Self addressed stamped package?
April 13, 2006 12:58 AM   Subscribe

It's a lot like the concept of a self addressed stamped envelope, except that it is for a package of unknown weight. Can I do this?

In other words, I was hoping to ship an empty box to a family member, have them fill it with some things (weighing potentially any imaginable number of units) and send it back to me. Two important distinctions are that I choose the carrier and that I pay for the shipping.

Who offers the service, what is it called and what is my cheapest option given an “average” 10 lb package?
posted by |n$eCur3 to Grab Bag (14 answers total)
Response by poster: in the continental US of A
posted by |n$eCur3 at 1:06 AM on April 13, 2006

Well, if you have a credit card, you can just have your remote family member fill out the card info directly on the UPS slip. FedEx does the same thing, AFAIK... they're a better shipper, but cost quite a bit more, particularly for large/heavy items. So that'll just cost you normal shipping both ways.

If they can take Paypal.... bulk-rate USPS is the cheapest and slowest way to ship. Have them pay the postage, and then reimburse them via PayPal. (send it as Quasi-Cash so they get all of it.)
posted by Malor at 1:09 AM on April 13, 2006

If it's a family member surely you could just write a check instead of using PayPal! But yeah, you can even send a UPS label with your package. The weight needs to be specified by you—you'll just be billed for it.
posted by grouse at 3:10 AM on April 13, 2006

I was suggesting PayPal because he wouldn't know how much it would be up front, and the USPS, which is the cheapest option, won't take a credit card remotely, as far as I know.

There's also the old standby, COD, but that's expensive, a lot worse than the other options here.
posted by Malor at 3:34 AM on April 13, 2006

I was suggesting PayPal because he wouldn't know how much it would be up front

Replace "PayPal" with "a check" and you have a good idea. Rememember that PayPal sucks. It might be a better idea than writing a check if you're dealing with someone you don't know, but god knows I trust my family members more than PayPal.
posted by grouse at 4:13 AM on April 13, 2006

The weight needs to be specified by you

And I meant that it doesn't need to be specified. Need sleep. Or coffee.
posted by grouse at 4:14 AM on April 13, 2006

The USPS has flat-rate Priority Post envelopes and boxes. Anything that fits in the envelope/box is the same price, regardless of weight.
posted by winston at 4:52 AM on April 13, 2006

Only reason I was suggesting PayPal is because the reimbursement can be almost instant... paper checks take awhile.
posted by Malor at 5:30 AM on April 13, 2006

Um I could be wrong but I think you can walk into any UPS store or Kedex/Kinkos and tell them exactly what you want to do. You fill out a slip with your CC info or other payment method and your family member uses that to send it back.
posted by poppo at 6:22 AM on April 13, 2006

Kedex/Kinkos Fedex/Kinkos
posted by poppo at 6:23 AM on April 13, 2006

I think with Fed-Ex you can create a personal account and then have anyone ship something to you on that account. You can give someone the account number and then when the billing is made, it is deducted automatically from your CC.
posted by JJ86 at 7:15 AM on April 13, 2006

I rented a phone recently and it came with a return box nested perfectly inside the outer packaging. Both were UPS boxes so it seems like they must be set up for this exact premise already.
posted by johngumbo at 8:27 AM on April 13, 2006

I have a FedEx account. I occasionally give somebody the number, if they want to ship me something.

I'm pretty sure it gets me some sort of minor discount too(10-15% or something), though I could be completely wrong about that.
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:50 AM on April 13, 2006

You can just go to the UPS site and instantly print out a pre-paid shipping label. You'll have to specify a weight, so you might have to specify the worst-case, but if you're only doing this once then it won't be a big deal.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:52 AM on April 13, 2006

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