While chatting with the clerk at my local Post Office about bulk mailing ( the only form of reduced mailing known to me) I was informed about an amazing, “so easy a child could do it” mailing system called “Every Door Direct Mailing”. According to the clerk, small business owners just register their business entity online at www.usps.com/everydoordirectmail, log in and voila! This registration supposedly gave small business owners access to grids and areas, postal routes and thousands of customers (addressed only as local postal customer) for a fraction of big business cost. The “mere” 14.2 cents mailing charge would get your business information legally delivered to area residences as well as businesses within 24 – 48 hours and the ONLY stipulations were as follows; you must mail a minimum of 200 pieces to receive the discounted postage of 14.2 cents per item delivered, and have enough pieces to be delivered to every address on the ” route”.
Well this was fabulous! According to this opportunity, the average small business would save upwards of 85 percent on postage alone for the “mere” act of registering your company. If only I had listened to my mother’s voice resonating in my ears ” if it sounds to good to be true, then it is”. Surely she wasn’t including our governmental agencies in that warning!
Three days of traveling to and from the post office, nineteen hours of attempting to recreate the “so easy a child can do it” width and length specific required postal insignia and mailing labels to include four asterisks, followed by the capital letters CCWSC, followed by a very specific fourteen more asterics, and more than two hundred and eighteen dollars in materials later, I find myself left with a pile of undeliverable, unusable stamped business envelopes, and a note left in my postal box that read “65 cents more is due for each envelope because it has a metal clasp”! Really!
Well, needless to say that several more trips to the post office were made to speak to the “Post Master” only to later realize that the gentleman who portrayed himself as such now answers to the title of “person in charge”. In addition, the Clerk looked me square in the eye and declared that “she knows the price of stuff at the post office” and ” wouldn’t tell me that” backed by the ” head clerk” who declared that she’s ” known this clerk for years and don’t believe she would give that information”. Bottom line, “you are so out of luck small business owner”! Well what do you do now?
You call the Department of Consumer Affairs for the united states postal service! They will respect you and listen to you, and hopefully rectify this horrible hardship you are now suffering. Right?
According to a “supervisor” with the DCA, everyone with a complaint is redirected to them, but there is no one in the DCA that will “over-ride” a post master because ” they have the last word on everything to do with their branch”. “We are here to appease people but nothing is going to be done because the post master has the final say” According to this individual, ” if you want resolution, go beg the post master”
At this point I pose the very valid question of “then how do you get resolution”? To this question I answer…if you’re electronically savvy, compile a mailing list and reach your customers that way. Invest a little time into downloading web conferencing tools such as Skype (www.skype.com) and OovoO (www.oovoo.com) and record information about yourself or your company and electronically mail it. Finally, consider going back to the nuts and bolts of business and get out there and ” meet and greet your audiences” face to face.
If after all is said and done you still find the need to physically send something, consider aternative to the postal service and use either UPS (www.ups.com) or FedEx (www.fedex.com) because the last time I checked, they weren’t looking to close down on Saturdays or raise their rates, and they “guarantee” the price they give is the price you pay!
As for a personal reminder to “suppliers” customer service is key, because to all business owners, big or small, business should still be personal.