Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bulk Mail...Duuuuuhhhhhh!

I've had the pleasure of doing a variety of things with my job. This summer I had the opportunity to reapply our organization for a non profit bulk mail permit. I collected the requested materials and submitted them at the appropriate center. The manager had some questions about our aka in our organization name - but I was confident things would be fine.

While I patiently awaited the renewal of our permit, I had to get a bulk mailing out. I was told this could be done while I was waiting from NY for the renewal, and after the renewal I would receive a reimbursement for extra cost. No problem.

I scoured the usps website to make sure I did this correctly. I wanted to have the letters all sorted properly. After two full work days of getting the mailing ready to take to the bulk mail center (and breaking some kind of child labor law where my 8 year old was concerned - but she is a really good folder and really good at putting on stickers), I proceeded to the mail center. The very nice lady called NY to check on my permit. The paperwork was nowhere to be found - so we faxed a copy to them again. I could still do a mailing. I had actually sorted too thoroughly and had to correct that. And then I had to put non-adhesive stamps on 310 newsletters. And then we had to figure out more paperwork and have me write a check (no debit or credit cards at that center). After 2 hours, I was able to leave and confident the mailing would be sent out that day.

I finally received confirmation from NY that the permit was reinstated. I had another mailing to do this week. With some help, I only wasted one work day. I then gathered everything together to head to the bulk mail center. I was only there 1 hour this time (cut my time in half!). We are still working on the paperwork for reimbursement from the last mailing, still need to get a rubber stamp with the permit number, and still need to make sure I can fill out the paper work correctly. The patient man was very helpful, but I know he thought I was an idiot. I had to use a calculator to multiply exactly the number of pieces for one zip code by a certain decimal a few times. Then I was supposed to subtract 11.01 from 23.56 - I continued to use the calculator and heard some snickers from the helpful postal worker.

I wanted (but did not) to say, "I am really not an idiot. I actually have a masters from a very good school. Granted, one where lacrosse players should never be allowed to have parties - but where I got a good education. I handle all my family finances. I have sat on boards and organizations. I really do have common sense. And you have to understand I have been putting in 70 hour weeks the past month - it's the nature of my job right now."

So when my hour was up, I left with a big weight off my shoulders (at least for the next two months). I also left wondering when I had encountered something that made me feel like such an idiot. Now, if I didn't have an accountant come April, there might be competition.

Thank goodness for the government which keeps us humble.

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