Saturday, December 10, 2011

Beware Giant Christmas Cards


So, this happened again. Apparently, I am not a quick learner.  It seems that at least one side of a letter has to be 11 centimeters or less, or it becomes a "large letter" and costs an additional 2 Euro and 70 cents.  Which is a LOT more.

**EDIT!: I misunderstood based on entering a slew of values into the Portokalkulator on the Deutsche Post site.  Here is the real info: the long side of the envelope must be between 14 and 23.5 centimeters, and the short side must be between 9 and 12.5 centimeters...BUT, it's not just that, and this is where I goofed in interpreting the results I was getting from the Portokalkulator.  The long side must be at least 1.4 times as long as the short side.  So, although a 14x12.5-cm envelope is within the dimensions listed, it still would cost 3 Euro and 45 cents to send to the US, because the length isn't long enough given the width.  The same rules apply to postcards.
I'm going to see if we can get the money back on the stamps they cancelled on those envelopes, because I'm not willing to pay 3,45 to mail a card, and I didn't get anything for the 75 cents they cancelled...I just want to start over! Hope it works...

But in better Christmas-card-related news, isn't this advent card my friend sent adorable??


  1. The Deutsche Post calculator seems to be as crappy as the USPS one. I misunderstood the measurements as well... and finally gave up and went to the post office to stand in line forever, but at least I got to talk to people waiting there as well...
    The card is very cute!

  2. My girlfriend has the same problem with very little cards. You can put them in bigger envelopes but that doesn't look nice. When you put the little one in a bigger envelope then sometimes the weight is the problem because it is more than 20 gram.

  3. This is always a problem when buying cards and envelopes overseas. They often don't fit the German system without that gouge they charge.

    Good luck getting your money back! Worth a post if it succeeds...

    - ian in hamburg

  4. Ah! This solves a mystery for me. I went to post some stuff last week which included 3 cards I wanted to send to the UK. I was told that they would cost me 3 Euros 20 cents each to send. It was at that point I realised I didn't like my friends in the UK *that* much. :-)

  5. I always knew that attempting to mail anything in Germany was going to be part of the "idiot tax." No matter how much I looked into it, or how many people I asked, the final price was always a surprise when I went to mail it. Sometimes, it was less and sometimes more.

    Good luck.

  6. I went to the Post a few weeks ago and sure enough the guy behind the counter pulled out a ruler and confirmed that my envelope was 2 millimeters too long - 2 millimeters! - and asked if he could fold it so I wouldn't be charged extra. I said sure (of course) and he said, "American envelopes don't fit" or something to that effect. It was one of those "Ah, Deutschland" days.

  7. Ah, the mysteries of the German post office. I went to mail a small painting to the US the other day, and they only wanted €3.50 to ship the box. I was skeptical, but it arrived just fine. The weird thing is that if I want to send the same size package with tracking info, it's €34. Quite the discrepancy.


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