Making History at the US Post Office (and the Team of Rural Postmasters)

43  comments

Amanda Rose in the post office holding the book "Half My Size with The Ridiculously Big Salad"
Amanda Rose at the Post Office

Thank you for your support of the book, “Half My Size with The Ridiculously Big Salad.”

You have very nearly broken the U.S. Post Office with your orders.

We are currently shipping the book out of a very small and rural post office located inside the Giant Sequoia National Monument. By all accounts and local memories, what is happening this week in the monument’s post office has never happened in its history.

Too Small for Amazon

First, the reason it has all come to this and that we are not selling on Amazon like regular people, is because Amazon will not approve our store. Amazon will not approve our store because it cannot verify our location.

(I wave frantically trying to get the attention of an Amazonian. I’m right here!!!)

This is a location that has only had an official physical address for about 25 years, back when all of the emergency 911 centers went digital and their systems required an official link between land-line phone numbers and actual, official physical addresses. That’s when our little road got a legal name.

What a moment.

I spent my teen years in this exact house and when I got my driver’s license in 1987, the physical address on the license read “End of Road M-xy-B,” wherein “M” stood for “Mountain Road,” “xy” was the road number, and “B” distinguished us from whomever lived at the end of little road “A.” Yes, that was on my license because, in fact, we live at the end of that road.

Truth be told, my parents made up that physical address just for the purpose of getting that driver’s license. I’m not sure what the handful of other residents did who lived on the same road, but who were not lucky enough to live at “the end.”

These days, we have an actual-government-assigned physical address, but it comes in the form of at least two different spellings, causing the robot brains of places like Amazon to explode. Some of our utility bills have the historical versions of our physical address, further playing with those robot brains. Most utility bills come to our rural post office box number, and post office boxes are apparently a tell-tale sign of internet spam. To boot, our post office box number is “37” — number 37. The boxes here range from #1 all the way to #147. We don’t need to be all big city starting our boxes at A001, demarcating the “A” corridor of the post office.

No sireee.

Ours post office boxes are easily found. In fact, I am standing in from of 2/3 of the boxes in the photo at the top of this post. In the photo below of my son Frederick, you will see nearly all 147 boxes in one shot, and we didn’t even have to work to get those in one frame.

Apparently, the various signals we are sending to our would-be Amazon patron are unbelievably small-time, blowing the minds of the Amazon robots and missing the human ears, wherever those ears may be.

As a result, we find ourselves in the direct mail business, with a great and unlikely story of what can happen when actual humans do get involved.

Direct by Mail

Sander holding the book, "Half My Size with The Ridiculously Big Salad."
Sander with the book

About six weeks ago, my husband Sander started working on mailing out these books via the U.S. Post Office. He approached our local postmaster a bit sheepishly realizing that our orders far exceed their usual volume. He was willing to drive the mail to a larger post office to be processed. Bakersfield is just over an hour away and is equipped for quantity.

Drive to Bakersfield?

Postmaster Sandy would have none of it. Sandy wanted that revenue right in her office and, as you’ll see, she’s willing to hustle to keep it.

Postmaster Sandy waving through the plexiglass at this small post office.
Sandy the Postmaster

She and Sander got to work on testing various shipping options and then placing bulk orders for the right priority mail envelopes. I am sure she was skeptical that we would sell through the 1,000 priority mail envelopes she and Sander accumulated and, frankly, so was I. Just before that Woman’s World issue came out, I emailed people interested in the book and offered a quick deal, letting everyone lock in.

It would be nearly three weeks before I would even put my head up on the issue again because all y’all just about broke this little rural post office.

Order here, Sandy says “I dare you!”

Testing the Very Limits: The Books Per Day

Boxes of books lined up waiting to be picked up by Angela.
Boxes ready for Angela

First, all indications are that this post office (and all of the little post offices in the area) has simply never seen anything like the level of business it is seeing from this book alone. My guess is that the revenue in just the first week of shipping this book can be measured against the annual revenue of the post office branch, and maybe even on some multiple of its annual revenue.

