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Re: Re: Seed trouble

  • To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
  • Subject: Re: Re: Seed trouble
  • From: JRugh1@aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2000 17:03:16 -0600 (CST)

NOTE: This reply got a bit long. If you have little no interesty in the
discussion of packing and shipping seeds overseas, sorry. You should skip
this message.



There has been discussion regarding Priority and Express mail.  I have had
excellent experience with both. Express mail is overnight mail, or second day
to some locations.  It generally costs less than UPS or FedEx and has the
added benefit that only Express mail will be delivered on Sundays and on all
holidays including Christmas.  It is expensive, but take a look at FedEx
rates - overnight is expensive.  It also can be tracked, good when the
material is valuable.

Priority mail is second day delivery (third day to some locations and
generally a day more for International Priority).  You can send a letter
Priority mail and be assured it will get there in 2 or 3 days, usually a day
or two ahead of 1st class but not always.  If the material weighs less than
11-oz there is a surcharge, but anything over 11-oz in the US moves as
Priority mail.  For up to 2-pounds the cost is $3.20 vs. 33 is ten (not
fifty) times more.  However, the real advantage is that you can stuff up to
2-pounds into a cardboard Priority mail envelope or boxes (given free by the
post office) for the same price.  All parcels under 2 pounds in the US now
move as Priority mail.  To be sure, you should always put a priority mail
sticker on under 2-pound packages.

About a year ago the post office introduced a First Class/Priority mail
tracking option.  It is very inexpensive.  You can then track a mislaid
package.  I believe this costs 30 (don't hold me to this, but it is not

The ability to "stuff" a lot into the packet also applies internationally,
but the locations where you can send Priority International are limited.  You
need to check with the post office.  If you send to a location not on the
list it is a waste of money (they postal clerk should not accept
International Priority to locations not on the service list).  I have found
that up to 2-pounds of material will get to people in England on the third
day after mailing using Priority mail, but first class can take a week or
more (for all practical purposes there is no airmail since mail within the US

As for packing, for larger seeds I have had very good luck using 1/2-inch
thick sheets of styrofoam salvaged from packing material. Cut a "window" in
the center large enough to hold the seed packets, use two sheets of heavy
card stock (not corragated cardboard with has no resistance to punctures) cut
the same size as the styrofoam and make a "sandwich" with the syrofoam/seeds
in the center.  I simply put this into a small "bubble pack" - be sure you
use they type that as clear plastic with air bubble in the inside, NOT the
"padded envelopes" that have a stuffing of shredded paper fiber - I find
these crush and tear.  (If you are using Priority mail, the bubble pack and
all can go into the card stock envelope you get from the post office.) As
long as the whole thing is about 1/2-inch thick it can't go through any
postal machinery. DO NOT stick postage stamps on you parcel.  If you do, it
will have to be "cancelled" and workers can whack the daylights out of a
package.  Go to the post office, have them weigh the package and let them put
on a meter stamp (almost all the post offices in the US now use these
machines).  Mail with metered postage does not have to be postmarked.

Perhaps I have just been lucky, but I have had good experience with the US
post office the last few years and am a real fan of Priority mail.  I am
amazed at how fast mail reaches people in England.  My experience with FedEx
has been inconsistent. I have had incorrectly routed and in one case misplace
for three days a couple of packages.  I have also found that US Priority mail
never seems to get held up in customs, but FedEx can sometimes be delayed,
this happened on a shipment to Mexico.

If it were me, I would send seeds via bubble pack using first class.  Over
11-oz I would relay on Priority for US shipments and overseas where the
service is available.  If I were sending a 1- or 2-pound shipment overseas
where there was no International Priority service I would use DSL.  They have
non-overnight service (believe it is 3 day) they is a good option.

Jim Rugh

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