Monday, February 05, 2007

How to Buy Stamps

One of the weird life skills that I have acquired is the ability to negotiate our local post office vending machine. Here are my personal instructions for buying stamps.

1) Attempt purchase immediately after visiting the ATM, so that you have a wide selection of $20 bills. You'll only need two successful bills, but it may take as many as ten bills to find two that the machine will accept.

This is important, as once I went to the post office with only one acceptable five dollar bill– the other bill was rejected. It wasn't enough money to buy anything, yet the machine couldn't return my money, because it only produces change after a purchase. Luckily, I found an emergency backup ten in my purse, and didn't lose my five dollars.

2) Start inserting bills. Once the machine accepts one, select a pack of twenty stamps ($7.80). There'll be enough money for one more packet, and then you'll get a shower of Sacagawea one dollar coins.

(Note for those who don't live in the US – you can only get change in coins from these machines. Sacagawea coins are very rarely used in everyday business, so they can be a bit of an annoyance to haul around.)

3) Don't stop here, because you'll be stuck hauling all those one dollar coins around. They're pretty, but also heavy.

4) Keep trying bills until you get the machine to accept another twenty. Get two more packs of stamps. Accept the change.

5) At this point, you'll have enough one dollar coins to buy one more package of stamps!

At the end of the process, you'll have 100 stamps, enough for most big mailing projects, and no extraneous one dollar coins.

Or I suppose you could live near a post office with a newer stamp machine that takes credit cards. Or just send your holiday cards by email. Other ideas?

Thanks for all your kind thoughts about Q's health. He slept through the night yesterday and had a pretty cheerful day. We're hoping that tonight goes as smoothly. This pic is after a particularly satisfying piece of pineapple at dinner.

5 comments:

Mamacita Tina said...

Glad to hear Q's health is improving. He always brings a smile to my face.

I avoid the post office if possible, I buy my stamps at Costco or the grocery store.

fourthbreakfast said...

I usually buy stamps at the grocery store, but I just got a flyer in the mail about usps.com and how they'll deliver stamps to your door.

Pendullum said...

Post offices and I do not mix...
I feel your pain...
Glad Q is on the mend... and I would give him pineapple all the time if he smiled like that...
What a cutey!!!

binkytown said...

Stamps are irritating! There has got to be a better way!

Glad Q is feeling better.

Lady M said...

At least it takes me a lot longer to go through stamps these days, now that so much stuff can be done online.