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  #1  
Old 11-19-2002, 05:50 PM
Beckyvs Beckyvs is offline
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Cheaper to Ship UPS or Post Office

I was wondering if anyone knew if it would be cheaper to ship packages from the post office or would it be cheaper to use UPS?

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 11-19-2002, 06:10 PM
chula chula is offline
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I hate to be a smart-ass (OK, I enjoy it), but Google is your friend.

UPS Quick Cost Calculator
USPS Domestic Calculator
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  #3  
Old 11-19-2002, 06:11 PM
rostfrei rostfrei is offline
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For my shipping needs, the USPS is almost always the cheapest route.
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Old 11-19-2002, 07:04 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is online now
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On the contrary, I almost always find that UPS is cheaper.
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  #5  
Old 11-19-2002, 07:21 PM
cstamets cstamets is offline
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I just shipped a bunch of stuff I sold on eBay. If you just want the cheapest and you're not concerned about time, USPS Media Mail and Bound Printed Matter rates were great. Media Mail (includes books, CDs, video tape, audio tape, and whatever other sorts of media there are) took about 7 to 10 days to get across the country and was $1.84 for 2 pounds. Packages that were books only went at the Bound Printed Matter rate, which was as cheap as Media Mail or even cheaper for the heavier packages and got there in 3 to 5 days.
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  #6  
Old 11-19-2002, 07:47 PM
DougC DougC is offline
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- - - Last I heard, the post office did not insure packages. So how cheap the USPS is depends on if the package gets there or not.
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  #7  
Old 11-19-2002, 07:51 PM
cstamets cstamets is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by DougC
- - - Last I heard, the post office did not insure packages. So how cheap the USPS is depends on if the package gets there or not.
~

You can insure packages through the post office. I believe the cost was $1.30 per $50 of insurance.
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  #8  
Old 11-19-2002, 07:52 PM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is online now
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You can insure your packages when you mail them - I've done in many times. See here.
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  #9  
Old 11-19-2002, 09:43 PM
happyheathen happyheathen is offline
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To avoid (actionable) controversy:

I have had Bad ExperiencesTM with fragile (and some not-so-fragile) items shipped UPS. It was explained to me that, locally, packages were "sorted" by beefy fellows throwing them across a large room, into the (hopefully) correct bin.
I don't recommend UPS.
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  #10  
Old 11-19-2002, 11:14 PM
jiHymas jiHymas is offline
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Domestic or Foreign

As a Canadian who has bought many things in the States for shipment here, I must beg all of you to remember the border.

When things are shipped USPS, there is a chance (about half) that the package will get stopped at the border. That means paying duty on the contents, 7% Goods & Services Tax, and a $5 handling charge (which is infuriating when they charge you $1.50 duty and $5 to collect it). But the important information is: some chance of paying nothing, a $5 fee if it's checked.

When the same article is shipped UPS (or any other courier), it will always be charged duty. Not only that, but the packages are subcontracted to a customs broker for getting them over the border ... customs brokers have to eat ... $50 charge for this. I have had $20 eBay purchases come to me UPS with a $60 invoice attached ... mind you, it only takes one experience like that before you start being very careful about knowing how things will be shipped before pushing any buttons!

Additionally, if you're not home when delivery is attempted the parcel is held for pickup at the nearest outlet: my post office is three blocks away, the UPS warehouse is half the city away.

Claiming on insurance from the USPS can be a harrowing experience. I've had three claims ... you ship the package to Ottawa, they take a look at it (I don't know what for: perhaps if it's gnawed by beavers they take responsibility) then ship it to the US and if you're lucky the claim gets paid three to six months later. If not, they tell you it was improperly packed. Either way, it is absolutely impossible to get any information on the status of the claim in the interim.
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  #11  
Old 11-20-2002, 09:45 AM
Duck Duck Goose Duck Duck Goose is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by happyheathen
fragile (and some not-so-fragile) items shipped UPS. It was explained to me that, locally, packages were "sorted" by beefy fellows throwing them across a large room, into the (hopefully) correct bin. I don't recommend UPS.
Um, sorry to destroy your illusions, HH--I know you've always thought the U.S. Postal Service was God (heh) --but this is how they sort parcels at the USPS, too.

That was one of the first things the Better Half discovered when he started working there, 19 years ago. He came home and told me in amazement, "You know all those jokes about the Post Office sorting packages by tossing them across the room? They're true!"

The mail handler stands in the middle of a big pile of packages ("parcels" in the trade), surrounded by bins on wheels, and tosses them in the direction of the correct bin. It's more efficient that way, but this is why lots of bubble wrap and that fiber strapping tape are essential, as is a card with both the sender's and receiver's name and address on it (tuck it inside the package), so when the package explodes on impact, they can still figure out where the remains should be sent.

And insurance in actual practice is very useful for tracking down your package. If you've got an insurance stub in your hand when you go down to the Post Office to talk to the clerk, he's a little more motivated to try and find your package than if you merely paid postage on it.
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  #12  
Old 11-20-2002, 10:35 AM
handy handy is offline
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For small items, USPS is cheaper.

