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Shipping and Mailing Mailing and Shipping

Stamps
Price Quotes
Pre-paid Shipments
Letter drop-off
Shipping Tips
International Shipping
Shipping Supplies
Box and Envelope Prices

Stamps
We sell a maximum of 40 stamps per customer, per day. For postings in excess of 20, we can run them through our postage meter. For larger quantities of stamps, try the Postal Service's on-line Stamps Shop. This service takes about three days. Another alternative is the Wallingford Station Post Office located at 1329 North 47th. Click here to see a map. Good people, reasonable prices, excellent off-street parking.

Price Quotes
We ship primarily by United Parcel Service, Fed Ex, DHL, and the US Postal Service. Each service has unique strengths and weaknesses. We offer:

Regular Mail:   Overnight Options:
FIRST CLASS MAIL x FEDEX AND UPS OVERNIGHT
CERTIFIED MAIL   FEDEX AND UPS 2ND DAY OR 3 DAY
    EXPRESS MAIL OVERNIGHT

For shipping price quotes roughly estimated, please e-mail or phone us with the weight, address including zip code, and a description of the contents. For a specific quote, we will need the package in the shop for weighing and sizing. Please check out our SHIPPING TIPS & TRICKS page if your package may be large or odd-sized.

Expect our charges to be two to three dollars more than the published rates for Fed Ex and UPS. For Postal Service packages under two pounds, expect our charges to be less one dollar or less.


Pre-paid Shipments
A growing portion of the shipping marketplace is pre-paid. We will gladly accept, without charge, your pre-paid shipments — within reason, of course. Some shipping companies compensate us for pre-paid shipments. Others will likely follow as volume of pre-paid packages grow.

Please try to bring pre-paid packages that are over two cubic feet (18"x18"x18") in the afternoon before 4:00 pm. We are a little tight on floor space most mornings.

Letter Drop-off
At the end of each day, many local businesses drop off armfuls of mail with us, rather than depositing it in a nearby sidewalk collection box. No money changes hands, yet is is a good deal for everyone. The Postal Service collection box driver picks up from us. They prefer organized tubs of mail to digging letters out of an overflowing collection box. We like the foot traffic and businesses like human confirmation their mail will enter the Postal System that evening.

Shipping Tips
“FRAGILE” is not a valid parcel shipping term. Conveyor belts and machinery — rather than humans — handle your package in transit. Machines can not read special instructions. So pack everything to survive two falls of five feet each.

Unusually “LARGE” packages for ground shipments generally begin with the volume equivalent of 16"x16"x16", or a length exceeding 60". For air shipments, surcharges for “large” parcels begin to occur around 12"x12"x12".

The UNSHIPPABLES. Lake Union Mail would rather have a disappointed customer before the shipping money is spent and the object is broken. We err on the side of caution when declaring items unshippable through us. Carbonated beverages shake, fizzle, and explode. Snow globes freeze and shatter in the winter. Glass on cheaply framed pictures breaks despite every precaution. Heavy pottery can not survive the strains of resisting its own weight. Most anything can be shipped most anywhere, but sometimes the cost of packing/shipping isn’t worth it. Keep this in mind when purchasing presents that require shipping.

The ILLEGALS. Some of the illegals are: firearms; hard liquor; flammable, explosive, corrosive or toxic materials; and hazardous bio-med materials. Wine is illegal to ship to 38 states from Washington State. Carbonated beer tends to explode mid-transit, saturating all the nearby boxes. Liquids in general often freeze and break their containers (we once lost 27 snow globes this way). And frozen jams crystallize. So avoid shipping liquids in the winter, be careful shipping liquids in the summer.

For OVERNIGHT shipments, think small. Under 8 ounces is most cost-effective.

Parcels under 35 lbs tend to be carried, and those over 35 pounds tend to be tumbled. Pack accordingly.

For workplace and travel safety reasons, certain items are considered hazardous materials. These include flammables, toxics and infectious materials. Firearms and aerosol cans are included on this list of unshippables. When packing, allow for adequate cushioning on every side of your item. Anything fragile should be packed with at least 2 – 4" of packing material such as crumpled up newspaper or Styrofoam packing peanuts. Pack it tight enough so the contents don’t move when shaken.

Recycled liquor boxes, once a staple of small parcel shipping, are no longer welcomed in the small package shipping business. Shippers consider the printing on the outside to be an indication of the contents on the inside. Whenever using recycled boxes, be sure to remove old mailing labels and re-enforce old tape.

Chipboard shirt boxes crumple in shipping. Scotch, masking and duct tapes are not appropriate for shipping. String-tied and paper-wrapped boxes tend to be caught and mangled on the conveyor belts. Use unwrapped corrugated cardboard boxes and 2 inch clear tape.

Street addresses are far superior to Post Office boxes as shipping destinations. Place clear tape over your address labels to prevent smudges and tears. Include your return address and phone number inside the box as a back-up measure. Do not place the label over a seam or closure.

Retain receipts and tracking numbers until your package is delivered.


International Shipping

Need a perscription re-fill sent to Albania?  Cookies to Bagdad?  Adoption papers to China?  We’ve done it before, smoothly and cost-effectively.  For important documents, DHL is our preferred international shipper.

Internationally, small packages under 4 pounds are the most cost-effective. (For gifts sent internationally, think earrings, not mirrors). International parcels sent by private carrier require the recipient’s phone number. Please bring it with you.

For INTERNATIONAL shipments, please come with recipient's phone number. We ship Internationally, but rarely use the Postal Service for parcels over 5 pounds. International parcels over 5 pounds sent by private carriers are very expensive (and usually not worth it).

We can ship most everything legal to ship within the United States up to 70 pounds. For residential deliveries, try to alert the recipient to the expected delivery day. Delivery instructions taped to the door greatly reduces lost packages. When planning for arrival dates, try to allow for an extra day margin-of-error.

Electronics not in their original packaging often cannot be insured during shipment.

Shipping Supplies
We sell padded envelopes, photo mailers, manila envelopes, tape guns, and shipping tape. Click here to see a list envelope prices.

BOXES: We have a selection of corrugated cardboard boxes that range in sizes from 6"x6"x6" to 30"x12"x12". Click here to see a list of prices.

BOX TIP: For shipments over 35 pounds, it is often prudent to purchase a sturdy double-walled corrugated box from a moving company or mini-storage facility.

Lake Union Mail
117 East Louisa, Seattle, Washington 98102-3203
Phone: 206-329-1468 Fax: 206-329-3448
lakeunionmail@gmail.com

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