Post Office shop - WWYD?

I did my first Hazmat shop the other day and have a few questions about things that came up.

1. While waiting in line, I overheard one of the clerks ask a customer if the package contained anything "liquid or fragile." She did not give the whole "fragile, liquid, perishable or potentially hazardous" line. Fortunately she went on break and another clerk helped me, because I wasn't sure what I should say - my package did not contain anything liquid or fragile. Would it have been odd to say, "No, but I have a laptop battery?" Or is that what I should have said if asked that question?

2. The clerk who helped me wasn't quite sure what to do when I said it was a laptop battery. She asked if it was in the laptop and I said no, so she said it would have to go ground, and then rang it up as ground even though I said twice I didn't want to ship it. I did manage to finally get her to understand I didn't want to ship it at all, and then I bought stamps. This was the correct thing to do, right? I was not supposed to ship at all, even ground? The guidelines say only request priority, as ground won't work, but it doesn't say what to do if the clerk offers to ship ground instead.

Also my clerk was wearing a Broncos tee shirt (I'm in Colorado) and no nametag. I dinged her for both, figuring it's up to the postmaster or the client to determine whether that was appropriate.

We are the people our parents warned us about ~ Jimmy Buffett


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/08/2016 05:23PM by NTALAN.

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For the first question, I figure it's up to them to ask us the questions. I wouldn't have have said no, but I have a laptop battery. I would have said it's a laptop battery and let them ask more questions. (My thinking is if you said no, you are saying you don't have anything liquid, fragile, perishable or hazardous. Don't answer yes or no, tell the what you have and let them ask the questions they are suppose to ask.)
For the second part, you are right the package can not be shipped ground, it has to go priority. If the clerk offers to ship ground we are to turn them down. In the past I have told them that it needs to get there in 2-3 days so I couldn't ship it ground. You did the right thing.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/08/2016 05:36PM by nilennovy.
@nilennovy wrote:

For the first question, I figure it's up to them to ask us the questions. I wouldn't have have said no, but I have a laptop battery. I would have said it's a laptop battery and let them ask more questions. (My thinking is if you said no, you are saying you don't have anything hazardous. Don't answer yes or no, tell the what you have and let them ask the questions they are suppose to ask.) .

But she didn't ask if I have anything hazardous, she asked if I have anything fragile or liquid. Which a laptop battery is neither. But I take your point that just saying "it's a laptop battery" would have been sufficient.

We are the people our parents warned us about ~ Jimmy Buffett
Actually, I think a laptop battery could be considered fragile. But again, I just tell them what my scenario is and let them ask the questions they are suppose to.
A laptop battery is considered hazardous. The package can only go ground and must be marked if it is being sent alone but the assignment is to send it priority only. If the clerk sends it priority knowing what it contains and is not aware of the guidelines then you will be reimbursed. I've done several of these for all of the scenarios.
Didn't you have to push either "yes" or "no" or the touch screen? If you did, the screen asks about each of the required hazardous materials. If you weren't asked to respond on the touch screen, that is another item they failed. If they don't ask a question about batteries, you don't answer it. A normal consumer doesn't know the rules (nor apparently do many employees) and isn't going to volunteer information. If they knew that lithium batteries were forbidden, they wouldn't be shipping them.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
By the way NTALAN congrats for your home team winning the Superbowl yesterday. For your question about the t shirt I would have written in the comment section the fact that the Superbowl was very soon and the clerk was wearing a shirt to support the local team. But yes, I too would have said no full uniform. It is possible that an exemption was given to the staff to wear a different shirt so just a reminder of how close your shop was to that date. If you did a non PO location it might have been okay.
This sounds like a PO location and if so when you were asked to click the CPU with the Hazmat questions you would have had to read the complete list and if you had not already said yes to the verbal question you would have had a second chance to indicate you had something not allowed.
Whenever one of our home teams is in the playoffs exemptions seem to be made for dress code almost everywhere. I always make sure to mention it in the comments.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
@myst4au wrote:

Didn't you have to push either "yes" or "no" or the touch screen? If you did, the screen asks about each of the required hazardous materials. If you weren't asked to respond on the touch screen, that is another item they failed. If they don't ask a question about batteries, you don't answer it. A normal consumer doesn't know the rules (nor apparently do many employees) and isn't going to volunteer information. If they knew that lithium batteries were forbidden, they wouldn't be shipping them.

She first asked the question, I told her it was a laptop battery, and after hemming and hawing a bit she finally decided I would have to ship it ground. At that point she told me to answer Yes or No on the screen, believing I still wished to ship the item.

@sandyf wrote:

By the way NTALAN congrats for your home team winning the Superbowl yesterday.

Thanks, we were pretty excited! I'm actually a Jersey girl so am a Giants fan at heart, but I root for my now home team as well. As for the shirt I did put in the comments that she was wearing a Broncos shirt but no nametag. Another clerk was also wearing a Broncos shirt but she had on a PO apron and a nametag.

