Refused box post office question...what have you had reimbursed?

I have been doing these for years but I am very careful about what I choose to purchase if my package cannot be sent. Sometimes though the APS or CPU places do not carry stamps or anything post officy. And, I always keep under the $10 (Now$12) limit but this shop has a $17 reimbursement limit. I have enough tape etc. already.
What are some non traditional items you have purchased for proof and the most you have been reimbursed?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/29/2019 06:12PM by sandyf.

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I have only done a few of them and all of them have been mailed. I would be glad to get the tape or stamps rather than mailing a package.
I bought a sheet of wedding stamps (2 oz.) stamps @ $.70 each for a total of $14 reimbursement. I normally buy a sheet of regular Forever stamps at $11.

The higher reimbursement at the non-post office places is because shipping usually costs more than the USPS since they add on an extra fee. If they don't ship it (not likely) you get to spend up to reimbursement. They are more likely to ship the package at these places since they rarely ask the hazmat questions..imo.

The more I learn about people...the more I like my dog..

Mark Twain
Yes, I have been doing these shops for years and have lots of stamps and tape. But some of the NOT post offices I have been to in the past do not sell stamps and one time I was at one who only "sold" film transfers. I was able to convince them to sell me one of the boxes they used for themselves just to get a receipt. That particular place was an outlier but I am wondering if people have been reimbursed for buying things like pens, batteries, notebooks, diaries, bandaids etc...some of the things some of the non post office places might sell. This place I have tomorrow is the type of place that has a good chance of rejecting my box based on past experiences.
I am going to guess you can buy ANYTHING (excluding alcohol or tobacco) to get that receipt.
I contemplating/stressing about what item I can buy and maximize my reimbursement but they always ship in my experience.
Sandy has had some noted issues in the past, though I never do in my area. Out of about 40 of the non post office shops I have done, only 2 have ever refused the package. Her experience has not been the same, however, and she has posted about her struggles with finding things to purchase...hope it works out, Sandy!
Tomorrow is at an office supply place and I have not been there for years with this shop but as I recall I had to go to a different desk to purchase stamps in a book that time. These big box places which are APS rather than cpu seem to follow the letter of the law more often. My last one was at a UPS place that charged me over $25 to send my box...It was to zone 8. I called them out of curiosity a week or so later and asked how much a zone 1 box that weight/size would be and was quoted over $20. Reimbursement is up to $17 and must be to zone 5 or further so it would have still been over the reimbursement to zone 5.. The msc after questioning reimbursed me for the entire amt. And I will never do that place again as it was not evident they would reimburse that time. I took it because it had been sitting there for a few months on the boards and the place is right nearby. I also asked the price of a stamp at UPS in case they refused...89 cents for each forever stamp.
Sometimes these places try to convince me to take my package to the post office. That has happened a few times to me so for the UPS location shop I went on a day the post office was closed. At the UPS shop I was not sure what to do as it was so much over the reimbursement limit. Not sure if I should have refused to send it and then purchased something. I did ask the scheduler afterwards but never got an answer to that question. If I see that location again I will ask before accepting the job.
I did once ask the scheduler if I could purchase a gift card and she said yes but then changed her mind to no so I am being cautious. I can use some gel pens so if I am refused I will get that and see what happens.
I have always been reimbursed the full amount at CPU and APS locations regardless of the cost, with no questions asked. As for purchases, I have bought greeting cards, pens, a 'pop socket' for my phone and various other items again with no questions asked (and full reimbursement up to the shop limit).

I bought some file folders I needed at a similar shop this year. The system wasn't working at this big box office supply store and I just bought something I needed that they sold. Shop was approved with no issues.

The clerk was more than willing to mail my package, only the system being down stopped them from accepting my package.

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."
What zone did you send to? Sandy sends to zone 8. I always send to zone 5 and they adjust the reimbursement when it's way over, but I suspect that if i was sending to a zone 8 they wouldn't adjust it.

@grille wrote:

I have always been reimbursed the full amount at CPU and APS locations regardless of the cost, with no questions asked. As for purchases, I have bought greeting cards, pens, a 'pop socket' for my phone and various other items again with no questions asked (and full reimbursement up to the shop limit).
I would guess if they were going to accept your package and you chose to not send it and you bought something else, your shop would be rejected and you would not be reimbursed for that purchase. I think for locations where you know they are going to charge you way over the reimbursement for your zone 8 packages, you should make a friend in Texas (or wherever zone 5 is from you).