For big items, UPS.

I agree that one should look them up on the web at those sites above.

Real example: My laptop: USPS= $19.50 UPS:$7.50
UPS insures free to $100, 30 cents per $100 above that I believe.
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  #13  
Old 11-20-2002, 01:23 PM
SmackFu SmackFu is offline
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Also, UPS has built-in insurance ($100 maybe?), and the USPS doesn't. If you add the UPS default insurance ($2.20 extra) to the USPS rates, it's almost always more expensive.
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  #14  
Old 11-20-2002, 01:58 PM
Icarus Icarus is offline
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Also, UPS provides automatic tracking, you pay extra for that with USPS.
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  #15  
Old 11-20-2002, 03:30 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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[QUOTE
That was one of the first things the Better Half discovered when he started working there, 19 years ago. He came home and told me in amazement, "You know all those jokes about the Post Office sorting packages by tossing them across the room? They're true!"

[/B][/QUOTE]

My uncle, who's been working for the Pos Office for years, swears that on his first day of training, his supervisor picked up a package marked "FRAGILE," and said, "Here's your first lesson in handling fragile material," then picked it up, and flung it as hard as he could against the wall, before picking it up and putting it in the proper stack.

(Not that I don't believe such wiseguys exist at UPS and FedEx, too!)

If money were the only object, I'd go with the Post Office, because I find their rates are substantially lower. BUT (and this can be a HUGE but), I'd never trust them with something that absolutely HAD to get to its destination quickly. Though I find FedEx and UPS to be more expensive, I've ALSO found that they deliver on their promises to get my shipments where they have to be on time. The Post Office's promises, however, are pretty worthless.

That is, if you have a package that MUST be delivered overnight, use UPS or FedEx. They WILL get the package there overnight. But even with "Express Mail," the Post Office is likely to take its time getting things delivered.

So, play it cheap and use the Post Office when time isn't a major issue. When it IS an issue, avoid them like the plague.
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  #16  
Old 11-20-2002, 05:21 PM
handy handy is offline
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USPS brings me packages on Sunday. I don't recall getting one from UPS on a sunday.
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  #17  
Old 11-20-2002, 06:21 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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UPS only delivers when most people are expected to not be at home (e.g., at work). This means that you either have to take a day off of work to be home to get a package, or work for a place that allows personal packages to be delivered there.

If you can't arrange to pick take a day off of work, you will have to arrange to take an hour or two off of work so that you can go to the UPS depot (which in L.A. is in a really crappy part of downtown). For me this means horrendous traffic and a trip to GangstaLand.

Now I happen to work at a place that allows personal packages to be delivered. (But if you think I'll let blackpowder revolvers be delivered to my workplace, you're nuts!) Sometimes I'll order something and specify "DO NOT SHIP UPS", and they'll send by UPS. This means that I'll have to contact UPS and reroute it to my office. About 50% of the time they can't find the office, even though the company takes up two entire floors of the building. I give them my street address, floor number and cubicle number. They just can't find me. It's not as if they could actually knock on the door or something. They just say, "Hm. I don't see a cubicle out here in the lobby. Can't find it. Gotta go." Idiots.

I've also experienced this: "Hello, UPS? I've taken the day off of work so that I can be here to accept the package that is expected today." "Okay, Mr. L.A. It's out for delivery." (Wait a few hours.) "Hello, UPS? I'm just wondering where the package is?" "Oh, we have a note saying you called and said to hold the package at the depot." WHAT??? How did "I'm at home waiting for the package", "Okay, it's on it's way" become "Don't deliver the package", "Okay we'll hold it at the depot"? Seven-times idiots!

Compare this to the good ol' U.S. Postal Service. I'm not home during the day. I get a note that says, "You have a package." I swing by the Post Office after work (because they stay open until a reasonable hour) and pick up the package. Or if it's close enough to the weekend I'll go to the Post Office first thing Saturday morning. 'Cause, y'see, the Post Office is open on Saturdays! And I don't have to go downtown to a neighbourhood that has certain similarities to a shooting gallery.

FedEx is even better. Not only are they open on Saturdays, they're open until 19:00 on weekdays!

So give me USPS or FedEx any day. As for "Brown"? As I said in another thread, "Poo is brown."
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  #18  
Old 11-20-2002, 11:59 PM
vandal vandal is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Johnny L.A.
[B]UPS only delivers when most people are expected to not be at home (e.g., at work). This means that you either have to take a day off of work to be home to get a package, or work for a place that allows personal packages to be delivered there.
Doesn't the USPS only deliver during work hours too? I can't ever remember getting my mail outside of the standard 9 to 5 working hours.
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  #19  
Old 11-21-2002, 07:26 AM
ratatoskK ratatoskK is offline
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When it gets near Christmas, the USPS will deliver packages any day (including Sunday, Christmas Eve, etc.). They really want to clear out all packages from the office before Christmas.
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