Oh man, who wants to hear an angry story about the Post Office? Oh, everyone does? Then I’ll tell it!

     This holiday season the loose musical collective in which I participate tried an experiment. We offered to mail out a free holiday CD to the first hundred people to request one (Don’t bother requesting one now, we’re completely out – BUT you can download it for free). We’ve been mailing these 100 CD’s out in batches over the last week. Today I took the last pile of 20 to the post office.

     The Setup: You can mail a modestly packaged CD in a cardboard sleeve almost anywhere in the US for sixty cents. This is convenient, because we could pick up a sheet of sixty-cent stamps and just drop them off at the window – we wouldn’t have to wait for the little label spitter-outer to shoot out 20 stickers each time we stopped by. The first several batches of CD’s: No problem. Today’s batch: big problem.

     It seems that in packaging this batch, I had taped over the sixty cent stamps with 100% transparent cello tape. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is another one of those things that everyone in the country but me knows, but apparently if you put tape on a stamp, it becomes VOID. At least that’s what my postal teller told me.

     When she told me this I thought she was kidding, so I sort of chuckled – until she gave me this weird dazed look and asked if wanted to buy new stamps for the envelopes. Then we got into a bizarre discussion about how I’d already paid for the service of their delivery, which clearly hadn’t happened yet, and here she was – asking me to pay again, for the same service.

     I asked her what would have happened if I had dropped them in the mailbox instead of taking them to the window, and she explained that not only were they void, but attempting to use them would be MAIL FRAUD because they couldn’t be cancelled.

     It was almost five o’ clock and there was a christmas-sized line of weary postal patrons behind me, so I asked for a number to call to speak to someone about it and paid her, just to get out of there.

     So: I paid $24.00 for $12.00 worth of stamps, and my dastardly scheme to include sixty cents of free, FRAUDULANT postage with each holiday greeting I sent: FOILED.

     …and to think I never went ahead with my “Mail a Taco Bell Chicken Quesadilla to someone” experiment (The packaging is very envelop-ish) because I felt bad for the poor postal workers who would come into contact with it.