Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Cautionary Tale of Stamps

With our business cards tucked safely away inside the envelopes, I drove to the post office. I was on the hunt for the new Garden of Love Stamps. I was in luck! My post office had just gotten them in that week. So I did what any bride would do and bought five booklets.

So cute!
Image via The Postal Store

I took a sealed envelope to get it weighed so I would have the exact postage. Since our STDs are magnets, they were a little heavier and I knew the postage was bound to be more than  expected. The nice woman at the counter complimented me on the envelopes and told me they would cost 64 cents. They didn't have any nice 20 cent stamps so I went home and checked online. I decided on the Herb stamps. Even though I only needed 20 cent stamps, I got these 29 cent stamps 'cause they're so puurty. 

Image via The Postal Store

44 cent stamps + 29 cent stamps = 73 cents worth of postage. More than enough right? Wrong. It turns out, I still didn't have enough postage. After my Herb stamps arrived, I quickly stuck all of them onto the envelopes and Mr. Warbler and I headed to the post office on my lunch break. Yes, lunch break. I was that desperate to get them out into the world! Before I tell you what happened, let me show you these beauties.

Outside envelopes

MOH J5 printed a modified version of our Penguins on the envelopes. Thanks again, J5!

I love the red flower and two doves stamps!

When I went back to the post office, I nervously asked the man behind the counter if they hand cancelled envelopes. I had read on other blogs that some post offices did NOT hand cancel and that it was really hit or miss sometimes. After he said "Yes." I breathed a huge sigh of relief and happily handed them off to him. But after he weighed one envelope he told me that it would cost 84 cents to mail them and that I needed 11 more cents. "No," I said. "I came last week and had them weighed. I was told it would cost 64 cents. Weigh it again, I have enough postage." The man shook his head and said "If you want them hand cancelled you need 11 more cents. Hand cancelling services are extra."

Ugh. I looked at Mr. Warbs for help and he just shrugged and said, "OK, give us 10 cent and 1 cent stamps." But I was mortified. How could I have forgotten to ask about hand cancelling last week? I had heard that there was no charge for hand cancelling, but I should have verified. Idiot! At this point I just wanted to preserve the stamp harmony. Adding extra un-matching stamps next to my beautiful ones made me want to cry. I asked the man behind the counter if we could just forgo the hand cancelling and mail them as is. But that was a no go. Since I was mailing magnets they couldn't run them through the machines anyway. The had to be hand cancelled. Big sigh. I could have run home and added an extra Herb stamp to the envelopes, but it seemed like more trouble than it was worth. I reluctantly added the extra 10 and 1 cent stamps and destroyed my masterpiece. The end result looked like this.

Not what I envisioned at ALL.

To add salt to my wounds, the man took out a big rubber stamp and stamped "DO NOT BEND" in huge red letters on the bottom right hand corner. At this point I had to get out of there. Mr. Warbs tried to cheer me up by saying no one was going to care about the envelope anyway. Even though I know he's right I still feel moody about the whole thing. I don't have any complaints about the way my STDs came out which is all that matters. If anything, I'm glad I went through all of this with the STDs and NOT the invites.

So a word of advice to fellow brides: don't forget to ask questions! If you're going to hand cancel your invites or STDs, let the postal worker know when they're weighing your envelope. Trust me, it's best to stray on the safe side. Is anyone else going to hand cancel?


  1. Such a bummer :( I'm sure your guests will still find them lovely. Those garden stamps are the best though, love them!

  2. That is sooo upsetting! Honestly, I have NEVER heard of a FEE for hand-cancelling- personally I think that guy was full of crap for saying that. BUT You are most def. not the first person to go to a post office with a sample and get told the wrong amount for postage. We took our sample to two different post offices and got different prices at both places! I honestly think what happened is the person that initially told you the price was wrong and the guy was just trying to cover it up by saying it was because of the hand-cancelling.

    Lessons learned and you'll be sooo prepared now for when it comes time to mail your invites! At least this was w/ the save the dates, plus, they really don't look that bad, but I completely understand how you must have felt!

  3. I'd never even heard about this hand cancelling thing until your post. Thanks for this post!

    And FWIW, I think they still looked perfect. ;-)

  4. So, I was wondering what the deal was with the envelope, but then I thought it looked kind of cool. I was just happy to have that waiting for me when I got home and was excited to open it up and put that magnet on my fridge. Don't fret, it still looks awesome.
    Oh, and what the hell is hand cancelling?

  5. Thanks ladies! I have made my peace with the way they came out. I've heard of a hand cancelling fee for large quantities for usually more than 50, but I only had about half that amount.

    @tb, hand cancelling is when the post office manually cancels out the stamp (so sneaky people can't reuse them) with a neat rubber stamp instead of feeding them through their machines.