Thursday, December 16, 2010

13 Teeny Tiny Centimeters

12 comments
Yesterday I got one of my Christmas cards back in the mail. Over the address was a giant yellow label telling me that the envelope was missing 1.70 EUR in postage (the standard cost of a letter to the US). It already had 1.70 worth of (some pretty cool) stamps on it. The label went on to give a big list of appropriate postage for various sizes of package and envelope. Apparently, one side of a letter must be at least 14 cm long in order to be mailed. The envelope that was returned to me was 13cm x 13cm square.

So, I'm a little confused! Is it really missing 1.70 in postage and does it really need to have 3.40? Or is it totally unmailable? And why did only this one come back to me? There were others that were the same size. I tried deutschepost.de, but it comes back with an error if I put those dimensions in.

I think US mail requires extra postage for square envelopes, actually (not sure if the size matters or just hte shape) - or at least they did for a while. When square cards came into style they ended up redesigning the envelopes to be longer than the cards so you wouldn't have to pay extra. Strange (it's cheaper to send something bigger?!) but true...

12 comments:

  1. Personally I find the mysteries of what Deutsche Post charges to be never ending... every time I go they measure my envelopes and then tell me how much it costs.

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  2. ok, so I had to laugh when I read this b/c my husband JUST got back from the post office where he discovered pretty much all of the cards we'd picked were oversized...to the point where many envelopes going to the US/Canada cost SIX EURO EACH. yeah. pain. That is just obscene. We spent almost 40 Euro on cards.Honestly.

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  3. I recall trying to mail out a square card purchased in the UK, from Germany. As a 'non-standard' size, it had cost more, even though the overall dimensions seemed letter sized. I recall the postal person getting out a plastic measurement thing and showing me how the dimensions were off, prior to charging me a ridiculous fee to send it internationally.

    Ah the joys of living abroad. :-/

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  4. Juliette: Ouch!! How big were the cards? Did you buy them in Germany?

    Heather: I did buy this card in the UK, actually. Do you remember, was it really twice as much to send?

    How annoying...I'm thinking about just dropping it in the mail again and seeing if I can get it to go through this time.

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  5. no, they were cards from the US, actually. I brought a plethora of stationary with me when we moved. Not so smart, apparently. I now have a little fold out sheet thingy from the PO about sizes, etc. I'm putting it on the shelf where all my cards are. sigh.

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  6. I have learned the hard way too!
    We made Valentine's Day cards by folding a 8.5 x 11 paper in half. They were returned. (roll of eyes).
    But I learned...today my daughter was sending out a tiny thank you card in a tiny envelope and I put that sucker right in a regular German letter envelope so it wouldn't come back!

    One fascinating thing is that I sent out xmas cards in the USA last year but used my German return address. I had some old addresses so some of them got returned from the USA to Germany on a regular 44cent US stamp.

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  7. I don't think it's about the size of the card (or its envelope) as much as its having a long side; I'm certain that plays a role in the sorting machinery used to align the envelopes and postcards properly for possible automated address OCR.

    That said, bummer dude.

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  8. The difference in required postage (although not the amount) is the same in the US when using "odd sized" envelopes: I found that out with wedding invitations. Since I brought business sized envelopes from the US here, I found out long ago that to pay normal postage, I need to fold the end over a little- DP showed me how the first time, which I thought was nice. But for my holidays cards, I put all 40 in a standard size manila envelope and mailed them to a friend in the US for 6Euro: she dropped them in a postbox for me and saved me a heck load of money (I had stamped them already with US postage, but if I ever run out- not likely- I'll pick up more next visit to the US). You may find that the best way.

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  9. I remember I received a postcard sized about 3cm x 4cm (inside Germany, though), not quite a ‘standard sized’ postcard. At least, it clearly was manually processed.

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  10. It's related to the standard processing through sorting machines and an attempt to get people to all use 'standard' envelopes. It happened to me once when I sent a small card to someone for their birthday - got it back a couple of weeks later with a sticker on it (that was bigger than the envelope, it wrapped nearly the whole way round!) telling me to go to the post office and pay something silly like six euro (as far as I remember part of it was for an admin fee). I peeled the sticker off, popped it into an ordinary envelope and just sent it again. Kind of frustrating but the kind of thing that only happens to you once I think :)

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  11. To avoid this and to save money on postage I now send postcards back home. I found some cute Christmas ones for 1 euro and it's only 1 euro for postage.

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  12. Postcards are a good solution. We did that every previous year here - but this year I wanted to pick up cards while on vacation and didn't see postcards there!

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