Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So Picky

Why does the Post Office have to be so picky about international shipping? Really. I think my 4” x 4” x 4” box will work out quite nicely for sturdiness and strength. But, no. They want at least 5 ½” x 3 ½”. Back to the box store for me… with a ruler.

I bought the boxes before I was able to locate the required dimensions at USPS online. You need a PhD in Obtuse Manual Reading to understand the International Mail Manual and find what you’re looking for. Thankfully, the always helpful folks at the Etsy forums provided me with the information I desired.

Each country has a list of what you cannot send to them. Did you know you are not allowed to ship jewelry into Mexico? Me neither. Most of the list is the generic stuff one would expect like firearms and hazardous waste. But one cannot ship extravagant clothes and other articles contrary to Albanians’ taste to Albania. Do not even try to send horror comics and matrices to Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Zimbabwe requests that you keep your honey for yourself. Australia will not accept used bedding. Uganda requests that one not ship Japanese shaving brushes.

Postage rates are another thing I am perplexed by. But some guy named Tom made this chart to explain it all for you. So simple it’s elegant. This guy is my international shipping hero. He‘s got it broken down by zones and weight so I can list my shipping fees by location. As you would expect, rates vary by weight and round up to the nearest full ounce. For example, to ship 6 ounces to Canada it costs $2.24, Mexico is $2.84, and pretty much everywhere else is $5.40.

I’m trying to keep my postage fees low but it is difficult when they jump by almost a whole dollar per ounce for the “everywhere else” category. Bubble mailers are my main shipping package, but I just don’t trust them to hold up to a potential month long international shipping voyage. I decided to go with the aforementioned boxes. The pendants I make have fragile glass in them, and my heart would break if one broke during shipping. Also insurance is not an option with First Class International Mail. I’d have to take the plunge for Global Priority, which starts at around $11 and then you add insurance. Sheesh.

With a regulation size box I most likely cannot get below the 6 oz rate if I include appropriate packing materials. Are people going to pay that much for shipping? We will see.


Melody said...

International shipping is getting more and more complicated. I used to work for the post office 5 years ago, and so much has changed even since then, it's completely different! I'm sure that there will be many people who appreciate that you ship to their country though, and it is really great that you are taking the time to look at all the charts and try to give people a fair shipping price!

Kitkuare said...

oooh thanks for the link! and the info :)

Post a Comment

Without your comments, I'm just talking to myself! Say something before they come to take me away. Ha ha, ho ho, hee hee.