As I walked the aisles of the huge store, the Christmas card aisle already looked quite picked over. I usually search for cards with a nativity scene as the ones with Santa, elves and snowmen just don’t really reflect the message I truly care to send. Usually drawn to anything with gold foil, I came upon a gorgeous card that simply read on the front “NOEL.” It was a linen paper, was embossed with foils, and the inside Scripture gave it the perfect touch. So, with multiple boxes in hand, I made my way to the check out counter.
Everything in the store seemed to be on sale, but when I asked about the cards, it was a no-go. The clerk must have pitied me, because she discounted one of the boxes for me. Little did I now how much I was about to appreciate that bit of savings.
Once at home, I got out my gold pen, laid out my stamps and started through my check list. I wrote a short personal note then with pride held out my first card of the season. Next, I inserted the card into the envelope, sealed it and addressed it. It wasn’t until I began to place the lovely Christmas stamp that some words I had not yet seen before suddenly glared back at me “Extra Postage Required.”
“Extra Postage!” I exclaimed in horror. It’s just a card? A simple card? What? I had already invested in nice cards, and a bunch of stamps at 42 cents a piece, my goodness the card was about to become these people’s gifts!
I grabbed my computer and quickly got online to locate a U.S. Post Office that I could call. The only thing I could imagine was that it must be an odd size. Now that I looked at it, the cards were a perfect square. Ugh. Who knew! And too, the production folks had carefully managed to hide that part of the envelope that read the postal warning when I surveyed the taped box in the store.
When the postal lady answered the phone, I figured she would be busy, so I quickly stated my situation, offered up the specs and expressed my need: basically, just how much “extra postage” was required. Then the strangest thing happened. It was so bizarre I still don’t think I can recall the exact words she used but it went something like this, “Just get over it. Put another 42 cent stamp on that thing and mail it. Or else you are going to put all those ugly stamps all over that pretty card. Just do it. Don’t mess with it. I am busy here. I am not a post office. You found me in the Yellow Pages. I have to go. Just get over it and do it!”
Well, “And a Very Merry Christmas to You too?” I sat there stunned. Not only was I now paying for Christmas cards that came at a pretty penny, the 42 cent stamp had turned into 84 cents per card. That meant each card I was sending was well over a dollar- to be sure. And, to be honest, I enjoy sending out a few cards.
A trip to a real post office did indeed confirm that my card was in the “gray area” but that 20 cents extra per card would do the trick. With that, I added all those ugly stamps to my pretty card and popped them into the bin.
So I have decided to send out a note to my friends that will read: Warning. If you receive this card please know that you may not be receiving a gift this year. Extra Postage was just not in Santa’s budget. Sorry, but this scenario was unexpectedly required and is in keeping with the year 2008 as a whole.
Sans Bah Humbug,