Recently, I bought a Dymo LabelWriter 400 Turbo to print postage at home. With the holiday gift season upon us, it seemed like a worthwhile investment that will save me the trouble from having to visit the post office for mailing small packages and buying postage.
Dymo partners with Endicia to power the postage printing functions of the printer, and both appear to subscribe the Gillette model for doing business. While the price of printing the postage is the same as retail prices, the generator of revenue appears to come from the labels necessary to print the stamps. If you go to an office supply store, you’ll find that 200 stamp/labels cost about $20. That’s a terrible deal.
If you search on eBay, you can find stamps/labels for as little as 2 cents each, if you buy multiple packs of them. I don’t know how long it will take me to use, say, 800 labels, but I imagine that it should last a few holiday seasons. With so many stamps, I might even start mailing in checks again to pay my bills.
Earlier this week, I ordered a four-pack of these cut-rate labels from an enterprising seller on eBay, for about two cents per label, and the labels arrived today. At first sight, it’s obvious that these labels are not the genuine article.
There are two differences that are apparent right away. First, there’s the color. The pink border is slightly different in color than the genuine labels. It’s not major, but it is apparent upon first opening the package. The second difference is the size of the labels. The bargain labels are somewhat bigger than the original ones, but it seems to allow for the print area to register the postage properly.
The other difference is that the genuine labels contain a branding on the side. This might cause problems when shipping, since it is not technically an Endicia label, but I suspect that the postal service won’t care too much.
Printing on the bargain labels appears to be fine. It registers with good quality on both the genuine and the bargain labels. The only problem is that when you print a single label, the printer feeds two stamps: one printed and one blank. I imagine that it has something to do with the little hole in the label that guides the label into the printer.
I dispatched a letter to Sarah at her work to see if the postage printed on the bargain labels would clear the postal service. I’ll report those results to see if I did get a bargain after all.
The letter to Sarah arrived with no apparent delays.