Remember my brilliant WFMW Post about Freecycling those envelopes that they send you to use to pay your bills? I suggested using those envelopes to mail things to other people- just stick an address label over the printed address and go to town.
Not such a great idea, it turns out. See those little black bar codie line up there? And at the top next to the stamp? Turns out those are called FIM marks and they are super secret post office language that will direct that envelope to whomever it was originally intended to be sent with no regard for the actual address you print on said envelope.
I used a USAA envelope to send in my Kraft Full Plate Gift Card Offer. Instead of going to Kraft in IL, it went to the nice people at USAA, in San Antonio, Texas, who were kind enough to send it right back to me with the following explanation:
The enclosed envelope and your correspondence were received by USAA because of the bar code and FIM marks on the envelope. The bar code is the line of small bars in the lower right corner of the envelope just below the address. The FIM marks are the longer marks just to the left of the stamp. Both were printed on USAA envelopes to expedite the delivery of official USAA mail.
Even though you addressed your correspondence to another location, it was received by USAA because U.S. Postal Service equipment "reads" and delivers mail based on these two markings, which are unique to USAA.
In my over zealousness to be frugal and save a $0.02 envelope, I am likely going to loose out on $30 in Publix gift cards. In my desire to save the planet by reusing that envelope, I actually ended up causing another envelope to be used, not to mention the gas and everything else to get the original envelope back to me. It seems like this happens to me all the time- I have the best of intentions and put forth the effort and it just blows up in my face. Anyone else have any stories that they would like to share about huge frugal flops???