Some of the BGG found ourselves in need of some shipping this weekend. Although we used to ship all kinds of stuff around the country and are very experienced at mailing, we recently learned a few things about shipping boxes that we did not know! Being benevolently kind, we thought we would share our experience with you in case you ever need to mail a box in Ballard.
1. The United States Post Office will not take a box that has any bar codes or bar code stickers. Even if the bar codes are for other shipping companies like UPS or FedEx. Crossing out the bar codes with a Sharpie isn't good enough, you will have to scratch, peel and scrape the stickers off. This is especially annoying if you are trying to do it after you have lugged a heavy box to the P.O. and are at the counter and the person at the counter offers no assistance or suggestions other than, "You can't ship that box."
2. The United States Post Office will not take boxes that were originally used to ship wine, beer or alcohol. So, if you get a free box from the liquor store, FORGET IT! They will not let you ship it. Even if, like with the bar codes, you cross off all mentions of booze from the outside of the box. You can get around this by taking your box home, wrapping it in brown paper, taping it up and re-addressing it. Just treat that liquor box like porn and wrap it up in a discreet brown jacket. Because the government is really serious about booze and porn.
3. The U.S.P.S no longer offers free tape, free shipping labels, good customer service or a competitive business model. But hey, it's your government at work.
4. If you want to take a box to Ballard Sip and Ship, which happens to be Open Every Day (unlike our friends at the U.S.P.S) they will let you know the fastest or cheapest way for your package to be delivered. They'll ship UPS, FedEx, DHL or USPS. Really, why would you go anywhere else? And the people who work there are friendly, helpful, cute and nice. Oh, and you can get coffee and great Ballard Gear while you're there.