08:22 – The hospital admitted Barbara’s mom yesterday. They checked her dad, who’d also fallen, and sent him home. Dutch was afraid to stay by himself, so Frances stayed with him while Barbara made a flying visit home to pick up clothes and whatever else she needed to stay the night with her dad. I suspect she’ll have to stay with her dad tonight as well, and possibly every night until her mom is released from the hospital.
09:34 – Yesterday we shipped a biology kit and a chemistry kit, the last two kits we’ll ship under the old postage rates. We ship most of our kits in USPS Regional Rate B boxes, with the smaller kits shipping in RR A boxes. Kits that ordinarily ship in RR B boxes but are going to zone 8 ship in large flat-rate boxes because they cost a buck or so less to ship than the RR B boxes. The cost to ship large flat-rate boxes increased 4.4%, from $14.65 to $15.30. Before the postage increase, our cost to ship RR B boxes ranged from $5.90 for nearby addresses up to $12.74 for zone 7 addresses. It’s now $6.16 for nearby addresses up to $13.25 to zone 7. Even with increases in the 4% to 5% range, USPS is still the best shipping option for us, by far.
Even with everything else that’s been going on, we’re in good shape for now in terms of finished-goods kit inventory. We have between three and four dozen finished kits on hand. The problem is, the well has gone dry. We assembled those finished kits from subassemblies already in stock. To build more, we first need to build more subassemblies, which means we need to label and fill a bunch of bottles. That’s the time-consuming part, but we’ll get it done before we run out of kits.
12:34 – As of now, we’re no longer shipping our science kits to Canada. Part of the reason for our decision was the paperwork hassles, but it had more to do with shipping costs. We’ve had a lot of email from Canadians who were outraged by the $40 surcharge on shipping kits to Canada. Well, as of today, that surcharge would have gone from $40 to $54. Probably fewer than 25% of our Canadian customers had us ship the kits to Canada. Most Canadians live reasonably close to the US border, and many of them frequently visit friends or family in the US. They have us ship the kits to a US address and then just drive back over the border into Canada with their kits. No one has ever reported a problem with doing so. I’m sorry to disappoint potential customers who live too far from the US border to make a trip to the US convenient, but it just no longer makes sense for us to continue shipping kits to Canada.