Monday, January 29, 2018

postal price calculator

This is just to show how difficult it is to find out simple things. I have all the steps recorded in my browser, so I shall reconstruct them here.

B. wants me to mail this birthday card she's bought and prepared to her sister. It's an ordinary flat envelope, but it's rather large. I'm vaguely aware that the USPS charges extra postage costs for extra-large envelopes, but how large is extra-large? I shall visit their web page to find out.

Here's the front page. Where shall I go? Pull-down menu reads "Mail & Ship". In the menu is "Calculate a Price." Looks about right.

Which takes me here. It wants to know origin and destination zip codes. That's only relevant for large packages, not for one-ounce cards, but I fill it in anyway. It's not a postcard, it's not a box, it's an envelope, so I click on "View Flat Rate Envelopes."

Now it wants to know the weight. Christ. 0 pounds, 1 ounce, OK? Now, "Letter" or "Large Envelope". Well, uh, what I'm trying to find out is which category it is. Just to be safe, I click on "Large Envelope".

Another option page. It's rigid, OK?

Ack! $24.70? $24.90? Even $6.70? I'm looking for something that should cost 50 cents or a dollar!

Try again. Oh look, up at the top of the page, a pull-down menu for "Pricing." Price Charts in HTML, that looks good.

And another list. Domestic, First class mail, that's what I want.

At last, here's the right prices. It's clear on how much a stamped letter costs, how much a large envelope costs. But I still don't know which I have. That's what I'm trying to find out, and it's getting kind of annoying not finding it.

Oh look, there are footnotes. Scroll down. They don't help.

But wait! Underneath the footnotes! In obscure small type! Behind a sign reading "Beware of the Leopard." "See this page for size dimensions."

THERE IT IS! AT LAST! The size in inches of what qualifies as a letter! It took ten steps and a lot of hunting around on web pages and lucky observations to get it, but there it is. And the card is well within the limits, so one stamp will do. But what a nuisance confirming that.

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