@sandyf wrote:

Not sure if I should have refused to send it and then purchased something. I did ask the scheduler afterwards but never got an answer to that question.
That was why i checked the price with them asking about me shipping to San Diego from Los Angeles which would most likely be a zone 1. For that the price was still over the $17 reimbursement. I do not expect them to reimburse for the overage to zone 8. I always just pay the difference on the regular shops and get reimbursed the max of $14 but for this location even a zone one shipment would have been over the $17 by over $3 so I assume a zone 5 would have been perhaps $22 or so. I would expect to get reimbursed for at least the zone 5 amount and when they questioned it I offered to ask the place what the cost would be to zone 5, not in those words of course. This particular place sat on the board a really long time and I expect others around here already know the huge upcharge at this place and they do not want to take a chance on not getting reimbursed for zone 5 even.
The strange thing was there was not one even a tiny sign for the USPO, they did not have any USPO supplies other than the stamps at 87 cents packaging stuff like ready post or flat fee. They used to have a small uspo sign in the window. They charge by dimensions not by weight they told me and they do not provide any insurance or tracking for priority mail or guarantee of timing . They told me that the last time but the receipt ended up having the tracking numbers on it. This time no tracking numbers and no indication of insurance. So I expect soon they will either be re trained or their designation of a APC will be taken away.
I did not want to refuse to send the package when I heard the price and lack of the amenities for using priority mail as they did call it Priority mail but did not promise anything. That would seem like a flake on my part to me. So I sent the package and hoped for the best. If I see that shop again I will ask what to do about this scenario ahead of time.
I have been doing these, and I always send to Zone 5. The first time I did one and the price was exorbitant, I wondered if I would receive full reimbursement. I did. So I keep doing them, always to Zone 5. I use a credit card that gives me 5% back, so the more they charge, me the happier I am! They actually should not accept the shipments, but about 50% do. Otherwise, I buy overpriced boxes, or tape, or something else that amounts to about $10. I have always been reimbursed.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
The guidelines say that if you spend over the stated reimbursement amount (and ship to Zone 5) you should contact them and they'll pay for the whole amount.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt
Some of these 3rd party shipping locations are really sketchy in my opinion. I have had some exorbitant prices quoted. One place used actual paperwork and not a computer. The receptionist took the paperwork into a back office and presumably to the owner. He came out and off-handedly said it was going to cost something like $40 for a 1.5 lb box to zone 5. I said that sounded kinda high and he said something like is $25 better. I felt like I was on Let's Make A Deal with Monty! The owner (assumed) returned to his office and returned about 30 minutes later with a printed post office label. I looked at it closely and it had powered by paypal on the label. I could have logged into paypal (or ebay) and printed out my own discounted label, just like this person did.

Long detailed report and ironically, I never saw that location listed again...I was paid in full for the shop.

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."
One place wouldn't ship and I literally bought 3 sheets of colored paper. In another place, the only thing I could buy was a 10 yd roll of the WORST packing tape ever!
Well the office supply place took my box with no questions of any type asked. It took 25 minutes of waiting and doing the paperwork but the fee was the same as in the PO. Too bad. I thought I had a chance to buy some nice pens.
I did do $15 gift cards at the PO and a lot of other misc stuff at the CPUs. They paid for awhile then said only stamps, tape, marker and boxes. I try to spend $12.
The office supply places near me never seem to ask questions. I'm glad for this thread though. I have always been conservative and just buy something small, 4 stamps, a roll of tape. Gotta up my reimbursement game lol.
Today I had my package refused by an approved shipper. Here were my choices for something to buy: jars of salsa, there was a rack of dollar store type children's toys, a rack of greeting cards, a display of flat envelopes that I never would have used and a display of Boutique type soap, chapstick, lotion and bath salts. They also had a sign posted for a minimum to use a debit or credit card. This was the first time ever I've had a package refused by an approved shipper. I was stunned and had to think quick what I was going to get for proof of visit.
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