Specific Post Offices?
January 22, 2019 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Is there anywhere I can get a USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate PADDED Envelope in the flesh tomorrow in Philadelphia or South Jersey? I urgently need to send something for which i already prepaid the label for a flat rate padded envelope and 3 post offices today did not have these envelopes, saying I had to order a pack of 10. IS there anywhere I can go in person to just get one? Thanks.

The post offices I tried are corner of Cottman and Frankford, Roosevelt Mall post office, and the 19149 post office on Levick St. all in NE Phila.
posted by WeekendJen to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
do the words have to be printed on the envelope or is just the label ok? if it's the latter I'd go to officemax or staples.
posted by brujita at 1:54 PM on January 22

I *think* I have seen these at the regional USPS center at 30th and Chestnut. They have a pretty good stock of envelopes and supplies, and as the regional hub are most likely to have what you're looking for. I've gotten stamps there that they had to restock from the safe, but that other post offices were out of.
posted by DoubleLune at 1:54 PM on January 22

Do you have to have the padding? The regular "Flat Rate Envelope" costs 65 cents less than the padded envelope ($6.55 vs $7.10) to mail, so I would think they would accept your label. Ask to be sure. I think they are just cardboard with no side flaps, so thicker items may not fit as well.
posted by soelo at 2:09 PM on January 22

To follow up, it definitely needs to be padded and needs to be the flat rate envelope with the printing on it.
posted by WeekendJen at 2:37 PM on January 22

You may be able to get a refund on unused postage. See here. So you could get a box or other package with new labeling.

In my experience, calling the specific post office will be the best course of action and they should be able to let you know what they have in stock.
posted by Crystalinne at 2:42 PM on January 22

Could you use the poly mailers from the post office but buy a dollar store roll of bubble wrap to use? I received a few etsy packages that way and it's been fine.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 4:20 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]

Those are not ones that POs stock regularly, the only way you'd find one in person is if someone bought a bunch and didn't want them and left them at the PO.

I'd probably post on FB and see if anyone I know has one, or post in like a social group. Know anyone with an etsy business or something? They probably have one :)

Or like a kinkos or mailbox store?
posted by magnetsphere at 5:49 PM on January 22

Since you already have the label, you don't need a special USPS-brand envelope. An office-supply store should be able to supply you with (one) suitable padded envelope.
posted by Weftage at 5:55 AM on January 23

Can you wrap the thing in bubble wrap and use the regular flat rate envelope? It looks like the regular envelope price is less than the padded mailer price, though I'm not sure if USPS would appreciate that switch. I worked in a shipping office for a while, and we definitely crammed those nonpadded flat rate envelopes with all sorts of bulky stuff.
posted by little king trashmouth at 7:13 AM on January 23

To close out this question, here's some info to help others who find themselves in the same situation:

Priority mail flat rate labels must go on the exact type of mailer you paid for (i.e. envelope, legal envelope, padded envelope, or s/m/l box) and they mailer MUST be the flat rate branded mailers. You cannot use a regular envelope or box even if it is the same dimensions. The tyvek priority mail envelopes are NOT flat rate and depend on the to and from zip codes and weight for charges.

Priority mail flat rate padded envelopes are unicorns. No post office has them, even "central" post offices in several nearby areas. I actually ordered a pack of the padded envelopes before posting this question, but really wanted to get my package out. They are free, but 10 days later I have yet to receive them and the tracking has been saying they are "on transit to the next facility" for 2 days despite showing they arrived at some distribution center in my city. The only way to get one is to ask around perchance someone has one sitting around their home or business.

I printed my label through eBay and only had 5 days to cancel it so I'm shit out of luck there. Due to the size and weight of the items I was shipping (to Canada), the padded flat rate envelopes were the best deal by about $20 because my items are too large to get the flaps on a the unpadded envelopes closed and too thick for the small flat rate boxes. I'm probably going to just eat the cost of buying more postage to ship my order out today unless the elusive padded flat rate envelopes show up at mail time.

TLDR if you need to ship something in these envelopes order them weeks in advance. I'm still not convinced they exist.
posted by WeekendJen at 8:31 AM on January 31

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