Apparently, this situation is also just about like winning the Postmaster Lottery. Sandy may now be a bit famous in her network of rural postmasters for her windfall. I’m sure the little postal branches are operating at a deficit, needing repairs on all of the little things and basically limping along.

To give the correct picture of the mail service, you need to set aside any preconceived notions you have of mail trucks and loading docks. Up here in the Giant Sequoia National Monument, our mail is brought in by a contractor hired by the U.S. Post Office. Our rural delivery contractor is Angela and she drives one of those small fuel-efficient economy cars. She delivers mail to our post office branch and then finishes her route for the day in the community just above us, delivering mail to the rural mail boxes along the highway. She takes any out-going mail back down to a distribution point.

Lately, that outgoing mail has included nearly 300 books a day, each in a priority mail envelope.

Angela is carrying “only about 300 books” because that is the absolute most she can fit in her little car and, frankly, it’s pretty impressive packing. In fact, that number will be a bit lower in the coming week because we have added bubble wrap to the orders, bulking those envelopes up just a bit. Our current daily limit of books in Angela’s car is about 250.

Help fill Angela’s car by ordering here

The Envelope Shortage and the Rural Postmaster Network

A glance at Angela’s car will have anyone appreciate the daily limits on shipping, but the other limiting factor we did not anticipate is this: The regional shortage of priority mail envelopes.

Sander and Sandy both planned well and acquired 1,000 envelopes before these books went on sale. When we sold through that number in a day, Sander immediately ordered more cases of envelopes. It typically takes about a week to get those cases via the U.S. Post Office. That was on about August 5. You may have heard that the U.S. Post Office as an organization is under a bit of stress and perhaps as an unintended consequence of all of that, we are still waiting on those envelopes. Even area branches are having difficulty sourcing these supplies.

By the time we started shipping the pre-orders on Monday August 17, we had 1,000 envelopes and 1,500 orders.

If you wonder why I did not mention the sale of the book in this time frame, now you know.

However, I come out today and tell this story because all of those books are now shipped. (Everything ordered as of Thursday August 20 shipped as of Saturday August 22. Orders now take about two days to process and ship.)

How on earth did we get those 500 envelopes?

(This is my favorite part of the story.)

Again, the context is that we could solve our shipping problems by teaming up with a Post Office branch in an actual city, but then Postmaster Sandy would be giving up her prize-winning lottery ticket.

Here’s what I learned: Those flat rate envelopes come in cases of 300. A Bakersfield postmaster told me he sometimes goes through a case in a day. He was clinging tightly to the six cases he had on hand. In a town like Ducor, population 600, the case may be a 5-year supply.

Q: Where would you find a nearly-full case of priority mail envelopes?
A: At a little rural post office.

Q: How do you find which little post office has 200-300 envelopes to spare?
A: Postmaster Sandy must simply call all of her postmaster friends, all equally excited about Sandy’s unexpected windfall.

My husband Sander sourced those extra envelopes with the help of Sandy and her network of rural postmasters. He drove to several little branches picking up some hundreds of envelopes. Some of the postmasters shuttled envelopes around, helping out their lottery-winning sister.

I’ll add here, if you need a priority mail envelope and live in a rural area at the base of the foothills in Kern and Tulare County, I’m sorry.

Deplete the priority mail envelopes in all of rural California by ordering here

One Fully-Employed Teenager

While I’m at it, I’ll give a shout-out to a kid some of you know. This is my son Frederick, known as the kid in the “Postcard from Yellowstone” photo, who is one month away from flying the nest. He’s an incoming Freshman at U.C. Davis in the Environmental Science and Management program.

He is in charge of packing up each of these envelopes, under Sander’s direction. He is filling up his pockets for college and I dare say that he will have far more cash in his pockets than I ever remember in my own pockets at his age.

Surely there is also a limit on the number of envelopes Frederick can pack in a day, but we have not hit that yet. He is impressively obsessive with this work.

