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Recently I've put a bunch of stuff up for sale and in the process have made several trips to the USPS online shipping calculator to figure the shipping cost.   The site is very useful and easy to use IMO.  Plug in the zip codes for seller and recipient.  Enter the package's weight and physical dimensions.  All very straightforward and intuitive.  The one thing that puzzles me is the section where they ask you what time and what day you'll be shipping.  The time blocks are broken down into 1/2 hour increments.  I usually just pick some random time that I know will be convenient for me..."Okay, I'm not doing anything tomorrow between 1:00 and 1:30 so that's when I'll go to the post office!"  And that's what I enter.  So does anyone know why exactly they ask you what time you'll be shipping?  Do the rates really change all that much between say, shipping at 10:30 a.m. vs. going to the post office at 2 p.m.?  (Same thing goes for the date....is there much of a difference between shipping on a Tuesday vs. shipping on Thursday? ).  Maybe there's someone here who works for the post office or perhaps is a retiree who could shed some light on this.  It just strikes me as a bit odd.  Thanks in advance to anyone who knows.

Last edited by mike.caruso
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Although you didn't specifically mention it in your post, I assume you know that you can print paid shipping labels on  the USPS site. Registering for an account is necessary, and a credit card/paypal account is used to pay for postage. There is an ability to send tracking information to the recipient (and get it yourself if desired). In my case the preprinted labels allow me to simply drop packages at the post office counter without having to stand in line. The system works for priority mail but not for ground shipping. The site also allows ordering priority boxes at no charge.

@CNJ Jim posted:

Isn't the "day shipped" asked for so they can state the expected day of delivery?

Don't know.  I thought when you do this you are simply requesting a quote for how much it costs to ship a package weighing X lbs. to XYZ zip code.  When you enter the info a number of options come up, e.g. Standard Ground, Priority Mail, etc.  And in each case it will say "3-5 business days" or whatever.   So that would tell you the expected day of delivery.  And when you go to the post office clerk and pay, he or she says "package should arrive Monday" or whatever.  

As far as what time it is shipped, I guess to be sure that you are putting it someplace where it will get picked up that day.

Oh, so that only has relevance if they're picking up from you?  Okay.  I always enter this information with the assumption that I'm dropping off the package at the post office.   I'm not requesting that they pick up.  It would be nice if you had the option to skip that step if you don't require pickup, but I suppose that's nitpicking.

I don't think it has anything to do with pricing.

Could be.  Maybe I was looking at it the wrong way.  

Last edited by mike.caruso

My guess is that date and time are just to ensure that you get an accurate time in transit estimate based on when your local office closes.  The date may also factor in for already announced postal rate changes, e.g. today is Wednesday, you want to ship Monday, and rates go up on Friday.

I sell a fair amount of stuff on the eBay and always use USPS to ship. It is very handy to calculate the postage, print the shipping label, have my eBay account billed, and then put the package on my front porch. There is also a discount for using USPS through eBay. I have never seen any information that time of day or day of the week has anything to do with pricing.

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