Saturday, January 23, 2010

When is a Stamp not a Stamp?

A while ago, I put a stamp on an envelope, wrote the address, and then didn't need to mail it. I ripped open the envelope to get my document out. I saved the corner with the stamp, thinking I could use the stamp on some other package.

Sure enough, I decided to mail some CDs in a box. I tried to peel the stamp from the torn envelope. No luck. So, I neatly snipped around the stamp. Then I made a loop of sticky tape and smashed the stamp, with envelope paper backing, onto the box. All the other stamps I used on the box were new.

I weighed the box. 13.9 ounces. That meant I couldn't drop it into a mail box, but would have to hand deliver it to a post office. I biked to a post office. I waited in line. The cashier told me that I couldn't mail the package with my pre-stuck stamp. She cut through my sticky tape, handed it back to me and made me buy a new stamp to put on the box.

I asked her how I was supposed to use the stamp, which I'd paid for. She had no idea.

I suspect the pre-stuck state was obvious because the box was brown. Next time, I'm going to stick it to a white envelope that weighs less than 13 ounces and drop it in a mail box. Maybe it will get scanned by a machine and nobody will care.

But I'm posting this as a warning -- the a stamp is not a stamp, not worth the money you paid for it, if you change your mind about where you want to stick it.

1 comment:

  1. Hints from a stamp collector:

    To remove a traditional lick-it stamp from an envelope: soak it in water a while, until it will slip off the paper. Then use glue to adhere to new envelope. Collectors do this all the time.

    For the newer self adhesive stamps, I am not sure. Lighter or cleaning fluid might do it. Or maybe soaking in water, then scrape off unwanted paper when wet.

    In either case, glue instead if rolled tape would work better and not add tell-tale bulk.