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SHIPPING QUESTION: USPS suddenly wants me to pay 2.5x as much

So I have a small business where contributors send in their art, writing, photography, etc. and I use it to design a monthly magazine. The magazines are very small and lightweight. I've always shipped it in a 9 x 12 regular paper envelope with a small piece of cardboard inside to prevent the magazine from bending. I always ask to ship it as cheap as possible (no tracking, etc.) and they send it as a large envelope (regular first class mail) for ~$1.88/package. All of a sudden, after a full year of doing it this way, every employee at every post office near me (I've gone to so many different ones) tells me it has to be sent as a package/parcel, which costs about $4.50/package. That's more than it costs just to make the magazine!! Supposedly, nothing has changed and they should have always been charging me this much, but I've gotten that price at SOOO many different post offices in a few different areas (I moved this year so it's not like I was always sending from the same city and getting that lower price), that I can't see that being the truth.

Anyways, it seems sending it as a large envelope for under $2 is no longer an option at the post office. I tried using different sites that allow you to print labels online and just drop it off at the post office, but the cheapest I could get it down to using that method was $3.40.

I read somewhere that you can use 2 stamps for a 1 oz large envelope, and add an additional stamp for each extra ounce. I have to weigh it to be sure, but I believe my packages are usually about 3 oz, so my question is, can I get away with putting 4 stamps on each envelope and sticking them in the mailbox? That way it would only cost me $2/envelope.

I'm not necessarily trying to cheat the system, it just doesn't make sense to me why it needs to be sent as a package when it is literally inside a "large envelope"??? I asked one post office employee why it couldn't be sent as a large envelope and she said because they're not able to bend it, even though the cardboard inside is pretty small and thin. But I believe the magazines will get damaged without the cardboard. I considered the rigid, non-bendable mailers, but those would have the same issue I think, because they cannot be bent.

submitted by /u/maddylelu73
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