Order your book here before Frederick goes to college.

(My goodness, look at how strapping Frederick has gotten. Heading off to college looking like that WITH cash in your pockets may be a real bad combination. I would not know. I never had either problem.)

Order your book here. Help Frederick fund a lot of dates with Davis girls.

Frederick in the post office with the book, "Half My Size with The Ridiculously Big Salad."
Frederick in the post office

The Books Are Not Signed

As just one added point, a lot of people asked for signed copies and I fully intended to sign every single one of them.

About one week ago, Sander and Frederick both sat me down, intervention-style. They said, “You cannot sign these books.” I hemmed and hawed, told them I’d just sign some and see how many I could get through. They sat there, all stern and adamant, “You cannot sign these books.” I took a step back right there and looked at this situation we found ourselves in: A family intervention over a book-signing. I said, “OK.”

Two days later, all haggard from packing envelopes, Frederick looked at me and said, “I think Dad and I saved you from a stroke.” Maybe so.

In any case, the books are unsigned but I am alive and well and the books are shipping, thanks to Sander, Frederick, Postmaster Sandy, Angela, and an unexpected network of rural postmasters.

Order an unsigned, stroke-avoiding book here

Boxes of books and packing materials lined up.
Shipping headquarters
Frederick sitting on the floor packing books
Late-night packing
Books stacked and wrapped in bubble wrap.
Wrapped in bubble wrap, ready for the Priority Mail envelopes (with a view of Sander through the window, on the phone, probably desperately calling Amazon…)
The back of an SUV opened, displaying boxes of books headed to the post office.
Headed to the post office (with dirt from a trail)

Psst Amazon. I don’t think the spammers usually go to this length….

Order your book here. Help me get my house back.


Tags


You may also like

A Bear Broke Into My House to Eat! (Twice!)

Tonia’s Weight Loss Success Story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

  1. I am living the book!!! Thank you & the community for being so selfless & giving. With the grace ain’t give myself to make mistakes & not be perfect, I can do this too. You are such a blessing to so many.

  2. I know it was a lot of work but I REALLY appreciate you supporting local and not giving the big A your hard earned money to carry you book.

  3. Congratulations! Love the story. We live in a small community also. 276 residence. Good luck in your mailouts! Take care and bless your hubbyans son…and everyone else that helped.

  4. Anxiously awaiting my book! Thank you for sharing your journey with us and your honest and sincere insights. Some would say it takes a village, or a rural post office and cheap laborers, LOL you may never get your house back in order

  5. Amanda I love this and all you are doing to help us all get healthier! When my parents road had to get named, the Officials didn’t ask any neighbors, the post office or whomever, decided to name it “Poverty Point Road” because they liked a little sign my Dad had hanging on the post at the end of the driveway that said “Poverty point”. The neighbors were not amused but Dad got quite a chuckle & the road still bears that name. Take care & congratulations to you and the family on your awesome success! Donna Wilkins, Manhattan KS

  6. Thank you for my book , I received it last week and have been reading it every chance I get . So love our ELAB community. Thank you again Amanda for giving us all hope and a way to achieve our goals. God bless

  7. Amanda, I am simply thrilled for you and your family! What a great family effort which I love that you shared with us. When given the chance to purchase a book in advance, I jumped at it. I wanted to give back to you! I’ve been so very successful with your plan and the fact that it was free and you weren’t “selling anything” is what compelled me to take the 3 day challenge…and I’ve never looked back. When ordering I said to myself, “I Hope Amanda makes a million on her book sales!” THANK YOU THANK YOU, for having the courage and mindfulness to do what you’ve done and share it with us all.
    Simple but not easy, I continue to grind away! 40 lbs down and 30 ’to go. I AM AMAZING thanks to you!
    Much love and thanks!!

