It’s Worth A Shot.
For those playing along at home, two revelations came during last week’s Can You Mail It?: 1.) It is getting apparent that the USPS is getting so desperate for cash that they’ll mail just about anything, and 2.) If you substitute a Ziploc bag for your envelope, your stamps don’t get voided.
As for the first point, this makes our jobs increasingly difficult. If the postal system is willing to handle a seemingly used condom in a clear plastic baggie, then what exactly will they opt not to mess with?
Well, how about some used syringes?
(Note: When we say the syringes were used, we mean they were used to inject insulin into our diabetic pet cat, and not to intravenously inject ourselves with narcotics.)
Unlike the unwrapped condom, which was technically never used, and therefore did not actually qualify as a biological hazard, the syringes were each used and therefore, by rights, illegal to mail.
As for the non-voided stamps issue, we thought it would best to test our latest theory to see if we had, in fact, discovered yet another loophole in the way in which the USPS currently handles our mail. So we double-bagged our syringes just as we did with last week’s mailing, reusing the same two Ziploc freezer bags and stamps in the process.
We’d also like to point out that we capped the syringes so as not to accidentally stab any mail carriers in the process.
Two days later — much faster than predicted — our baggies of syringes made it safely back to our offices.
Their safe return both answers and raises a question.
Yes, the USPS does appear so tapped for funds that they’re willing to handle anything — even items on their list of prohibited materials. But then why aren’t they doing everything they can to ensure that they’re sufficiently charging every customer they’re working for?
We have no idea.
Honestly, we didn’t even expect to get this far into this experiment.
Item: Three used, pet-sized insulin syringes.
Estimated Value: $0.75.
Cost of Postage: $0.90 (or, technically, free, as noted above).
Method: We capped the syringes so as not to stab our mail carrier, then we placed them in a clear Ziploc freezer baggie. Then we put that baggie into a second baggie. The address was written directly on the outer baggie in a Sharpie.
Days to Deliver: Two.
Condition Upon Arrival: Once again, our package came back so perfect we think we’ll just see how long they’ll let us keep re-using it.
Running “Can You Mail It?” Success Rate: 92.86 percent.