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Compare USPS to Fed Ex: Outrageous Difference

Everready Working WomanRecently I had the opportunity to participate in an exhibition with one of my favorite autobiographical pieces Everready Working Woman (left).

It cost $67 to ship it by USPS Registered Insured Mail from the San Francisco Bay Area to Arizona.

However, when the show was over (only a week later )... return shipping by Fed Ex cost $177.26 for the same identical box, with the same artwork, for an identical distance. 

That is an outrageous difference.  $177.26?...for one lightweight box is a lot of money.

I was so shocked by the price difference, it took more than a day to figure out how to reply to the email asking me to pay the $177.26.

What would you do? Really! Any suggestions?

  • Pay for the return shipping up to $67 and burn my relationship with the museum.
  • Pay the full amount of $177.26.

At this point, I have written to the exhibition sponsor asking why the return shipping cost 2 1/2 times more than shipping to the museum.

Here is my email.

While I appreciated your returning my work, your email was a huge shock.

It cost me $67. to ship my work U.S.P.S. Registered Insured to the show in AZ
To see that the return shipping by Fed Ex costs $177.26. is unexpected to say the least.
 I am thinking that there has to be some mistake.

How could shipping the same identical box cost 2 1/2 times the original shipping?

Thanks for looking into this further…..


Just found out that they shipped the box FedEx standard overnight. I would swear that my conversation said 2nd-day air. At least it would have been less. I am really upset. This means one show that was up for four days cost $244.26. Not worth it.

I am going to the FedEx office and discussing this issue. 

Hopping mad. Any ideas?


I will update this post....with information so stay tuned.


Shipping connects our studios to the world. It is such an important issue that the SNAG Professional Development Seminar dedicated our entire 2012 program to shipping. A recent post Shipping Comparisons: Shipping Cost & Insurance with Common Carriers compared five shipping companies. The cost comparison handout did not reveal such a disparity between USPS and FEDEX. What gives?


This post was updated on April 9, 2022, to provide current links.

Everready Working Woman