Home Postage Service: Crash Course.

   If you haven’t been reading this blog, when I’m not making ridiculous shirts, I dabble in the technology.  One of the things I am quite fond of is Ubuntu.  It’s hands down the greatest.  If you don’t feel like spending over a thousand dollars on a Mac and becoming a slave to the genius’s, its a great OS and gives you the opportunity to learn the in’s and out’s of an open source OS while at the same time containing user friendly basics.  It’s great. But enough about Ubuntu, this is about home postage services like Stamps.com, Endicia, and Pitney Bowes.  Honestly, I hate the concept that our own US postal service doesn’t allow you to print first class mail or first class international mail on its website.  It’s complete bullshit.  Instead the postal service is in bed with these other companies making it so that if you need to print anything other than Priority mail or Express, you will need to join one of these sites, pay a monthly fee, and also pay for the postage.  Again, it’s total shit.  When I sell from my ebay or etsy store, that cost is configured into the final value fees I pay with each sale, so I can print this type of postage within their sites.  If I sell anything on my main website, I am shit out of luck and need one of these services. 
   When I was a windows user for many years, I was a stamps.com customer.  It wasn’t a service I was nuts about but it worked for what I needed it to do.  They made you install their software to be able to print anything.  The software was horrendous and looked like something you ran on a 1995 Gateway Computer. It crashed constantly and was terrible at telling you if you were doing anything wrong trying to print postage.  It was terrible but I learned how to use it on the rare occasion that I needed it.  Well I got to the point where I switched over to Ubuntu, and what do you know?  Stamps.com ancient software does not run on Linux.  Having faced this issue with my tax software, I did some research.  Unless I wanted to install a virtual OS, it wasn’t going to run.  So I went online to cancel my account.  Of course you can’t cancel on the website, you need to call so that some asshole can try and convince you to stay.  Luckily my reason was pretty cut and dry, there would really be nothing to argue….so I thought…(I’ll get to that later).   Stamps.com business hours were closed during this so I was going to have to cancel the next day.  In the mean time, I joined Endicia.  This service was a little cheaper for what I needed, $9.99 a month.  Endicia was extremely annoying right out of the box!  I signed up for my account, downloaded the horrific software (actually worse than stamps.com) and tried to log in.  I was greeted with “Account not active.”  No further information mind you, just “Account not Active.”  So I called the tech support line.  After waiting about 10 minutes on hold, the customer service rep told me my account wasn’t active because my IP address wasn’t coinciding with my home address.  You know…..because businesses don’t use VPN’s for security, or travel.  Ridiculous.  Also, they didn’t like the password I chose (a valid excuse).  My problem is more with the fact that instead of prompting you of these issues, they give you a generic message and no details!  At this point I was livid and extremely annoyed.  After that was all squared away, I finally logged into the ancient software and tried to print an international label.  I was then greeted with yet another error message.  This time it was just some weird codes, etc.  Again, no real reason.  I used the online tech support via chat.  The representative was such an idiot that I quit the chat session and canceled the account.

  I decided to try one more option.

    Pitney Bowes offered something that was truly cutting edge compared to the other services.  Something unheard of.  A web based client.  No ridiculous software to install.  It was a few dollars more expensive a month but they also throw in a free USB scale which was awesome.  I badly wanted a web based service, so I signed up.  I had a few minor hiccups signing up, but nothing major.  Basically after I signed up, it wouldn’t let me add funds to buy postage.  This was fixed with a quick phone call.  All in all the service works great.  I got my scale in the mail insanely quick and the interface looks like something you would see in 2014 not 1995. 
    If you get stuck having to use one of these services, I highly suggest Pitney Bowes.  The others were so bad in so many ways, that it amazed me that they were even in business.
    This should technically be the end of this post, however I still needed to cancel my stamps.com account.  I called them up during regular business hours.  The poor bastard on the phone tried to use all of the lines provided for him to keep me as a customer, none making any sense at all as my sole reason for leaving was because they wouldn’t provide linux support.  He finally put me on hold for 15 minutes while he “went to check something out” quick.  When he returned, he sounded confident, “Do you have explorer?”  I chose not to scream, and politely said “No, but I really just need to cancel this now please.”  Finally I was able to.

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