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Ziggy587
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eBay / Media Mail Whoas (solved)

by Ziggy587 Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:37 am

I purchased a VHS lot from a seller on eBay. 16 tapes in total (to give you an idea of the size and weight of the box). I purchased the listing on July 14th, the seller shipped it on the 17th (that's a Friday and Monday, FWIW). I still have not received the package. Here are the tracking results...

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What's really lame is that it shipped from LI, really close to me in fact. And now it's stuck in NJ.

What I'm guessing happened is the package made it's way to the distribution center in NJ, and it was opened for inspection there. I've heard people say that movies are safe, but from reading allowed items on the USPS site this does not seem to be the case.

4.1 Qualified Items

Only these items may be mailed at the Media Mail prices:

Books, including books issued to supplement other books, of at least eight printed pages, consisting wholly of reading matter or scholarly bibliography, or reading matter with incidental blank spaces for notations and containing no advertising matter other than incidental announcements of books. Advertising includes paid advertising and the publishers‘ own advertising in display, classified, or editorial style.
16-millimeter or narrower width films, which must be positive prints in final form for viewing, and catalogs of such films of 24 pages or more (at least 22 of which are printed). Films and film catalogs sent to or from commercial theaters do not qualify for the Media Mail price.
Printed music, whether in bound or sheet form.
Printed objective test materials and their accessories used by or on behalf of educational institutions to test ability, aptitude, achievement, interests, and other mental and personal qualities with or without answers, test scores, or identifying information recorded thereon in writing or by mark.
Sound recordings, including incidental announcements of recordings and guides or scripts prepared solely for use with such recordings. Video recordings and player piano rolls are classified as sound recordings.
Playscripts and manuscripts for books, periodicals, and music.
Printed educational reference charts designed to instruct or train individuals for improving or developing their capabilities. Each chart must be a single printed sheet of information designed for educational reference. The information on the chart, which may be printed on one or both sides of the sheet, must be conveyed primarily by graphs, diagrams, tables, or other nonnarrative matter. An educational reference chart is normally but not necessarily devoted to one subject. A chart on which the information is conveyed primarily by textual matter in a narrative form does not qualify as a printed educational reference chart for mailing at the Media Mail prices even if it includes graphs, diagrams, or tables. Examples of qualifying charts include maps produced primarily for educational reference, tables of mathematical or scientific equations, noun declensions or verb conjugations used in the study of languages, periodic table of elements, botanical or zoological tables, and other tables used in the study of science.
Loose-leaf pages and their binders consisting of medical information for distribution to doctors, hospitals, medical schools, and medical students.
Computer-readable media containing prerecorded information and guides or scripts prepared solely for use with such media.


https://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/173.htm



I'm looking for some advice. The shipment hasn't moved in 5 days now. Should I contact the eBay seller? Should I contact USPS? Should I expect it to finally move and then arrive with postage due? Should I expect it to never move because they cut through the address label when they opened the box for inspection?

edit: Received the package on 7/26/17
Last edited by Ziggy587 on Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jagosaurus
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Re: eBay / Media Mail Whoas

by Jagosaurus Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:21 am

This would have to be a very recent change. I shipped a few movie lots via MM & my postal workers always ask what's inside. When I say movies, they scan it through. I actually have 2 movie lots on ebay now that are listed as MM shipping.

https://about.usps.com/notices/not121/not121_tech.htm
MEDIA MAIL SERVICE

Media Mail shipping is a cost-effective way to send educational materials. This service has restrictions on the type of media that can be shipped. Media Mail rates are limited to the items listed below:
Books (at least 8 pages).
Sound recordings and video recordings, such as CDs and DVDs.


From stamps.com (An approved licensed vendor of the USPS):
http://www.stamps.com/usps/media-mail/
Media Mail is a cost-effective way to send media materials through the U.S. Postal Service. You can send books, videotapes, DVDs, CDs, printed music and other sound recordings through Media Mail as long as they weigh less than 70 pounds.

They even mention tapes for you! I got out of VHS collecting last year but I was getting them shipped to me via MM.

You should be good. I would call and open a case on your tracking #. I've done this twice & they can see more information on their side than is shown on the tracking site. One time, the case/service worker even managed to get my post master on the phone & gave me a call back. I've heard horror stories but I was impressed actually. Just expect a long hold time to get someone.

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Re: eBay / Media Mail Whoas

by CRTGAMER Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:29 am

Personally I think Media Mail has outgrown the initial purpose of distributing Educational Material, too much abuse in the system. Most items shipped are for entertainment and not research. Even then I do not think everyone else should eat it with higher postage costs offsetting the below cost shipping of media mail. Even if educational, the sender and receiver should pay their fair share.

That stated, hope your package arrives safely. The seller should definitely pay any add on postage should UPS add a charge. Does appear as already on the way based on the tracking shown. New York accepted it, though a small chance any distribution center might flag it. Does show departed Jersey City, suspect the package would still push thru to you at that stage.
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Re: eBay / Media Mail Whoas

by Jagosaurus Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:56 am

CRTGAMER wrote:Personally I think Media Mail has outgrown the initial purpose of distributing Educational Material. Most items shipped are for entertainment and not research. Even then I do not think everyone else should eat it with higher postage costs offsetting the low price media mail.

That stated, hope your package arrives safely. seller should definitel pay any add on pstage should UPS add a charge.