  8. All I can say is well done from England. Is there any way I can get a copy sent here. Much love and many thanks. Carla Watson Smith. East Sussex England number 17 Troy close Crowborough TN6 1EX

  9. What teamwork! Former Postal worker and bear cub here. Not to cheat your postmaster out of revenue, but to save you money…. books are considered “media mail” and can be shipped as such at substantial savings! Just a thought. Thanks for the book as well as all your energy and advice.

  10. Oh my Word!!! What a story! I’m so happy you did not have a stroke! Some day, in the future, when I meet up with you I’ll bring my book for a signing! 😉 I just love my book! You are my inspiration! Thank you for everything!

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and think that you now should consider writing fiction! I know, I know, this gig is already stretching you to the max! Who knew that setting a goal to lose weight would lead to fame and fortune. But here you are…congratulations to your family and your rural post office!
    You are a great storyteller. Now Fiction?
    Blessings!

  12. I love your book. I love what you’ve done and shared. I love this post office story. And personally I’m glad amazon could not find you. I’m a fan of shop local and small business. Good luck to your son. He’s a handsome fellow. Take care my friend. Thanks!

  13. Wonderful story. Good job you and your family have a great sense of humour!! I’ve got the digital book, as, unfortunately, you only ship in US. I can see why though. Imagine if you had to supply the rest of the world . All the best and thank you for this super diet. Well, I’ve only started Day 1 today, but I’m looking forward to the rest of my life.
    Kind regards
    Jean Dudley

  14. I love love love your post office story!!! I grew up in a very small rural town Wasco, IL that had the same mailboxes as in your photo. Our PO box was # 62 . That photo brought back so many memories. Those rural post office masters know how to get the job done!!!
    I already received my book. THANK YOU!!!

  15. Thank you, Amanda and your family for all the hard work you are doing to get the word out. I’ve done the 3 day challenge which is incredible. My knee pain has vanished. I’ll update my status after my doctor’s appt this Wednesday. I’ve purchased the digital package and am delighted with the contents and all of the other resources you’ve made available. Today’s my 7th day OMAD 1 hour. I’m 64 SW=290. I’m also a cancer survivor Stage 4 metastatic colon cancer with an ostomy. Dx 05/2015. NED 12/2016. Yes, I’m blessed and now I have added you and your program to my blessings!

  16. I absolutely love your story, your WOE/WOL and most of all your down to earth-ness,(is that even a word?)and at the top of the list for me, and it’s a BIGGIE..your sense of humor!!
    I’m all in with this WOE, on day 5!! Ate my RBS Thursday and Friday, was way too full co.e Saturday, so I decided to full fast!! I will eat tonite after 69 hours fasting! I feel good and look forward to getting this extra poundage off my little body…I know it’s little, I’ve seen it at 108 lbs….
    Thank you Amanda and all of your helpers.
    You are saving lives and making the world a better, healthier place!!
    Congrats to Frederick for getting into UCD!! And he is a very handsome, strapping young man!! Look out UCD ladies.

  17. I forgot to send this picture! I got him Saturday from a local guy that does this. I live rural as well, but compared to your little town, it’s probably considered “big city” with 3500 residents…lol
    Oh, bummer, I can’t leave my picture…so sad

  18. Lovely story. I only have about 45lb to loose but my Gorgeous daughter has maybe close 100lb. We not sure as she won’t step on the scale. I will ray this works for her. She needs this win so much.

    I read everyone of you emails thank you. I am loving this way of eating. Drinking loads of water as well.

    Thank you for all you do. I am a live in carer and this is incredibly difficult as my client has cakes l, biscuits and chocolate in the house. Temptation is everywhere. The thing that keeps me strong is I keep telling myself that carbs are poison and I think of my blood vessels as streets with no litter and healthily and wanting to stay that way. Carbs are little in my neighbourhood.