We are the people our parents warned us about ~ Jimmy Buffett
There are still some old Ni-Cad laptop batteries out there, so being a laptop battery doesn't mean it is hazardous.
The scenario calls for it to be a lithium battery. The CPU asks about lithium batteries. The package contaning this "battery" should not be accepted for shipment by air.
@dkpskipper wrote:

There are still some old Ni-Cad laptop batteries out there, so being a laptop battery doesn't mean it is hazardous.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
I did one last week. The clerk asked me the questions (all of them) and directed me to the CDU. I hit "yes" because my package supposedly contained a lithium battery. He asked me about it, and I explained it had a lithium battery. He said, "Oh, well they mean really big lithium batteries. The size of this package is okay. Would you like to send it Priority so it will get there in a couple of days?"
I just did one where the clerk asked me the hazardous question and I said I had a laptop battery. She asked if it was lithium and I said yes. She asked if it was in the laptop and I said no. She told me she couldn't accept the package for shipment and I would need to go to UPS or FedEx to ship it. I thought that was interesting since I never got to say I wanted it shipped priority
I've done several shops at an authorized sender, and they've failed every time. Don't even bother to ASK the question! I'd hate to think what would happen if someone who meant to do harm figured that out.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt
@GJT wrote:

I just did one where the clerk asked me the hazardous question and I said I had a laptop battery. She asked if it was lithium and I said yes. She asked if it was in the laptop and I said no. She told me she couldn't accept the package for shipment and I would need to go to UPS or FedEx to ship it. I thought that was interesting since I never got to say I wanted it shipped priority

Which is the opposite of what my clerk said, she wanted to ship it ground since hazardous materials can't go in the air. Interesting that yours just completely denied it without offering ground. What other experiences have people had? Seems like the options are:

1. Refuse to ship at all (acceptable)
2. Refuse to ship priority, but accept other methods (acceptable)
3. Accept priority (not acceptable)
4. ?

We are the people our parents warned us about ~ Jimmy Buffett
I'm doing the "mailing a package for Mom" scenario today, and as I understand it, if they take it for Priority mailing, you can go ahead and mail it. It's not right for the worker to accept it, but if they do, you mail it, right? I think you're supposed to tell them as you hand off the package that you're shipping it Priority, instead of waiting for them to ask you or tell you about the methods? I hope I have this one right. This scenario sounds like the most straightforward of the three hazmat ones. I hope I get it right!

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
If I get that far in the shop, I let the clerk suggest methods for shipping, giving them the opportunity to first offer priority express (so when I fill out the report I can give them credit offering priority express first). However, I always choose to ship the package priority and if they don't call it "priority" I double check and ask "is that priority" before agreeing to it (and yes if they are willing to ship it priority, you ship it). You probably won't get to that step with the Hazmat shops at most USPS sites from my experience. When they ask the hazmat question and you say "I'm not sure. I'm shipping a package for my mom", almost all USPS locations will not accept the box until you ask her. I usually say, that's OK I'd better ask her and come back. Don't forget to buy your stamps.
At least 35% of USPS locations that I have shopped have accepted packages for each of the 3 current scenarios. The last two times, they asked me if I had packed the perfume well. I said yes. Off they went. One of them went yesterday. My poor shipping buddy! Fewer ship the "I don't know" than the other two scenarios.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
Well, the clerk shipped my "I don't know; I'm mailing it for my mom" package today. My poor shipping buddy's gonna get a can of beans! And the clerk told me to answer "no" on the CDU. She's a sweet lady, but I'm gonna have to give her a negative report....

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
Wow! it's strange how results can be so regional. I am swimming in sets of 4 stamps. I'd really love to buy packing tape but haven't figured out, when rejected, how to casually get the tape from the other side of the room and say"oh I think I'll pick up some tape while I'm here."
I miss doing PO shops, the old company doesn't do them anymore and now I can't find them
@avondarcye wrote:

I miss doing PO shops, the old company doesn't do them anymore and now I can't find them

The scheduling company that has these shops now has openly posted on this website. Look at old threads, the info is there.
I just used the search function for USPS and found ten threads on the first page alone.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
Thanx- oddly enough I am registered with that company but they never have any USPS jobs when I check- not even in other areas- weird
Put in zip code 19803 and use a 30 mile search radius. That currently brings up several USPS shops. That will guarantee that you are looking at the right MSC.
@avondarcye wrote:

Thanx- oddly enough I am registered with that company but they never have any USPS jobs when I check- not even in other areas- weird

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
I have done my first and last CPU shop. The receipt you get is a register receipt that does not specify anything about the package weight or destination or type of shipping used. It only shows a total dollar amount. I got a USPS Tracking & Customer Receipt. I was verbally told my package was going Priority though I did not get to see ANY labels, stamps or postage at all placed on the box except the tracking tag.

Considerably late the package shows 'delivered to front porch'. Either the package was delivered to the wrong front porch or was stolen.

I go to file a claim on line and the package 'has no insurance'. Therefore the package was not sent priority. I double check pricing of the package and I was charged exactly what Priority would have cost. I call the location and they tell me the box was sent by regular mail because 'that was the only way it could be sent'. This was not HAZMAT or an oversize box or anything else. Of course I can't even report this to the MSC or the shop will be thrown out and I lose contents, fee and shipping costs.

Utter nonsense.
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