Thursday, 20 September 2012

A Letter From America

It's crazy to think 1999 was 13 years ago. It was the year I started senior school, I remember it being a year of wearing a horrid bottle green uniform, hating cross country and making French teachers cry [not by me personally, but the class collective]. I only released this when I was bidding on a postage scale for my ebay selling. There's no way I'd call it vintage - but I only want to say that about things from before the 80s. Maybe it's retro? Or just mature.

Either way I needed a set of scales. If you know anything about the difference between American and British baking/cooking you know Americans prefer to measure in cups. There's no scales in sight. Which makes it hard when your living in a scale-less apartment to weight items your selling to get the shipping charges spot on. The area we're we've failed a couple of times on eBay is loosing all our profits because we undercharged - those darn Transformers Toys can be pretty heavy you'd be surprised. After months of complaining about me guessing weights I finally took to eBay to buy some scales. I wanted vintage [or course] but I wanted big proper old kitchen scales. Until Joe pointed me in the direction of postage scales and sadly most were Chinese and digital. That made me sad. The oldest going was this 1999 pelouze 16oz scale which for 0.99 cents you can't really complain about. And when it turned up I was weighing everything.

Apparently a first class stamp through the United States Postage Service [or as we more loving call it USPS] in 1999 cost you a mere 33 cents and in 13 years its only gone up 12c to 45c but lets see how that compares to the UK pricing.

  • One first class stamp - in the UK the "aim' is for it be delivered the next day and costs 60p [90c] compared to the US first class stamp costing 45c [30p] which is actually cheaper then the UK's second class post and offers delivery within three days - which when you compare the size of the county is probably a good deal.
  • Second class - the UK has a second class postage option which costs 50p [75c] and is a three day service, which as an option doesn't exist in the US.
  • Sending a postcard - if you were to send a holiday postcard to the US from the UK you'd be spending 87p [$1.31], in reverse you'd be only paying $1.05 [70p]. 

You can really see how different the prices are when it comes to something as standard as posting a letter. And it's not like the USPS system doesn't have competition in the US - it has loads. There's FedEx shops, UPS and DHL available everywhere [well within cities] the American post system doesn't have the run of the mill and control the postage arena like the Post Office in the UK does.

The only problems I've found is when it comes to international mailing, more so when it's coming into the US from the UK. At times it's taken anywhere between three days to three months - no joke. I have no idea where the said parcels go, visit, end up in before they arrive with me but they certainly must go on some journey. 

What do you think about the old price of posting these days? I know it's always a hot topic in the UK!


  1. I think the price of posting is crazy ( i sound so old) but it's 90p for a large letter! XX

  2. Very interesting to hear the differences! I take it the parcel I sent you a month or two ago has yet to arrive?!


  3. My dad is actually a mail carrier. I know the the USPS has lost a lot of business to UPS and Fedex when it comes to packages. I am not bothered by the current price of stamps.

    However, it is a little crazy the differences between time it can take packages/parcels to reach locations.

    Tracy @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

  4. I sell things on Ebay a lot of the time, it wasn't that long a go that the weight of a package equals how much you pay. Now everything £2.70 first class, or £2.20, so expensive condiering some items sell for 99p and weigh barely anything!