    Thank you again and God bless

  19. This is truly an AWESOME story and I am so glad you shared it with us. You amaze me in your ability to always see the sunshine, your ability to persevere and your resourcefulness. All talents God knew you would need to help us achieve health and hope.
    I’m completely in awe of your little post office and envious. We used to have a beautiful post office with those types of boxes and lovely hard wood floors. As our little town shrunk, we got a new much smaller post office with ugly steel boxes. No brass doors with combination locks just a key now. Your post brought back so many wonderful memories.
    I am so glad your book and FB page have just gone crazy. This community you have built is as amazing as you. Thank you Amanda! And Congratulations!

  20. WOW, all the books shipped…I have been going nuts checking the mailbox for my book and water system(Bday 8/16 to myself) that has been ordered since August 1st. Order # 12447 $97+1 -$30, this order was to send the book at a later time, correct? The mail is slower than a snail, for sure. Thanks for the work you are doing, greatly appreciated. Our little post office closed here in St. Patrick, Missouri, very sad. To go to work on St. Patrick’s Day, we often had to detour, as the town of 16 houses was so visited with tour buses, cars, trucks, vans, campers, TV crew and yes visitors from Ireland, too. Now, we are like a ghost town, a memory, no businesses. Black bears have roamed through occasionally and one ole gal claiming to be a Bear lives here, too, eating “RBS”! Since we bought our little place, we have had four/five different addresses and haven’t moved off the property. Once a post office box and now rural delivery. When the mailbox has no mail, my hubby, yells, ” We are Debt Free!” about scares the live out of me! You have a very handsome son, best of luck to him. Great friends and family, too. What a life change for you and all of US, THANK YOU Amanda, God is not finished with you yet! AMEN

  21. Love, Love, Love the book. My husband is now on board to do this after seeing the amazing salad recipes. Thank you, your family and the post office employees for all the hard work in getting this amazing book to all of us. You are an inspiration and have given hope to me that I have never had in my lifetime battle to lose weight.

  22. Thanks so much for this story & also keeping your mailings local! I grew up in a very similar type town & that post office looks very much like my own!! I adore it & you!! Thanks so much for your support & sharing your life!!

  23. You book arrived yesterday and this story makes me appreciate it even more! Thank you for sharing your Journey and how you were successful!

  24. Hi Amanda Rose!
    I am only on day three of this journey. I was a very skeptical about this, but desperate. I have struggled with my weight my entire life. As a child I was always large but not really "fat". I worked on a farm and I was able to throw bales of hay up on a truck with more best of them. That kept my weight in check.
    Then when I went to nursing school my weight started to creep up. So since then I have struggled with yoyo dieting. 256 was my highest weight. For the last 15-20 years I have been hanging out around 210-207. During covis mess back up to 226.
    I started this after reading your story. Only 2 days in I am down from 226 to 217. I'm so excited to see what happens with the next few weeks!

  25. I grew up in a small town much like yours and your description brought back some wonderful memories of our tiny Post Office! Congratulations on your success!!

  26. Absolutely LOVED this story Amanda! You're fantastic. Thank you for being so lovely, funny and genuine and for helping so many others lose weight too! It's obvious that your desire is to genuinely help others reach their success. You have a plan like no other and you do it like no other! Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. I'm just beginning this journey and appreciate you so much. I'm looking forward to your book being available internationally! Blessings to you and your family.

  27. Thank you Amanda for helping me to finally make up my mind to go on a diet I am 60 years old I started this diet when I saw your book in the grocery store I read it and got the three day diet I’ve been on this diet for nine days and have lost 12 pounds I have about 59 more pounds to go But I know I can do it now. I felt you when you were talking about so many diets I’ve been on so many diets I was totally just disgusted about it lose a little and came back double but I know I can do this thank you thank you thank you!!

  28. I've been trying to buy this book, but the links don't let you buy the book. Also went to Amazon, put in your name, but the book wouldn't come up.

    1. That’s right, Peggy. It’s not on Amazon because Amazon has not approved us. You might try the link on a different browser. I’m not sure why it’s not working.

    1. I’m a print person, Charlene, so I am biased. However if you go digital with only a phone, I’d be inclined to print the out the digital version. It’s very printer-friendly

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Join the Three-Day Challenge by email now!