if your computer is very slow, but in a line, you wait in line, unless there is a stripe painted on the floor for you to stand on.

Medusa says:

Confused boxes are you kidding?
How to confuse a box, tape it up in the wrong colors?
Didn’t know a box cared about what color it was, silly postal worker.
How do they get their jobs anyway. I saw the application once and didn’t want to fill it out, it was way to advanced for me when I was a teen. If they can’t figure out how to help their customers better how in the world were they able to fill in the app, pass the test and get hired in the first place, slacker postal workers.
They won’t let you mail packages in christmas wrap either..honestly who cares. What are they worried about color blind postal employee’s, or clashing with their nifty uniforms? It’s not like they put boxes through the sorting machines….magnet pun in the works.
I mean really if you get lots of boxes from the post, and we do, they drop kick at least half of them across the country.
And our town post office helps EVERYONE with every aspect of shipping through the US post with a smile. The man in charge even comes out to our place when the regular guy messes up, so I feel bad that you got the big town can’t bother to care person. Kinda like the dmv in california.

Medusa says:

Oh and those if it fits it ships adds.
Yea true but the box is not free it is included in the postage.
You can take all the boxes you want from the post for no charge but once they get used ‘at the post to ship’ it is included in the ship cost. They just quit itemizing it on the receipt.
The post office just got smart in it’s advertizing,they just finally figured out how to get more lemmings.

physician assistant says:

Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

Leah says:

Haha this was great, thanks for making me laugh! (Even at your own expense!)

Z says:

I love the way you tell stories, tOdd. Even when you are frustrated, you keep your cool about it.

That is so typically northeastern of that postal clerk to act like that.

Mr Bill says:

When I was unemployed and in full on ebay mode I was at the post office at least 3 times a week. You learn these lessons quick. You also learn that shipping to other countries (yes, even CANADA) is a total pain because of the customs forms etc. After about the 20th time I had to go through with that I started limiting auctions to USA only.

If I ever have to do that again I will do the flat rate ship from home method. You might pay a little more, but no more scrounging for boxes or wrapping them up with paper to cover logos etc.

There is a local mail place I will use for ups/fedex. There is a small fee, $2 to $3, not too bad. They have new owners now, hopefully they haven’t jacked their prices way up.

mehr_als says:

I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
And you et an account on Twitter?

Doggy says:

Hola, ,


You have a great post here, very helpful. Very well written I shall be bookmarking the website and subscribing to your feed so i can regularly read content of this quality.

cna training says:

nice post. thanks.

Have a website? Wanna be featured below? Send me a banner 364x40! 100% Free!