Just Got This Back from the Post Office

Went to check my mail at my PO Box today and was surprised to find this in my box:

2021-1-13 - Front of Damage

2021-1-13 - Back of Damage

This order had been sent out about December 8 and I just got this back today. The buyer never did inquire about the order, and with many buyers never leaving feedback, it is impossible to tell if some orders have ever been received. Whatever sliced this envelope in half did an excellent job. All contents (thank you note, copy of invoice and even the stock card containing the stamps) was neatly sliced in half.

2021-1-13 - Stamps from Damaged Envelope

It has been many years since this has happened to me. Many hundreds of orders have gone out without issue, but not this one!

Anyway, the entire order including shipping was less than $3, so no big loss for me. The buyer will be getting a complete refund through PayPal.


  • 16 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Covid does strange things... :dizzy:
  • It looks like the envelope was just thick enough to jam up the sorting machine, and that poor old machine got kind of angry...resulting in total carnage...oh the humanity!!usps-portland-machines-05-ht-jc-200819_1597853862294_hpMain_16x9_1600
  • Are there people who actively collect damaged mail? It's kind of interesting, in its own way.
  • Rene,

    I believe you have ordered from me and have received that order. So you would know how I package and mail my orders.

    I have always included a letter-sized copy of the invoice within the #6 3/4 envelopes that I mail out. This piece of paper has to be folded several times to fit in the envelope and tends to bulk things up. I will probably stop including the invoice since the buyer can always reference the invoice here within HipStamp.

    The stock cards that I use a thin and light. The thank you note that I also send along is on 5 inch x 8 inch piece of paper that is very light and contributes next to nothing to the envelope's bulk. I can add a statement to the thank you note to reference the order invoice on HipStamp if the buyer has any questions concerning the contents of the envelope.

    I would welcome any additional comments that you may have.

    Richard Pauls (okstamps)
  • Yes there are Scott.. good question! It is a small but strong area of Postal History collecting. Primary to it are 'Crash Covers'. Airmail items from flights that have crashed. These have Official Markings explaining the reason for the damaged letters. There is a worldwide catalog of Crash Covers with a numbering system. Many older scarcer covers sell for US$100. or more (EURO 100. too) Official Seals that bind & note damaged items on return to sender are also collected. A popular specialized area. For the real 'cover junckie' there is mail from 'Conflict Areas' Africa & the Middle East mostly. You can find damaged covers with Postal Notations like 'convoy vehical hit land mine return to sender' A real bit of history. Best Wishes to All. Dan
  • Scott K. and Dan S. ---
    Yes --'Crash Covers' are a major component in the collectable category of 'Interrupted Mail' and there is an organization devoted to just that thing - The Wreck and Crash Mail Society (sounds like a grunge band!)
    But just as eagerly sought at one time were 'Body Bag' covers like the one Richard P. showed in his initial post. There used to be a society devoted to their study, but I believe it was long ago placed in its own Body Bag.
  • Just saying, I went to the P.O.and made a template of their "slot" measurer. I always use glassine envelopes scotched to the invoice so they don't move around and accidentally make a too thick enveloppe. I never use cardboard or stockcards the accumulation of stamps already makes things thick enough.
  • Richard , you are an outstanding packager ! The fault lies likely with aging usps infrastructure I feel . But wow , that envelope was massacred !
  • I knew about crash covers, but didn’t realize it was part of a larger category.

    I’ll have to check it out.
  • If an item is sent in regular mail it can get messed up do to the machines that they get sorted by. I always send items as non-machinable with cardboard and a do not bend sticker so they do not get into the machines.
  • Richard,

    It's a simple fix. First off there were problems with the envelope as how you sent it. By folding a full size invoice into a number 6 envelope you made the envelope too rigid and it's no longer bendable for processing purposes. That envelope should have gotten a non-machinable surcharge. Second it very well may have been too thick to pass through the machine properly. (It's a wonder you have not had more problems with packing those that way) Third depending on how you folded the invoice it could have also caused the envelope to be too thick in part of the envelope and not in the other, which makes the envelope one that has a rigid object in it. That also makes it non-machinable which gets the surcharge.
    Any one of those can cause problems trying to pass it through a machine that is geared for processing documents in envelopes.

    2 possible simple fixes. Don't use a number 6 envelope what you are trying to pack into it. Use a number 10 envelope and you only have to fold the invoice twice. And Hipstamp does have a place on the invoice in which you can add a note to the invoice without hand writing one.
  • Michael, I have never seen a way to add anything to an invoice. Please tell me how to do that.
  • Michael,

    I had always wondered if that folding of the invoice was causing an issue. I guess I found out.

    Since I have so many USPS-issued envelopes of the #6 3/4 size that I need to use (I got a whole box of them many years ago from a dealer as an apology for sending me a collection that was not as described), I will continue to use them to mail orders. My solution was to eliminate the addition of the invoice. Now the only thing that envelope contains is the stock card with stamps (it is light and very flexible) and a thank you note (8 inch by 5 inch) that is very light paper. The envelope containing these items is perfectly flat with no bulges, flexible and noticeably lighter than before. I don't think I will have any problems going this route but time will tell.

    By the way, I added a paragraph in the thank you note stating that if the buyer wants to access the invoice, it can always be done so within this site. If they don't know how to do so, I have offered to guide them through the process. It saves some paper on my end.
  • edited January 21 1 LikesVote Down
    @Wayne Buza - Go to the "My Account" tab across the top, and then choose "Account Settings" on the right side. Once you've done that, you should see a text box labeled "Sales Invoices Custom Content". Whatever you type in there will appear on an invoice below the information shown in the upper-right portion of the invoice.

    Hope that helps!

  • Wayne,

    Robert beat me to it. LOL
  • Robert and Michael: Thank you so much.
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