Things You Cannot Ship in Flat Rate Boxes

with 2 comments

The US Postal Service is advertising their new “Flat Rate Boxes,” where “if it fits, it ships.” Here is one such box:

The box.Now, the standard box (not pictured) is 13 5/8″ x 11 7/8″ x 3 3/8″, which means, according to Google calculator, it’s 0.316 cubic feet. So, one would believe that anything smaller than 0.316 cubic feet will ship.

Nay, nay! According to the US Postal Service website, the shipping is limited to 70 pounds.

Which means that if you want to ship something that’s exactly 0.316 cubic feet in volume, it needs to be a little less than 221.5 pounds per cubic foot.

So, for example, you can’t ship a box full of gold (1,204.8 pounds per cubic foot), but you could ship a 0.316 cubic foot section of the world’s largest cupcake (47.74 pounds per cubic foot, assuming that it’s a perfect cylinder, which it’s not).

However, the aforelinked page makes no other restrictions, which makes me think it might be possible to ship as many as 160 weasels, assuming you can smush them into the box. (Based on the average weasel weight of 7 ounces.)

If you’re mailing to the military, you’re not allowed to include any of the following:

Obscene articles (prints, paintings, cards, films, videotapes, etc).
Any matter depicting nude or seminude persons,pornographic or sexual items, or nonauthorized political materials.
Bulk quantities of religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith. Items for the personal use of the addressee are permissible.
Pork or pork by-products.

I just copy and pasted that off of their website. However, I rewatched one of the commercials, and they make no mention of these restrictions.

With regards to international mailing, according to this page, you’re not allowed to ship “materials advertising abortion” (including, I would assume, 2 for 1 or half-price offers), “fictitious matter” (whatever that means: do they count Harry Potter because that’s a fictional book, or does this only imaginary substances?), among others.

However, according to this page, which is entitled Mailable Dangerous Goods, you are allowed to ship radioactive materials as long as you label them “Matieres Radioactives” (French for “radioactive materials”), and biological and chemical hazards as long as you call the right people.

And according to the page on Perishable Matter (someone should tell these people that matter can neither be created nor destroyed), you’re not allowed to ship live or dead animals (which rules out my weasel plan)  except for “l

When it comes to domestic mail, however, you’re allowed to mail pretty much whatever the fuck you want, including “day old poultry” (which, as you might guess, means chickens less than 24 hours old), “live bees” (again), “radioactive materials” (prohibited only in Air Mail), “live scorpions” (for reasons that escape me), and “pesticides.”

However, you’re only allowed to mail condoms to “a licensed physician or surgeon, or to a nurse, pharmacist, druggist, hospital, or clinic.”

So, when the United States Postal Service tells you, if it fits, it ships, they probably should have included an asterisk. That’s all I’m asking for. I am, however, impressed with the mail capabilities of the US Postal Service. I can never get UPS or FedEx to ship my bees (but I hear they are better with drugs).

[While working on this post, I came across these stoners debating on Marijuana.com how to best ship marijuana. The post is titled “Mailing Marijuana: UPS vs. FedEx vs. UPSP.” Basically, the whole thread is someone giving a preposterous series of “and then you put that bag in another bag”s immediately replied to by someone who says “That would never work!” and then explains that you would need at least two more bags. Also, after every post, everyone says, “But I wouldn’t risk it.” Spoiler alert: UPS comes in last.]


2 Responses

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  1. think you have to improve a bit the design and usability of your blog Does killing time damage eternity?

    Julia Wells Equity

    May 17, 2010 at 5:23 pm

  2. Detailed post would it be OK if i translate into Spanish for our sites subscribers? If thats acceptable what dort of link back would you prefer?

    Philip Loans

    January 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm

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