As any invitation retailer knows, the journey of a discerning customer selecting an invitation, choosing the wording, changing the proof and finally approving their invitation to be printed is a process that can take several visits and many hours. After the substantial financial investment, time, and effort both retail customer and retailer expect perfection.
Almost always even if there are mistakes that need to be corrected, a customer leaves satisfied with their invitations and anticipate the compliments they will receive from their guests.
The problem is when mailed, a ten dollar invitation is given no better treatment than a letter with forty-four cent stamp. A special request can be made to the local post office to hand cancel the invitation. If the post office agrees, this would eliminate the necessity for the envelope to go through a machine that often results in some damage to the invitation (at least some sort of crease), and always leaves machine marks and creases on the beautified envelope that was electronically addressed in a illustrative font or tastefully addressed by a hand calligrapher.
Many bridal magazines have written about hand canceling and many retailers already suggest it to their clients. However, from dealer feedback there is a disparity in how the request is honored. Some post offices won’t hand cancel, others allow customers to come in by appointment and do it themselves which gives you most the control over the situation, others say they will and do it, and unfortunately some postal officials that said they would do it, did not follow through properly and the invitations were were machine processed.
Such was the case with a client in Seattle, Washington who did business with an Encore dealer and friend Gayle O’Donnell, from All About Weddings. I visited the store and was given a sample of the invitation and promised to see what I could personally do to avoid this from happening in the future.
After giving the matter some thought I decided on a course of action. I would contact the Postmaster General, make him aware of this widespread problem and make a suggestion. I would suggest they establish a standardized policy that would make every branch mandated to do hand canceling. The most feasible way to do that would be to impose a charge for the service per invitation, just as if it were any other enhanced service the post office would provide such as accelerated shipping. The customer would be given a receipt reflective of the additional charge for hand canceling. If the post office did not fulfill the paid service, liability would be limited to a refund of the hand canceling charge and the postage for the quantity of invitations they were given to hand cancel as opposed to being vulnerable to be liable for the cost of the invitations.
I researched and found out the contact information on the Postmaster General.
John E Potter
475 L’Enfant Plaza
Washington DC 20260
202 268 – 2000
I contacted the office and spoke to a Ms. Morton who processed the call like I was a making an insurance claim, said that my suggestion would be looked at by a committee. I felt processed more than listened to. So my idea is that all of you let the voice of our industry be heard and write similar letters with your suggestions and maybe we can incite a positive change.