The Post Offices new “APC” Automated Postage Center

This has to be one of the best ideas that any of the [tag]shipping[/tag] companies have ever come up with.

Partly because of me [tag]selling[/tag] all the parts off of my Chevy Blazer project, and partly because my father and I are trying to start an [tag]ebay[/tag] business, I have been spending quite an amount of time at both the [tag]Fedex[/tag] and [tag]USPS[/tag] shipping centers.

[tag]Fedex[/tag] is fairly simple because once you apply for a Fedex account, if you ask for them they send you a couple hundred shipping labels that are made to work in a normal lazer/inkjet printer, and you login to your account on their website and fill in all the shipping info. You don’t really even need to bother with getting the box dimensions or the weight. You just get a shipping label and a tracking number, slap the shipping label on any old box, and walk into a Fedex location, drop it on the counter and leave. They just bill you monthly for any packages you sent out, and if you want, they will pick it up from your location as well.

But thats not what I am talking about today. Since I work about a block from the main USPS building in boston, I do most of my regular letter/small package mailings from their, because they are real cheap, open 24/7, and I think all the mail for my area goes through there in the end anyway. The only thing that sucks is that if you go there during certain parts of the day, they get pretty backed up, and you have to wait maybe 15 minutes for them to call your number, and then you have to “talk to a person” and who wants to do that?

So around christmas time I noticed they installed this “[tag]APC[/tag]” system in the lobby and they were really trying to get people to use it. As long as you are paying by debit/credit cart, you can do everything from it. [tag]Mail packages[/tag], buy stamps, send out express/priority mail stuff..etc, and there is hardly ever a line.

So this morning I go in there with 3 packages and an express mail envelope I needed to send out. I got my ticket to send things out the normal way at the counter, and noticed there was a good 17 people in front of me, so I said screw it (maybe out loud) and went into the lobby and tried using that APC machine. It’s the best thing ever created. You put your package on the little scale, type in the zip code to where it is going, pick any other options you want, and then it gives you the shipping costs for all the differant delivery methods. After you choose the delivery method you want, which if your selling books on, you pretty much have to choose the cheapest because amazon likes to give you exactly the right amount of a shipping allowance. Then the machine prints out a “postage stamp” that you slap on your package, and you put it into the big delivery container they have. I also had the express envelope, which the machine happily printed me out the correct postage for, and then before I could even think of which box to put it in (since it was being sent by next day mail, i didn’t want to put it in the wrong box) some lady that worked for the post office comes over and takes it and says she’ll go put it through right now. Then the machine prints you out a receipt, and I left a happy guy. I don’t think my number had even been called yet inside either.

So, the USPS is really starting to give Fedex and [tag]UPS[/tag] a run for their money, especially since all of the USPS prices are so competitively priced now, and depending on the shipping you choose, they even deliver on Sunday now. I hope more of these Automated Postage Centers start popping up all over the place. I think this might even beat the [tag]self checkout[/tag] aisles at many stores now.
[tags]automated postage center[/tags]

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