Since I already have two discussions at the top, I figure, why not go for a third. Hopefully these are helpful to others also besides me.

My first question has to do with printing the USPS shipping labels. I'm using plain computer paper at the moment. The website says "do NOT tape over the bar code". I made sure to have tape covering every inch of the label, minus the barcode at the bottom and what looks like a 'barcode' of some sort up top.

This worries me however because it could be damaged easily on its way to the buyer. I noticed some old packages from items I bought a while back that have these same labels but are completely covered with tape. Does it have to do with the scanner not picking up on it if it's shiny?

Also, this is kind of a stupid question, maybe a common sense deal but when you schedule a carrier pick up do you leave your package/s right outside your door? My mailbox is across the street so leaving it there isn't an option. I have been leaving them next to my front door under a chair. I'm worried about two things. Them getting wet or stolen (if I'm not home). My front door isn't right at the street but only about a little over a cars length away. And I do have a large overhang in the front but whenever it rains hard the front area still gets wet.

One more thing. Is carrier pick up scheduled automatically when you print a shipping label for the next day? Or does it need to be scheduled separately? I printed a label to go out today, but I forgot to schedule a pickup. Now I think I'm going to have to wait around for the mailman or drop off at the post office (pre-paid so don't have to wait in line; thank god!).
Original Post
I don't have the answers for your other questions, but as far as taping over the barcode, that is perfectly OK. You will not have any problems doing that.

Think about it, USPS (like UPS) has clear envelopes you apply to the box, and slip the labels into. The scanner has no trouble reading through that, and the label isn't even in contact with the clear plastic, so the laser can be distorted as it passed through. But it works fine.

When you apply tape over the barcode, it's in direct contact with he printed surface, no problems with distortion. Reflection is also NOT an issue.

I think the reason they say not to do this is the possibility exists (or did exist at one time) for certain inks (ink-jet type inks) to smear or bleed when in contact with certain adhesives from labels. With a laser printer that isn't even an issue. smearing or bleeding could cause them to become unreadable, but as I'll explain below, it doesn't matter.

My advice to you is tape over the barcode. Make sure the tape is smooth and flat and has no crinkles when you apply. if you get a bubble, pop it with a pin, and press it down.

Not having tape over the barcode means the barcode can get ripped and torn or, or defaced and made unreadable anyway from scuffing other boxes.

Just keep one thing in perspective. The barcode alone is not what's being used to move your package to it's destination, the address is still the default. The big barcode at the bottom of the label is a 2D barecode with the delivery confirmation number. The small square barcode (or "dotcode") near the top is a 3D code that contains routing information for automated handling. If that code became unreadable, manual handling would be required using the printed address.

So tape them over, and stop worrying about it!
Thanks for your response.

I brought the box to the post office and they told me the same thing. As long as the tape is flat it's okay. But since they're so stingy with giving tape out, I had to leave it as is. It was raining out and though I brought the package in with a plastic bag, a drop still got on and slightly smeared the barcode. I have a Canon photo inkjet printer. I suppose at some point if I'm shipping often enough I'll get a laser printer.

But like you say this will not hamper it from reaching its destination.

I bought 200 self adhesive shipping labels last night from an ebayer in Sarasota so I can skip the whole tape fiasco. Maybe it is still recommended to tape over those..?
Wes M.
This is a very late post, but wanted to inform others of what I do with my packages. I have a large Plastic Tote with Lid that I have placed upon my deck at my front door. When I am making out a shipping label, there is an instruction box for your postman. I just simply state: Front South Door, inside Plastic Tote on Deck. Then I walk just a few steps to my postal box out front in the yard and raise the red flag to signal him that I have a letter/package to pick up even though I've already emailed him from the Click/Ship website thru Pay Pal. When it's raining outside, I have simply placed a large plastic bag over the entire tote to keep it dry. He removes the bag, lifts the lid to the tote, removes my packages and places the large bag then inside of the tote. Works beautifully for me and him. He's never missed a package yet!
I use an inkjet printer, and so I DO tape over the entire label. It has never been a problem.

Can you imagine if your didn't tape over the inkjet printed labels and the label got wet? Your parcel would get lost, no address to ship, OR return to!

The USPS has never complained about me taping over the label.

The only time I can see it being a problem is if you have a printer using heat sensitive paper - the tape adhesive would/could cause it to darken over a short time.
The concern about tape is about the opaque brown tape also used for taping boxes. I buy the clear 3M tape from Costco at a very good price. After the package is closed, I run three lengths of tape over the label avoiding overlapping much. The clear envelopes mentioned earlier are provided free by USPS for international paperwork. They may frown on their use for domestic packages, and the package may end up in the wrong bin.

The pickup needs to be scheduled separately from the label. The PayPal label service has a link to do that on USPS. You would do well to have a separate registered user with USPS for printing labels that can not be handled by PayPal and for scheduling pickups directly, ordering free supplies, stamps, etc. PayPal refuses to handle the Large Flat Rate box as well as the new small version. I make those right on USPS and use my PayPal debit card so the funds come out of the same pocket.

I leave my packages on a table at the front gate covered with a tarp. Whatever you do, meet your postal carrier and explain your business and agree on the best way to handle it. If you are a regular shipper, meet your postmaster as well. Note that you can put your regular outgoing mail with the package and it will get picked up as well.

My wife leaves refreshments for the carrier sometimes, and I even have his cell phone number. If I have a critical pickup or a last minute package, I give him a ring. Support him during food drives and recognize his value to your operation, and keep your dog away from him. I consider my postman a member of my team, and we remember him at Christmas too.

USPS is the only shipping service I use. UPS is constantly changing drivers, and they can't find their way out of bed in the morning.

Hope this helps . . .
Yes, clear tape is fine but there is a BETTER option.

On the USPS website you can order supplies free.

You can order by the pack of 50 clear plastic sleeves (customs form) but the postal services is OK with these being used on all packages.

Simply place your label inside, peel off the back, stick on box.

Best part, again, these are FREE and the P.O. will deliver them to you free as well.

obg
quote:
Originally posted by OBG:
Yes, clear tape is fine but there is a BETTER option.

On the USPS website you can order supplies free.

You can order by the pack of 50 clear plastic sleeves (customs form) but the postal services is OK with these being used on all packages.

Simply place your label inside, peel off the back, stick on box.

Best part, again, these are FREE and the P.O. will deliver them to you free as well.

obg


Are you sure we can use these customs forms sleeves on all mail? Did your postmaster tell you this was ok?

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