Big Brother, er, the Post Office, doesn't agree with your definition of Media Mail


Lots of us are sick of going to the Post Office. Prices are up. The elimination of flat rates for a system of national zones has made affordable mailings expensive. And the clerks behind the counter are under orders to relentlessly up-sell us. My postal clerks no longer listen to me or exchange pleasantries. They try to get me to spring for insurance, shell out for confirmation, and opt for postage that costs me more but doesn't guarantee my items will reach their destination any quicker.

Surprise: In the face of declining value, lots of us are asking for the cheapest available mailing options now. In many cases, that's Media Mail. But the Post Office is policing packages to make sure everything with it qualifies.

More Americans are complaining that their Media Mail packages have been tampered with so postal workers can verify that what's inside qualifies. Some packages arrive with demands of postage due. Others arrive severely damaged, or worse, empty (guess you should have bought that insurance after all).

George Bush fought for years to grant federal law enforcement the right to open your mail without a warrant. But apparently the Postal Service can do it if it thinks you've stuck a thank-you note in with that Bible you're sending your aunt.