I received two rejection letters the other day. Both were standard form letters from the same publisher. I had to laugh because one of them was for my book, The Marshmallow Man. As you know, that one is just about complete and ready to go to print in a few months. The other one was for a book I'm currently re-writing. So, the rejection part wasn't that big of a deal. They were both, however, sent in January 2008. I understand publishers are swamped and sometimes take a long time to get back to you, so even the 20+ month delay didn't bother me. I totally understand that.
However, both came postage due and that irks me a little. When I enclosed my SASE for them, I put a traditional first class stamp on them. It wasn't a forever stamp, but it was one of those series that didn't have a monetary amount listed on it. I'm not really complaining about having to dish out twelve cents -- it's the principle. I know if I were to hold onto a SASE for 20+ months, I wouldn't mail it out and expect it to get there with insufficient postage. I'd either add the difference or not worry about sending it in the first place. That's just me. Obviously, publishing companies can't afford to make up the difference and the post office isn't going to budge on their policy. I'm not saying anyone is right or wrong -- it's one of those irks in life.
I looked up postage due on Wiki and found this. It's interesting how the process of labeling something postage due was started in France in 1859 in order to keep things honest. Up until that time, mail was delivered on the basis of trust and the postal carrier would write how much was due on the front. In order to keep the workers from writing too much so they could pocket the rest, they came out with a postage due stamp or label. It had no real value, other than keeping the postal workers from writing down the wrong amount. It's funny how we've gone back to having the workers write in the postage due on our mail, after they've whacked it with a rubberstamp. Maybe we trust them more now? Or maybe, it's just easier to figure out the amount by looking at when the letter was mailed.
Anyway, I have to go to the post office today to mail and pick up some packages. I suppose I will bit my lip and give them the little envelope saying how I owed them twelve cents for something I mailed almost 2 years ago. Twelve cents isn't going to kill me and it certainly isn't going to make the USPS better. However, *I* have to be the one to take it in because Rick won't. I don't know why, but the people at our local post office are rude as hell to him. I thought at first it was just a few isolated incidences, but it's not. They're snotty and rude to him every single time. The last time he went in and handed them a pick-up slip, the lady looked at it and then at him and said, "I can't read this!" Ummm, he didn't write it -- your mail carrier did! Then I thought maybe it was just him, but they're the same way with my daughters. I have the sweetest girls in the world, mind you, so there is no excuse for how these people treat my family. Why they don't treat me that way, I don't know! One of these days I'll have to ask or write a letter to the local paper. It's really a shame. So, after I finish up school for the day, I'll be lugging the boys to the Bigfork post office to hand them their postage due envelope. Rick was kind enough to add the money -- 12 pennies. It almost makes me wish it was more, so they'd have to stand there and count a couple hundred pennies. Why do USPS workers have to be so snotty?