I worked at a library for 2 years in college and movies are considered current periodicals or something of the sorts. Weird that software isn't, but you could walk up to the library counter and rent the New York times for the day, a novel, and also a copy of a recent or classic DVD. Games just happen to not fall under this classification. Assuming it has something to do with the Library of Congress handling the public movie domain. Both the library system & the USPS being government ran likely played a factor into the media mail classifications. While I would say yes, some would argue the Halo novels are not educational either. We have a resident librarian who could likely expand on that.
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Re: eBay / Media Mail Whoas

by marurun Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:07 am

CRTGAMER wrote:Personally I think Media Mail has outgrown the initial purpose of distributing Educational Material, too much abuse in the system. Most items shipped are for entertainment and not research. Even then I do not think everyone else should eat it with higher postage costs offsetting the below cost shipping of media mail. Even if educational, the sender and receiver should pay their fair share.


Libraries and schools struggle to get their "fair share" of public funds, so having government operations extend them a slight helping hand is appropriate. In fact, there is an additional library rate for libraries sending ILL items to each other. I agree that it is abused for commercial and personal purposes, but that's because Media Mail has been ill-defined. I think schools and libraries should have an exception carved out for them as institutions and have this vague "media mail" classification retired.
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Jagosaurus
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Re: eBay / Media Mail Whoas

by Jagosaurus Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:04 pm

ILL = inter library loan

I felt cool I knew the library lingo :lol:! I spent many hours at that library & CRCP desk from 2008-2010.
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Re: eBay / Media Mail Whoas

by Fragems Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:19 pm

Media mail is pretty complicated and it really comes down to the person handling your mail. There are a bunch of excuses as to why they can refuse things and if you get someone who is a real hardass they will refuse just about anything that is not a book or clearly educational.

I would say avoid it though since handling is pretty crazy if media mail ends up in our facility basically if it's not for our region it gets tossed in a cage to get immediately sent out on another truck with all the other standard mail. So media mail gets to ride alongside/under 50+ pound items all the time. Also tracking relies on the handlers manually scanning each package which whenever I'm working I'm about the only person scanning the out of state standard packages so 60+% aren't getting a tracking scan till the hit another facility which might be a day to a day and a half later. Plus the placards we use to mark the cages for the other states to help us sort them out don't list all of the zip codes for the packages so I'm sure probably 1 out of every 30-40 packages is getting bounced to the wrong facility which probably adds another 3-4 days.
Last edited by Fragems on Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: eBay / Media Mail Whoas

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:47 pm

Whoa!

Whoa!
Whoa!!
WHOA!!!
Last edited by prfsnl_gmr on Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: eBay / Media Mail Whoas

by Jagosaurus Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:01 pm

What triggers a MM package to be inspected? Not trying to cheat the system, just curious if someone is required to check "x" percentage of all MM packages before they go out. What step in the process does this happen?

Also, how else would they get scanned other than manually?

We have a librarian & a postal worker on this. RB FTW.
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Re: eBay / Media Mail Whoas

by Fragems Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:09 am

Jagosaurus wrote:What triggers a MM package to be inspected? Not trying to cheat the system, just curious if someone is required to check "x" percentage of all MM packages before they go out. What step in the process does this happen?


Honestly no clue as far as I know my facility doesn't check them I believe it's mostly the office that receives it and the one that delivers it that check it if they feel like it. While I was a carrier clerks would occasionally shake a box and see if it sounded like a book but really I don't remember ever seeing them actually bothering to open and inspect them aside from the occasional obvious issues like idiots trying to use free priority boxes improperly.

I guess the clerks who sort the stuff to the individual offices in my area could be picking a few off the conveyor belt but I haven't noticed it if they do and really they are sorting hundreds of thousands if not a million plus packages a night so I doubt they take the time to do much if anything.

Really media mail can be opened by a clerk at any office so it's really up to chance whether it gets inspected or not.

Jagosaurus wrote:Also, how else would they get scanned other than manually

The packages we receive from the offices in our region come in wire cages on rollers or mixed up with the rest of the mail in 5 gallon mail tubs. We sort those into more cages separating out large(16+ inches) or heavy(20+ Pounds) thing as well as anything that goes to another region. Anything small and "light" gets put into a wire cage, rolling cage, or giant metal box that looks like a dumpster it is then rolled into another area and dumped onto a conveyor belt where a team of 5-10+ clerks put it on a belt that scans it it (or if it's untracked they manually input the zipcode it's going to they loathe e-packets from China obviously :lol: ) from there the machine throws it into the proper hamper for the office it's going to. Anything that comes from another state shows up in a OTR(Think giant dumpster on wheels) in a bunch of sacks sealed up. The sacks are then emptied by hand back into an OTR with any larger items being removed and then it's dumped on a sorting belt.

To give you an idea of how many packages go through our facility here are what the cages, OTRs, and "wires" look like.

Cages we get about 500+ of these on an average day.
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OTR(Over The Road) Container we get probably 50+ of these a night full to the brim with packages.
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"Wire" Couldn't find a good picture of these by themselves but here is a picture with all three containers in another postal facility that I found on google. The wire is in the middle. We only get say 30 or so of those a night with mixed mail most places don't send those thankfully since they take up a lot more space in trucks since they aren't that tall.
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There are also hampers.
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Here are some pics of package sorting machine setups similar to ours.

Package containers are dumped onto a belt.
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From there it goes through clerks which separate it so it can be scanned by the machine which sends it down a belt thats probably a tenth of a mile long lined with hampers for each office..
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Closer look at the dumpers to give you an idea of what a small-medium packages go through :P.
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I'd say this is what the belt normally looks like for most of the night.
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