Reader-submitted: Stamps purchased at kiosk

Please learn from my mistake. Late last night, I purchased a large number of stamps using the Howell Post Office automated kiosk. The machine does not allow you to choose what stamp design you get. The stamps I received (after swiping my credit card) are all Xmas stamps. The receipt says: All sales final on stamps and postage.

It doesn’t matter if I am Jewish, Muslim or atheist, I have no use for religious themed stamps that don’t match my religious beliefs. Yes, this is a majority Christian country, but there is a large minority of non-Christians living in here. A government office (privatized or not) should be sensitive enough not to sell these stamps in a machine that does not allow the buyer to see what they are getting before purchase.

I called the Lakewood Post Office (figuring that they would be more sensitive to minorities, due to Lakewood’s cultural makeup). The fellow who answered the phone, said “sorry, no returns or exchanges”. I asked for his supervisor. After a brief hold, he told me that his supervisor said the same thing. When I asked how I can escalate this, he responded “You can call 1-800-ASK-USPS, they will forward it to me, and I will again tell you the same thing”!

I opened a case through that phone number, regardless. I expect a response in a few days.

Meanwhile, please be careful when buying from USPS kiosks. You might be sorry!

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  1. That is annoying. Maybe try selling them to a friend. You can use them on bills and mailings that no one cares what stamp you use. Inform family members and use it if needed to mail them things. Maybe sell some to friends that also have bills. Just a suggestion. It will last a year, but they will be used.

  2. I once bought 900 post card stamps in Howell post office and then realized I needed regular first class stamps. I very nicely explained my error to the postmaster in Howell and he was kind enough to exchange them for me. Of course I had to pay the difference in price. Ask nicely. Maybe you will be helped.

  3. If it’s for an invitation to your celebration I hear the disappointment but otherwise its really no big deal. We have a lot if more pressing issues than the picture on our stamps .

  4. You are pathetic. They are stamps. Chill. Use them and move on. Don’t make a chilul hashem by calling the post office to change them. I hope you close your eyes when you shop in stores that sell Christmas gear.

  5. With everything going on in the world today, this is what you’re worried about? Not being Jewish, however, having many family members who are, if I received stamps with Jewish religious holidays, I would think it was interesting and would use them. It’s a STAMP. Count your blessings.

  6. Take it easy. No one cares what stamps you use, unless it’s for a Simcha. Find out if you can exchange it with someone. And besides, Xmas is not necessarily regarded as a religious symbol in the US.

  7. I had the same problem. They do not just say Christmas. They have a religious photo on the stamp. I understand him well. Just try to exchange them like I did. This is not being petty.

  8. I had a similar situation, i once got change in a store and the bills had the words IN G-D we trust, i wasnt sure if i should use it, (after all a gentile wrote it) so i wanted to give it back and they wouldn’t give me bills that didn’t have that printed on it. So i decided i will only use credit cards after that traumatic experience. I suggest you hand deliver it or use email BUT DONT BOTHER the postmaster. PUHLEASE

  9. Thanks for letting us know.. it was very thoughtful of you to take your time out and write to tls. Pardon my fellow commentators they must’ve had a rough day…

  10. Thank you for the heads up.
    If you can’t exchange them then hold off using them for now.
    You should be able to sell them at a profit in a few months when they raise the price of stamps…

  11. I understand that you don’t want to use them if they are for invitations.
    May I suggest we all view this as a gentle reminder we are in golus, and think and act accordingly.

  12. You are 100% right. It is a question of a lav deOraisa to bring it in your house – “Lo Savo Toeiva el baisecha” is a Posuk in the Torah and one of the 613 Commandments. Anything related to avodah zarah is tumah, has bad hashpo’s (affects) and is asur to be nehenah from. You may have to throw them out and not use or sell them. Your complaint against the Post Office is valid. They are insensitive to our religion and should not sell them in a Jewish neighborhood. How many Jews were murdered over centuries over that picture. These negative commenters above have no chinuch or yiras shomayim, or at the very least are totaly jaded. Try calling the main office in Washimgton. Tell them you had to throw them out and

  13. He is totally right in what he is saying… and I am sorry to say that while I do not look for it… I do often notice the stamp and I would be uncomfortable receiving something from a frum Jew with that and I would certainly be uncomfortable sending out a mailing with it. Yes, it is not the end of the world and my relationship or response to anyone would not change an iota… but his sentiment is correct. At the end of the day, regardless of how ‘universal’ this holiday is… it is a religious holiday and he should not have blindly been sold that.

    That said… I would suggest 2 things. First… the complaint should go to the Postmaste general. A general complaint would be referred back to the store he bought it… but he can make a specific complaint to the national management or Postmaster General of the United States office (as opposed to the local one).

    Second… while they may not have to make any exchanges… if the stamps are not used… even if that post office will not accommodate… others likely will to offer an exchange or a refund. I have had this on stamps that I mistakenly ruin or otherwise are clearly unused… but not usable. You bought value that was not yet used… so with a little extra time and effort another post office will likely find a way to help.

    • You may be able to mail it back for an exchange or refund:

      If you received the wrong denomination, kind, or size of stamps or the wrong denomination envelope, you can exchange them at full postage value. Stamps can be exchanged if they are:

      Intact, full panes of stamps
      Coils of stamps in the original sealed wrappers
      Full boxes of stamped envelopes
      Original sealed packs of stamped cards

      KANSAS CITY, MO 64144-0011

      While it does have exclusions on adhesive stamps… it also states:

      The following items (regardless of when purchased) are not exchangeable.

      Adhesive stamps, unless mistakes were made in buying, the stamps were defective, or the stamps are affixed to commercial envelopes and postcards.

      ….this was a mistake made in buying.

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