Continuing yesterday’s theme of saving money when sending personal correspondence, how’s this for a fantastic idea?
Save money on ridiculously expensive post cards by making your own out of any unused pieces of card you might happen to have lying about the house:
I’m delighted to report that I saved so much money on post cards over the last couple of months that, last week, I decided to invest in a small office guillotine to streamline the card-creation process. Needless to say, I didn’t let the cardboard box the guillotine came in go to waste:
I’ve decided to start referring to such home-made post cards as Carter postales™. Immortality at last!
For reasons that need not detain us, I needed to post a DVD to Greece on Friday. The man at Hebden Bridge Post Office weighed the slim envelope, consulted his computer, and told me that the postage would be £1.28. Bargain!
Then the man flexed the corner of the envelope suspiciously. “Have you enclosed a letter in here?” he asked.
Ha! Not catching me out with that one! “Oh, no,” I replied, quite truthfully, “it’s just a DVD, nothing else!”
The man then re-consulted his computer, and told me that the postage would actually be £5.xx. I didn’t catch the exact amount, as I went into shock after the words five pounds.
The man explained that, had the envelope contained a letter as well as a DVD, it would count as personal correspondence. Without such a letter, it was classified as a small package. Small packages cost more to send than personal correspondence. Considerably more, apparently.
“What?” I whatted. “It costs £4 more to send exactly the same envelope without a letter than it does with a letter?!”
The man nodded.
I looked him straight in the eyes. “That’s BONKERS!” I observed.
The look on the man’s face told me two things: 1) I was by no means the first customer to make this observation, and 2) he agreed.
I then has a brain-wave and disclosed, once again quite truthfully, that I had, in fact, written in pen on front of the DVD. I asked if this didn’t make the DVD itself into personal correspondence. The man confirmed my suspicion that it didn’t.
So, I took my envelope back, went home, opened it, took out the DVD, addressed a brand new envelope, inserted the DVD and a note to the recipient saying words to the effect of “By enclosing this note, I am saving ⅔ of the postage. I trust you are well.”, sealed the envelope, wrote the wordson the bottom, returned to the Post Office, and announced, “I’d like to send some personal correspondence to Greece, please.”
It cost me £1.28.
I receive email:
I am the police motorcyclist you snapped in Halifax.
Is there any chance I could have a copy of the photo?
Last night, I dreamt that I caught the end of a piece on BBC Radio 4′s Woman’s Hour, in which some feminist was spouting bollocks about Charles Darwin. As opposed to spouting bollocks about men in general, I mean. I decided to write a letter to put them straight. But then I woke up.
Letters to Radio 4… Even in my dreams, I am hopelessly middle-class.
It’s official: I am a member of this great nation’s Intelligentsia (with a capital ‘I’). I have had a letter published in the London Review of Books (my butler doesn’t read it):
Steven Shapin writes that Darwin’s uncontrollable retching and farting seriously limited his public life (LRB, 30 June). Some years ago, to my delight, I worked out that the great man’s full name, Charles Robert Darwin, is an anagram of ‘rectal winds abhorrer’. Unfortunately for my anagram, the meanings of words, like species, can evolve. On the rare occasions that Darwin mentioned his problems to friends, he always used the word ‘flatulence’. Nowadays, we think of flatulence as being synonymous with farting, but in Darwin’s day it meant (as it technically still does) an accumulation of gases in the alimentary canal. While I’m sure that Darwin must have vented his excess gas one way or the other, there’s no reason to believe that his farts were uncontrollable.
Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire
And, if that were not proof enough of the enormousness of my intellectual magnitude, my letter has also been reproduced in full by that other British bastion of clotted nonsense brain-fodder, Hooting Yard.
[Note how I cleverly avoided the common mistake of using the word enormity to signify something very enormous in that last sentence. As a member of the Intelligentsia, I would never commit such a faux pas. If you'll pardon my French.]