Standing in line at the post office one day, a gentleman in front of me was mailing something overseas and wanted to know how much it was to mail it. The clerk weighed the item, told him the postage, and gave him a form to fill out. He responded that heís mailed this same item three times now and each time itís a different rate. He wanted to know why the rate was different when it was only a few months between mailings and the rates havenít changed. The clerk couldnít answer his question.
In my opinion, the changes of a few years ago where the rate depends on the size, weight, and many other features have created confusion.
I mail a lot of oversize letters. Depending on the clerk I get at the post office, sometimes they consider it as non-machineable and I pay a higher postage rate. Some clerks donít think itís too thick and normal first class applies. There is no consistency.
To me, the old days of weight and distance travelled were much easier. The clerk weighed the item and noted the zip code of the receiving post office. Following a printed chart, the item had a fixed price. But now there is no consistency in pricing items. One time itís too rigid, the next time itís not. Itís $1.82 with this clerk. Next time you have a different window clerk and itís $2.50. Differences like that must be driving folks away from using the USPS. You cannot predict with any certainty what something will cost to mail it.
Sometimes I think the clerks just charge a higher rate to protect themselves. If a supervisor discovers that they charged a lower rate and shouldnít have, they get written up. Unless the average person wants to create a scene at the local post office to dispute the charge, itís not like they can take their letter down the street to a competitor for a more accurate charge. The average person assumes the clerk knows what they are doing and just pays the postage, no questions asked.
Or all of this is part of the USPS diabolical plan to force everyone into using the Flat Rate Priority Mail where there can be no dispute about the postage. Donít get me wrong, I think Flat Rate Priority Mail is great and I use it when it makes sense. But sometimes there are cheaper options. I know the best options because I mail a lot of items. But to the average person who mails a couple packages for birthdays and Christmas Ė they donít know the different rates. People like that pay the higher Flat Rate Priority Mail rate. The USPS makes a nice profit. And the average customer has no clue that they paid a bundle of money more than they needed to.
The current rate structure is very confusing and applied inconsistently. The USPS needs to go back to a more simplified structure where postage is calculated between weight and distance carried. Nothing more.