Day: January 18, 2012

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

09:35 – I was going to black out this site today in sympathy with the SOPA/PIPA protests, but I couldn’t figure out how to turn the whole page black. If SOPA/PIPA does pass, I’ll have to make some changes around here, starting with disabling comments.

I’m still cranking away on my final pre-editing pass of the lab sessions. There are quite a few missing images, which I’m just putting in placeholders for for now. I created a to-be-shot images list, and I’ll go through and shoot those in a batch.

USPS introduces a new regional-rate box today, to join the current RR Boxes A and B. The new RR C box is considerably larger—12x12x15” (30.5×30.5x38cm)—and might actually have been useful had the USPS not priced it ridiculously high.

The smallest RR box, A, requires postage at the Priority Mail 2-pound level, and can be used for up to 15 pounds. The mid-size RR box, B, which is what I use for kits, requires postage at the Priority Mail 4-pound level, which means it costs me $5.81 in postage for relatively nearby destinations up to $14.62 for zone 8 (the west coast, Hawaii, and Alaska). It can be used for up to 20 pounds. The new RR Box C is priced at the Priority Mail 17-pound level, which means it would cost almost $15 to send to nearby destinations and about $45 to send to zone 8. It can be used for up to 25 pounds. That’s not a very good deal, considering that the large flat-rate PM box (12x12x5.5”, up to 70 pounds) costs only about $15 to send to any address in the US, including zone 8.

There’s a lot of discussion about this new box on the forums frequented by eBay sellers and other vendors. Many people thought the 17-pound rate was a typo, and that USPS really meant to say the 7-pound rate. That might have been reasonable, but as it turns out they really did mean the 17-pound rate. In effect, the USPS has made this new box useless other than for a very small percentage of shipments: those that weigh between 18 and 25 pounds, are too large to fit a large flat-rate box, and are going to distant addresses. Otherwise, it’s cheaper to use UPS or FedEx. Sometimes far cheaper.

If USPS had been smart, they’d have made the RR box C a 12x12x10” box with a 25-pound limit and priced it at the PM 7-pound rate. That box would have been very useful and very widely used. But a RR box C that costs from $14+ to $45 is simply a non-starter.

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