Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Tree, Wall, and Driveway

Hudson, New York

A nice little city tree on a rainy day about a month ago.

Adventures with Click 'N Ship continue as we ship, or attempt to, the print offer packages. Today, it failed to acknowledge our payment for a first set of five packages. I made the mistake of trying again, and it charged me twice. Then we did a set of nearly a dozen international labels, and paid the nearly $400 bill with PayPal. A PP charge notice came through email immediately, then for nearly an hour the C'NS page insisted that the bill was unpaid and refused to print the labels. Aside from interfering with throughput by preventing us from outputting the labels for an hour, I couldn't get any answers and was told by a computer that their customer service phone lines were experiencing heavy traffic and representatives would take much longer than usual to answer. I guess I know why. As a final touch, when we could finally print the labels, the 'shipping history' showed them as charged, but when I tried to make some new ones, they were added to that $400 list, not a new one, as if the first set hadn't been paid. I gave up for the day. We'll see if their computers are more compliant tomorrow. If this system actually worked, it would be really convenient, but it still seems a long way short of ready for prime time.


Markus said...

Ah, Carl, sometimes a good ol' post office with a ill-tempered clerk could be *the* solution, isn't it?

The image is mighty fine. I love the clarity of the composition and the small numbers of colors very much.

Carl said...

Thanks, Markus, simplicity, in moderation, can work really well. David Vestal used to say, "It's been claimed that '...less is more.' This isn't true. Less is less, more is more, and enough...is enough."

The online system idea is excellent: you key in the address and the package specs, the postage is calculated, they include full package tracking, a modest amount of insurance (you can buy more but it's quite expensive and the Priority Mail system has been so reliable in the past that it makes sense to mostly self-insure), and discount nearly ten percent off the counter price (significant when the print offer postage will be somewhere near $2,000). Then you just walk in, no matter how long the line to the counter is, slip around 'those people' and place your stack of 20 or whatever packages at the far left, and wave at the clerks, who are delighted to be able to scan the stuff into their system later, when nobody needs them at the counter. I don't wait in line, and I don't keep other people waiting in line while a clerk would be tied up for half an hour or more checking in my 20 packages with nothing but shipping labels on them.

That's for domestic. For international—filling out the form by hand is a nightmare, at least for me—I have terrible handwriting but I'm a crackerjack typist—so I can set up a dozen international shipping tickets in a fraction of the time it would take me to simply fill out the forms by hand, and, ahem, once the system acknowledges my order and payment, my laser printer just spits out the pages, (more NRFPT: if I hit the Print button in the system, they print out incorrectly, chopping data at the top of the page, so I have to hit "download PDF," wait for it to appear in Acrobat, then send it to the printer). I cut them in half, as required, and slip them in the sleeve you attach to the package, then they are ready to drop off. But as above, neither I nor hapless people behind me have to wait for the packages to be processed into the system.