Wednesday, October 2, 2013

There is Joy in Wappelville!!

Well, I realize that this is not exactly miniatures, but for anyone who ever has to ship them somewhere, this is a big deal!
Last week, we purchased a scale from the Post Office.  That darn thing is super sensitive.  Anyway, we needed it to be able to do all of the shipping paperwork in advance, on-line... or so we were told.

Getting information on this was a tad more difficult that mapping the Human Genome, with all sorts of twists and turns along the way.

Of course, when we brought it home, the Uglies wanted to weigh themselves...

This scale goes up to 70 lbs, and cost $40.

Here is what we were really trying to avoid.  Not long ago, shipping a package out of the US was relatively simple.  You filled out a small customs form, wrote the address on the box, answered a stock question or two and that was it.

It is massively different now!  If you want to do that same task these days, you have to wait for the exasperated P.O. clerk to type in all of this info, one keystroke at a time.  It can take 15 minutes just to ship one package.  We were stuck for almost a half hour the first time we shipped a few small packages.

We were told that you "Can do it all online", and save everyone this colossal hassle.  Well, it is a little (lot) more complex than that.  You must have a scale, an online account, and read all the various restrictions first.  It took a second trip to another post office to find this out, and then a third to buy the scale.

You can use paypal or a credit card to pay your shipping online, after you have spent a lot of time setting up the account, etc.  Filling out the forms online can be maddening, since there are some very cryptic questions.

Once you enter everything and send payment, you have to print out a form like this.  It is different for domestic vs international.  The one thing in common is that you box must be big enough to accommodate this lable!  You cannot resize it in any way, and they say not to wrap it around the edge of the box.

I guess I have to get self stick labels now, because they don't want you to tape over the bar codes (there are none in this sample print).

As it turns out, you can drop off these pre-paid and printed packages at satellite offices where they accept packages.  this could save dozens of hours when the videos are shipped, and not just for the kickstarter.

Lessons learned, to say the least.  I am sure that there are other surprises in store as well...



    Those labels will get you the label and receipt. There are also other labels available that will print 2 labels without the receipt on one page:

    I haven't used the scale, but I have used the click-n-ship from USPS, from, eBay, and PayPal. If you have a lot to print, doing the 2 per sheet would probably be the way to go, especially if it will let you pay for several, then print all at once.

    When I run out of those labels, I print it on regular paper and use a glue stick to adhere the label, then tape around the edges to make sure it doesn't come off. That's really time consuming though, and probably not the route you want to take for the KS fulfillment!

    1. Thanks! I was definitely thinking about the glue stick routine. :-)

  2. Wow those labels are expensive. I just use normal paper and print two off at a time, cut them out and use clear shipping tape to secure the labels to the package with. It usually takes three stripes of tape to secure the label to the package.

    I have yet to get one postal worker to complain about this method. Guess it must be a geographic location preference??

    Anyway I agree 100% that doing this yourself is the best way to go to save yourself time & money.

    1. The clerks that we have to deal with will find just about anything to yell at you for doing, so I have to play it safe!

  3. At least on domestic shipping I use clear tape over regular paper. I have not shipped anything overseas lately. I've also have folded the label down over the side on my smaller cube boxes for domestic shipping where the USPS tracking number is with no problems.

    1. Sadly at the PO's we have to go to, they piddle over every tiny detail. Since the website expressly said to avoid that, I am sure that is yet another thing they would yell at me for doing ;-)

  4. When I ship, I use normal paper. I tape up the label, just avoid using tape over the bar code. Its easy, and I have had no problems shipping out of the county this way as well.

    1. That is what I tried to do. It can be tough though, since those bar codes are not in the best spot :-)