Sunday, December 17, 2017

A 3 Dollar PWE?

I have received a large number of plain white envelopes (PWEs) jammed with baseball cards through the mail. I've had one poor experience where some cards arrived mangled, but generally my history with the PWE, sending and receiving, is quite solid. Also, I have a good trading relationship with Nick, from Dime Boxes, and in no way do I want to suggest what follows is due to his negligence or him trying to pull one over on the USPS.

If anything, I think this was a case of a postal worker having an off day. At least, I hope that's all it is!

From time-to-time, in addition to my cards, I receive a little notice in my mailbox and an envelope requesting additional postage for the PWE or package. Usually it's for 21 cents, the price of an extra ounce for a letter, and I deposit the change in the mailbox the next day. No harm, no foul.

This time though... no cards. Just the notice that the "package" was short $2.51. Don't you hate it when the post office holds your cards hostage?  Argh.

The next day after work I made my way to the post office and stood in line for a while, it is the holiday mailing season after all. I don't know how much time passed, because I found a Chicago Cubs article to read. Thank goodness for smartphones!

Once I finally made my way to the front of the line I was able to hand off my postage due notice to a postal worker and they went to retrieve my item. She brought it up to the counter and had a conversation with another worker, who waived me up to her station. They both agreed someone miscalculated the postage due and all I owed was twenty-one cents. Huh.
I paid, was given my item... a PWE... and walked out quite puzzled.

A 49 cent "forever stamp" was affixed to the PWE, but apparently the weight of cards was such that someone along the line thought the envelope merited an additional $2.51...  totally three dollars in postage.

For what it's worth, I was fine with paying the twenty-cents. What bothers me is I have received very similarly packaged cards from Nick without being asked to pay any extra shipping costs. In fact, I can't recall a time where Nick's "forever stamp" wasn't enough postage.

Honestly, I'm still a little dumbfounded. Three dollars for a PWE? Weird. I'm not sure what that post office employee was thinking.

Hey, let's take a look at the contents, shall we?
See? Nothing too suspicious going on here. Just your typical 9-pocket page, cut into a thirds, filled with cardboard, and then placed in a PWE.

Starting on the left, we have the Jorger Soler pocket.
 Jorge's first Bowman Platinum card is joined by an air-brushed Kris Bryant. I still think Soler has a chance to be something special. He outperformed Kris Bryant at a few stops during their minor league days, but he has to stay healthy!
In the same pocket we have a pair Mark Zagunis cards and an Archives Javy Baez. That is one sharp looking Archives card!

The middle pocket starts with the "Flag-Raising Day" card. I still need a couple more of these to fit into multiple binders. Heck, there are some cards where you just can't have enough duplicates. This is one of them for me!
 The other four cards feature two Hall of Famers, a guy who came up just short 500 career saves and an O-Pee-Chee card of Doug Dascenzo.
For the record, I have player collections of all four of the above gentlemen. Yes, even Doug Dascenzo.

The last pocket was like hitting the baseball card jackpot and I kind of felt like Aramis Ramirez undoubtedly does rounding the bases!
 Rod Beck fills another player collection need. Love me some 90s Stadium Club!

Ooooooh!  A black parallel of a Matt Clement Topps Chrome card!
 I know I've mentioned this before, but I was listening to the Cubs game on the radio, while driving to Chicago, when Matt Clement's pitching effort clinched a playoff birth in 2003. That same evening I proposed to my wife in downtown Chicago. That was a good day! I've been a fan of Matt Clement ever since.
 Kid K!
Both of these are new to my Kerry Wood player collection, which now stands strong at 518 unique cards. This card celebrates Kerry earning a nod to his first of two All-Star games. That year he led the league in K/9 and H/9 as a starting pitcher. Man, he was fun to watch pitch!

Nick, being the cool dude that he is, provided a nice little note in the PWE thanking me for a card and wishing me a great holiday. Love me some notes!
Overall, fifteen great Cubs cards and a wonderful hand-written note were included in the PWE. Nick always sends the best cards.

Nick, thank you again for your generosity. Next time I hit a card show I'll be sure to find some cards I think you'll like! Thanks again for thinking of me!


  1. Love the Clement black refractor!

    Yeah, there seems to be a rise in dumb postal service screwups in December.. perhaps due to temps hired on for the holiday rush. I had a work package returned to me the other day with "no such street" as the reason.. and it was an address I've been mailing to every month for over a year! Are you telling me that street disappeared?! LOL

  2. Great cards. As for the postage: A flat (PWE) has levels, the first being .49 for 1/2 an ounce, then .70 for the next. Where the $3.00 bucks comes in is if someone at ANY P.O. determines the package as non-machinable which the newest minimum is $3.00. I used to send up to 18 cards in a PWE for the forever stamp, but last year I backed it down to 6-9 as they were questioning me, and refusing to run them through the machine. If it feels heavy I'll put the .70 stamp on it, other wise I have been sending the small bubble mailers. With the new rate at $3.00 I'm moving up to the next size mailer as they range apx. $3.50 and hold a lot more cards. Of course I can always go back to the flat rate boxes with 400ish cards too.

  3. Hmm.. I know for a PWE it costs me $3 to send to the States... I don't see how it would be that much down there within the US

  4. I've had a few issues with postage and the USPS, but thankfully it hasn't involved a $3 PWE. By the way... I'm with Gavin... that Clement black refractor is gorgeous.

  5. I think it's pretty much like John Miller said, as you add cards to the PWE, you increase the chance that some postal employee will decide that the envelope is thick or heavy enough to be considered a Thick Envelope/Package rather than a letter. Those have their own pricing scale, which starts at $3.00.

  6. When I send a single card in a PWE, I usually put it in a toploader. The lady who I usually talk to knows what's inside and is very pleasant. However, I had an experience with a "substitute" one day when the normal lady was on vacation. He felt the "thickness" of the PWE and proceeded to charge me as if it was a package - the cheapest price of which is $3 (so I just took my PWE and dropped in the outside mail dropbox rather than handing it over the desk). Perhaps the person who decided it needed to be classified in a similar fashion.

    I guess that, in short, I'm saying "ditto" to the comments above. hahaha

    (PS - I saw your note about your extra Rangers cards. I'm happy to take them off your hands, and I can help with the shipping, too. I wouldn't expect you to cover everything!)

  7. My usps alas charges me thst .21 for my pwe to send of I mail then there. If I put them in my mail box they go as is. But never $3 lol

  8. I print my own postage on and have a few options when sending packages. I've noticed that certain areas will add postage due if I pick the "cheap option" on Like Judson said above it may be beneficial just to drop the pwes in the mailbox rather than deal with the first layer of customer service.

  9. Never seen that before consider I send bubble mailers for less than that sometimes.

  10. Crud -- this is the first time I've heard of postage being due on one of my PWEs. I know I've been pushing it with the amount of cards I usually get through the mail with a single stamp in the past, but I've never had a problem with it before so I figured I might as well ride the wave. Looks like I might have to start affixing a little extra postage to my envelopes from now on, but yes, $3 would be obnoxious (and sorry about the extra effort needed to retrieve this PWE!).

    Glad you enjoyed the cards! Grabbed that Clement out of a dime box a few months ago before even realizing you collected him to begin with! Call it serendipity.

    1. No worries, Nick!
      Oh, and I love me some serendipity!

  11. My PO is strict about sending PWEs - I always put the extra 21¢ stamp because it's the same rate (or at least it was) for "non-machinable" (rigid) mail as it is for the extra ounce. So a two ounce PWE that is rigid would be a regular stamp and two 21¢'ers. I got a whole roll of the extra ounce ones.