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Postal Pointers: Postal service offers alternatives to visiting offices

August 1, 2012
By DEBRA MITCHELL , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Although many retail products and services are purchased at postal facilities, there are "green" alternative access methods for these services.

The Postal Service offers self-service mail centers - formerly known as automated postal centers - contract post offices,, Click-N-Ship,, stamps on consignment, approved shippers like Office Depot, Stamps by Mail, and most recently, the Village Post Office.

Another recent access method is via an app. USPS Mobile gives you instant, on-the-go access to popular tools on, like finding post cffices and collection boxes, looking up ZIP codes, calculating prices, scheduling pickups, ordering supplies, scanning labels and checking package status anywhere, anytime.

These alternate methods of access provide customers service options they want at times convenient to them. Online services meet the needs of people working in offices, at home or waiting in line at the bank. It saves gasoline, which helps lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Some alternate access channels that can help customers "go green":

- Self-service mail centers provide customers with products they use 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are located in many of the busiest post cffices.

- Stamps by mail service allows the public to purchase stamps through the U.S. mail.

- Contract post offices allow USPS to reach customers at times when a trip to a post office is not possible or convenient. You can find CPUs in malls and other convenient locations. Check: or call (800) ASK-USPS for the nearest location to you.

- Click-N-Ship is an easy way to send mail right from home. A customer can create labels with postage, pay with a credit card, purchase insurance online and view shipping history.

- has transformed communication and business processes and created opportunities for the postal service to improve efficiencies, enhance relationships and develop new products and services.

- Stamps on consignment makes stamps available at participating retailers, such as supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores and ATMs at financial institutions.

- allows customers to create professional, USPS-compliant labels online that bear their own logos.

- Village post offices are operated by local businesses and offer popular postal products and services such as stamps and flat-rate package shipping.

- Approved shipper is a private retailer with a packaging and shipping business who may provide a variety of shipping services, including USPS services and competitor services. There are 4,407 approved shippers nationwide.

Follow the postal service on: and at:

Mr. Zip's tip

Retail, stamp and mailing products are made from 100 percent recycled content with post-consumer content ranging from 80 percent to 100 percent.

Debra Mitchell is a spokeswoman for U.S. Postal Service.



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