Friday, December 9, 2022

What's going on?

 You can imagine my head nearly exploding when I got home from errands yesterday and found this envelope which I had mailed on Tuesday. I rarely bump a post - but this was/is kind of a big deal. I immediately sent a photo to my postal worker son and his only response was: Uh oh

No punctuation. Just - Uh oh  

Seriously? Maybe you have to see it in person to feel the aggression of the grease pencil.

I have not decided what to do. It has been many weeks since I sent my questions about stamp placement to Natalie - and found out that Natalie is no longer the customer service representative. I guess I need to send this image to her - and ask her to nudge the new person in her post -- and find out what the deal is.

If they are going to start scrutinizing where the stamps are -- it is going to be a very sad day. I don't have anything else to say except: Grrrrrr!!

I might have to corner my son and see if he can figure out who has time to violate envelopes that are very clearly addressed. He might not want to get involved. He is not in a role that actually handles the mail. He maintains and fixes the machines. So - I think the mail handlers are usually just annoyed with the maintenance and repair guys - because they would prefer that the machines were in perfect working order 100% of the time. 

I know there are clerks at counters that do not look kindly on stamps that are not in the upper right corner. But Natalie always told me it was fine to put them elsewhere. Hopefully we can find out whether it is a request or a requirement to put the stamps in the upper right corner.


I’m adding this comment - later this morning - and there have been some comments already. I am going to wait until January to get in touch with my local customer service.

It occurred to me that my son already explained the very sophisticated machine that scans the mail and tries REALLY HARD - to find a stamp and read the address. If the scanner is unable to see and read - it will re-direct it to the humans. So, this is clearly what happened. Some postal worker had to look at the envelope. 

Now I am wondering - if they even realized that those were vintage USPS stamps. They have no denomination on them because the rates were going up and they had not decided how much. There aren’t that many stamps without the price on them. So maybe the postal worker didn’t recognize them as 3 20-cent USPS stamps.

Whichever way it goes — I can see how annoyed postal workers must be - when someone who wants to send an envelope refuses to conform to the format that works with the scanners.

I’ll write more - later - but did want to share this thought - since it is still quite early.


And while we are on postal matters -- I have been meaning to share this bit of information that has never been debatable. From time to time I point out stamps that have not been canceled  on mail that I receive and I have been asked if it is OK to peel off an un-canceled stamp and reuse it. It is not OK - and according to the USPS website - it is a federal crime to reuse uncanceled stamps. 

Poster 5 - Warning - Reusing Postage 
July 2005



Once a postage stamp has been used, it is a federal crime to:

1. Remove, attempt to remove, or assist to remove cancellation marks from postage.
2. Reuse a stamp whether cancelled or not.

If you have questions concerning the reuse of postage, please contact your local Postal Inspector.

Title 18, U.S. Code, Sections 471 and 1720

Poster 5 July 2005
PSN 7690-03-000-9182


  1. Calligrapher, Kathy Milici's husband worked at the USPS as a postmaster and big boss of a mail distribution center. I had asked her to ask him why stamps sometimes have a Sharpie line drawn through them. He said: if for some reason the stamps didn't get a cancellation mark over them (a hiccup in the cancellator machine), a clerk has to mark through the stamps so they can't be used again. Just as you pointed out. I don't know why they couldn't be run through the cancellator again or hand cancelled, but that's the reason for the Sharpie marks

  2. Just this week I accidentally put a stamp on the left hand corner of an envelope and when I took it to the post office there was much deliberation about it amongst two of the postal workers. One of them was not going to accept it and the other one said they would let it go through because it was being mailed within my same zip code. I would think the post office should be more concerned about whether there is enough postage on the envelope than the placement of stamps. And yes, there will be another postal increase this January! Grrrr.

  3. Wow! So not only did the PO grease pencil it up, they also returned the envelope to you rather than sending it on, even though the postage was sufficient. That seems unduly harsh! I guess it goes to show that at least one postal worker may be a Scrooge in disguise. Sharon