requested by the customer(s). At larger post offices
you will more than likely have a postage meter and a
integrated retail terminal (IRT) (chapter 8) to assist you
in conducting window business. All postal finance
windows should have a calculator. Learn the proper
uses of the equipment you have on hand, and the
techniques of operation. This section will help you in
One of the most important pieces of window
equipment is the scale. If scales are not accurate,
postage rates are not accurately computed. Scales that
are used at postal finance windows should be checked
for accuracy and/or zero balanced each day before
opening for business. Scales that cannot be balanced
should be removed from service.
Automatic Computing Scale
As a window clerk, you will most likely use a
dial-type automatic computing scale similar to the one
in figure 3-11. A rate chart is attached to the automatic
computing scale. This type of scale offers easy-to-read
indicators that display the amount of postage to charge,
depending on the zone and the weight of the article.
This type of scale is normally used to weigh large or
heavy articles. If postage rates change, new rate charts
will be automatically distributed. However, if you do
not receive the new chart, a new scale chart can be
ordered by following the procedures in USPS
The 1-pound beam scale is another type of scale
that is frequently used to conduct window business. A
drawing of a 1-pound beam scale and its parts are
shown in figure 3-12. This scale is used to weigh large
envelopes and other small articles. It has weight
graduations of l/2 ounce up to a maximum capacity of
16 ounces. Unlike the automatic computing scale, you
must manually slide the poise up or down the beam
until you get a balance for the correct weight. A larger
beam scale with a maximum capacity of 4 pounds is
used for weighing large, heavy articles. Beam scales
are also available in a 100-pound capacity. Some
MPOs have the 100-pound beam scale instead of the
70-pound automatic computing scale. (See figure
Balancing the Beam Scales
The accuracy of beam-type scales may be checked
by setting the movable weight at zero. If the scale is in
balance, the indicator will come to rest exactly even
with the line on the right of the scale. If the indicator
comes to rest below the line, the scale is weighing
light; that is, the scale would indicate that a letter
weighing 1 ounce weighs less than 1 ounce. On the
other hand, if the indicator comes to rest above the line,
the scale is weighing heavy and would show letters
weighing exactly 1 ounce to be more than 1 ounce.
It is easy to adjust the scale by means of the screw
at the end of the weight indicator. To balance, turn
screw on the frame of the scale. Using a small
screwdriver, you can adjust the screw until the scale is
brought into balance. When the scale is weighing light
(indicator below line), turn the screw to the right
(clockwise). When the scale is weighing heavy
(indicator above line), turn the screw to the left. A
slight turn of the screw will usually balance the scale.
You should experiment until it is exactly in balance.
Electronic Computing Scale
As the automatic computing scales and 100-pound
beam scales used by MPOs become irreparable and
replacement is necessary, the MPOs will be issued the
new electronic computing scale. The electronic
computing scale has the following features:
Standard RS-232 interface with a selectable
output for communications with a computer.
Adjustable response time.
Optional push buttons.
Optional remote displays.
Single board electronics for ease of servicing.
Single button selection of two weighing units.
When calibration becomes necessary, the scale can
be calibrated using the existing keypad or through the
One of the most useful and versatile machines in a
post office is the calculator. The calculator is capable
of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing, and
Navy post offices should use calculators that have the
ability to print a tape. Its use is a must in performing
many of the calculations done in the post office, such