Flat Rate Priority Mail: If it fits, it ships, but is it the cheapest option for military care packages?
Updated on November 14, 2011 by Christine Hofmann-Bourque
There are certain numbers I prefer not to know, like the total calories in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream, or where the arrow points on the scale after eating said pint of ice cream. But when it comes to postage for military care packages, I pay attention to every single penny. After all, I’d rather spend my money on what goes inside a care package, not on shipping.
And until this summer, I was confident that I was getting the best deal for my postage dollars.
A postal clerk here in Massachusetts showed me otherwise, when she very nicely pointed out that I paid 35 percent more than needed on three care packages to Iraq. Ouch.
I have sent every one of my overseas military care packages by Priority Mail through the U.S. Postal Service because it’s both fast and cost-effective. But this summer — seduced by those “If it fits, it ships” ads for Flat Rate Priority Mail — I started sending care packages by Flat Rate Priority Mail instead of the traditional, zone-based Priority Mail, which determines postage based on a package’s weight and the distance it will travel. I figured that because care packages often feel like they’re heavier than a soldier’s backpack, the flat-rate pricing must save me money, right?
As my wallet learned the hard way, sometimes the answer is “No.”
Lessons Learned Part 1: CARE PACKAGES TO IRAQ
A few weeks ago, I sent three care packages to Iraq, all of varying weights. I used three medium-size flat-rate Priority Mail boxes.