Mailing shops at non post offices

There are many of these listed at UPS stores and other small stores around town. I have done a few of these and found nothing I needed to purchase at these stores. Often they do not have stamps and only sell a limited supply of boxes and bubble wrap neither of which I need to buy. How do you handle these shops? What do you find to purchase if needed and what is the max reimbursement for a purchase?

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You have to buy something you don't need and the reimbursement is in the guidelines

sestrahelena
I buy packing tape, most of the ones I have done have packing tape, but most of the time they take the package without much concern. They usually ask me what's in it, and when I say it's a big bottle of perfume or a lithium battery, they don't bat an eye.
I've gotten so I really dislike the ones at UPS stores even though in general I love the non-post office haz-mat shops. I have found UPS charges the most for sending these packages. Usually about double what the post office charges. I know we get reimbursed for all of it, but still I don't like having to wait for that much reimbursement.

What's done is done. An egg cracked cannot be cured.
There are 3 kinds of lies. Lies, Damn lies, and statistics.
I don't care that much about waiting for the reimbursement, it's the attitude of the people at UPS that bothers me more than anything. They aren't nearly as friendly as the PO clerks.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/01/2018 02:38AM by JASFLALMT.
@JASFLALMT wrote:

I don't care that much about waiting for the reimbursement, it's the attitude of the people at UPS that bothers me more than anything. They aren't nearly as friendly as the PO clerks.

And I find that PO clerks are much, much more "service oriented" than they were 10 years ago.

The competition -- and the mystery shopping -- has made them up their game!
That's the thing. I am not doing these shops and driving thru LA traffic for only the $12 reimbursement so that is why I am reluctant to take these Hazmat shops when I have no idea what I could buy that is worthwhile. And they sometimes do not ship. I once did one in a store that did movie transfers. They actually sold nothing else. I was expecting stamps or envelopes or something. Since I had no movies to transfer with me for a large sum of money there was nothing to purchase. I spotted a box behind the counter and convinced the guy to let me purchase the small box. I still have that box after a few years...no use for it except to have a receipt. And parking was more than a nightmare...one shop owner came out and made an employee from another store move their car so I could park. That was after I waited in the small strip mall lot for 15 minutes for someone to leave. If they all had stamps it would not be so much of a problem.
But also I am wondering if, since the package reimbursement at these stores is up to $17, what is the most you have spent and gotten reimbursed for if they do not take your package?
@sandyf wrote:

That's the thing. I am not doing these shops and driving thru LA traffic for only the $12 reimbursement so that is why I am reluctant to take these Hazmat shops when I have no idea what I could buy that is worthwhile.
Wait. I'm confused. Is this with the MSC that uses Shopmetrics??? If so, this shop always has a fee PLUS reimbursement at the non-USPS shipping stores I've shopped. But maybe there are other MSCs that do shipping shops at UPS stores that only do reimbursement. If that's what you're talking about, then yeah, I would agree with you....it wouldn't be worth it, especially driving through LA!!
Yup, I get a fee plus reimbursement too. It pays $12 and reimburses up to $17 for these locations of which you speak. And usually they take my package (and if it costs more than $17 to ship it they add the additional reimbursement), I think only once they didn't take my package and I got 3 rolls of packing tape for about $14, which was reimbursed.
Thank you Jas for answering that question as there was controversy years ago about the reimbursement level on the regular shops where they suggested you purchase 4 stamps ($2) or a greeting card. I have purchased up to $10 on those but did not know if up to $17 worth of items would work. Sounds like it might work.
Guys mom, my concern is that I have had my package refused several times at these alternate locations but some of them seem to have absolutely nothing to purchase that I need. I really do not want boxes for two reasons...one is that I ship to zone 8 so I cannot get reimbursed for the box I use in the next shop and the second is that I have many sources of free boxes. I have run into places that do not have stamps or really anything I need so I was asking for suggestions of what others buy at these places.
Yes, this is my experience as well. I buy Sharpies or tape usually. Once I had to buy a box because it was the only option. I know we are only supposed to spend a few bucks, but if the only option is a $7 box, then that's what I have to do. :-(

And same on the refusal experience - most of these stores don't bat an eye no matter what you say. They just ship it. I can only think of one APS location that usually won't ship it and 75% of the time gives the correct reasoning.

I always feel weird at UPS. They can be very pushy. They want to open the package. They want to repackage it in something else. They want to ask 10 more questions. Sometimes they bad mouth the PO. They charge extremely high amounts I am always afraid I won't get reimbursed (not kidding - once it was almost $60. I went back out to my car and called multiple #s at the MSC until I could be sure if I should really proceed. They said yes. When I went back inside a different clerk only charged $40 for my 2-pound package to Zone 5)

And they store your info in their system. Always makes me feel that weird gonna-get-busted feeling when they pull it up and say, "Oh I see you ship to a couple of locations pretty regularly."

....Yeah, well I wouldn't if you would refuse it like you are supposed to do.

@JASFLALMT wrote:

I buy packing tape, most of the ones I have done have packing tape, but most of the time they take the package without much concern. They usually ask me what's in it, and when I say it's a big bottle of perfume or a lithium battery, they don't bat an eye.
I am thinking about going to the UPS locations nearby on a Saturday. The last time I was there they told me 2 prices...one for UPS and one for Fed Ex(?). Both were over $40. When I asked if I could send by usps the guy told me I should go around the corner to the po. The sign for the usps was very small and in a not so easy to see place. I made up some reason to use them instead and it shipped for about $17. He then told me I would not get insurance thru them or tracking but it turned out there was a tracking number on the receipt he gave me. So Sat afternoon I have a good excuse to use them. The po is closed!
The film transfer place I went to also spent a lot of time telling me exactly where the closest po was and giving me turn by turn directions and then ended up not selling anything but film transfers and such. He refused my package so now I have the useless small box I convinced him to sell me. At least they were nice and trying to serve my best interest. Little did they know I was a mystery shopper.
I did a UPS HazMat shop last month. The UPS clerk actually suggested that I go to the PO because I would save money. I said that I was already at UPS and didn't feel like going somewhere else. I was flabbergasted when the amount turned out to be over twice the fee at the PO. In fact, it was twice the cost of shipping by UPS (but UPS would have been slower). Seems like UPS wants to "collect" the UPS fee even if you tell them to use the PO. That is an interesting business model. The PO advertises the presence of the UPS locations, then when you go there, in most cases a rational customer would use the UPS service. BTW, I was reimbursed for the full fee that I paid.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
In my local UPS store the price to ship UPS or Fed Ex was between $40-45 while the USPO price for the same package after I convinced him I did not want to walk a block to the po was $17. Yesterday a customer came into the USPO while I was there wanting to ship the roof and window section of the cab of a truck overseas. My mind boggles at how much that package would have been. The guy was surprised to learn the USPO could not ship it. Then he asked how much it would be by weight after being told they do not ship such large items and he said it was over 300 pounds. The clerks and everyone in line were laughing at the conversation it was so bizarre. The clerk had a great sense of humor about it.
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