USPS logo (l) USPS sorting machine caption ' Stop sending coins, cards, keys, and jewelry through letters. This machine will rip them out.' (r)

JL Images/Shutterstock @secretsofusps/TikTok (Licensed)

‘Envelopes are meant for mailing paper’: USPS worker urges people not to send ‘small rigid items’ with letters in viral TikTok, sparking debate

'Not my problem you decide to use a destructive machine.'


Moises Mendez II


Posted on Mar 22, 2022   Updated on Apr 6, 2022, 3:49 pm CDT

TikTok is a great place to see how things work behind the scenes. One United States Postal Service (USPS) worker showed how the post office sorts through letters. He also shared a public service announcement on what not to send in a standard letter.

The video, posted by the account @secretsofusps, shows a letter-sorting machine going through hundreds of letters in the seven seconds the creator recorded the video. “Stop sending coins, cards, keys, and jewelry through letters,” the text in the video says, “This machine will rip them out.” The caption of the video says that these items can cause the machine to jam, which has apparently happened countless times.

@secretsofusps I can’t even count how often it jams due to stuff like that. There’s a huge chance you’ll receive an empty envelope. #usps #uspsworker #postoffice ###uspsproblems ♬ original sound – Shh Don’t Tell

The video went viral and has been seen over 5 million times since being posted on March 15. The creator’s request to stop sending small metal items in envelopes sparked a debate in the comments section with people suggesting that the machine jamming is the postal service’s problem.

“This is the company’s problem, not the people’s. We don’t get paid to accommodate to y’all. You get paid to figure something out,” one person wrote.

Someone else commented, “Not my problem you decide to use a destructive machine.”

People came to the defense of the USPS, writing, “Why is everyone so pressed in the comments? Like- you can mail a key or a card! Just use the proper packaging. Envelopes are meant for mailing paper.”

The creator replied to a critical comment in a follow-up video. The text in the video says, “Great news! The post office has already figured out a way to accommodate small, rigid items.” They continue, “For only 30 cents more, you can use a non-machineable [sic] stamp. This will let the clerks know to hand sort your letter.”

@secretsofusps Reply to @rose_23_11 Just use a non-machinable stamp. It’s only 30 cents. #postoffice #uspsworker #uspsproblems #usps #hotsauce #fishingline ♬ original sound – Shh Don’t Tell

The USPS does have a non-machinable surcharge for parcels with small rigid items. The Daily Dot reached out to the creator via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: Mar 22, 2022, 6:11 pm CDT