Going Postal

by on July 25, 2005

I’m selling a shower rail on eBay, and a bidder has asked me how much it might be send to Germany. That should be easy to find out (indeed, why don’t they look it up themselves the lazy buggers?) I’ve got a vision of a nice form to fill out: dimensions, weight, destination, insurance, etc. And with this in mind I go to the Royal Mail. I go to City Link. I Google.

The Royal Mail. One of those “stick a million links on every page” site. But “Send and Receive Mail” on the main nav looks promising. Click on “Sending mail overseas” … “Surface Mail” sounds good for starters (“Perfect for heavy and bulky items”). Click. Blah blah “Easy and affordable way to send anything around the world” … “Up to half the price of standard Airmail” Blah blah. What is this? A press release? What about the f*****g RATES?? “Pricing…click here” (so no accessibility audit then, best practice freaks). The pricing only goes up to 2Kg and seems limited to just “Small packets and printed papers.” Not exactly living up to that “heavy and bulky items” billing.

So I try again. This time with their “Postal calculator” (dunno where I found it – some link buried in a bunch of blah). No branding (apart from Sun Microsystems logo in TLHC, which means “Geeks Have Designed This”), no nav… sinking feeling… click on “sending mail overseas” and fill in *almost* the form I envisaged being on the home page before I started this journey almost 10mins ago. This time, it reveals that I can send it surface mail at that weight. But then I can’t get any confirmation as to whether it’ll be too big or what. No further information on the service. Dead end.

Next I Google and find www.parcelflight.co.uk. Looks good! Looks perfect, although the form on the home page (they’ve got the right idea!) assumes you’re sending to UK only. Never mind, click on the image next to it that says “Europe from £19.99” – this’ll do me! They’ve got my money already! Yes? No. It takes me to another form. Another form that also assumes I’m sending to the UK.

But something in the back of my mind tells me they can’t be THAT stupid. After all, their graphic designers are streets ahead of the Royal Mail’s. No. Let’s just try… I thought so! It’s Internet Explorer they want, not Firefox! With MSIE I can see the “destination” drop-down.

So I close the loop and send them a link to this page.

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