Re: US post office shipping rate increase


Just to add to the story, I just received two balloon trackers from Zach Tech in Sweden that I ordered online on July 4th..Four days from Sweden to my front porch via   

Brian K9WIS


From: "Hans Summers"
Sent: Wednesday July 8 2020 9:57:41AM
Subject: Re: [QRPLabs] US post office shipping rate increase

Hi Jack

Hi hi. But let me tell you, after 22 years in corporate life, 1994 to 2016 (IT in investment banks) I could tell you a story or thousand. It would fill several books. 

Everything you said, is mirrored equally word for word in the corporate world. The larger the corporation, the worse it is. I think it is not about public or private, it is about human nature. 

Which is one of the reasons I was so happy QRP Labs gave me the opportunity for a change... I just could not fit in... I could not help myself, making things more efficient. But the direction by all other middle management was the opposite - as you said, the more people who work for you, the more bonus, promotions, prestige, advancement etc. If the choices were "beat them or join them" that would have been tough. Coz hard as I tried, beating them wasn't possible; neither would joining them have been. Luckily for me QRP Labs was the third option, "leave them". LOL Hi hi.

73 Hans G0UPL

On Wed, Jul 8, 2020 at 5:52 PM jjpurdum via <> wrote:
I agree on the efficiency issue. The USPS would not even exist if the US taxpayer didn't subsidize it. As bad as it is, however, there are worse. I used to have a cabin about 350 miles north of Toronto. If I mailed a letter to a friend up there, it took up to 6 weeks to get there. When our rates were $0.32 for a first class letter, the Canadian rate was almost $0.50. My Canadian friends said that of that $0.50, $0.03 was for actual delivery of the letter, the remaining $0.47 was for storage. They may be right.

The problem with a lot of gov't enterprises is that they are insulated from competitive pressures, both at the organizational and personal level. A friend of mine from grad school took a job in one of the smaller US Federal agencies. The director of the agency told his workers to slow down for the next week and let the applications pile up in their "IN" boxes. About a week later, the GAO came by for an "assessment visit" and the director complained he didn't have enough people to process the work load, which my friend said was an out-and-out lie. However, in Washington, your prestige and invitations to black-tie cocktail parties is a function of the number of people who work for you. The more inefficient you are, the more workers you're assigned, and the higher you climb the DC social ladder. What's wrong with this picture?

What would happen if this took place at a news conference by the President"

    Good morning. By Executive Order 123456789 and effective tomorrow morning,
    the budget of every Federal agency is reduced by 10%. I expect those agencies
    to continue to perform at the same or higher levels of efficiency after the budget
    cuts. If you cannot perform at this level, you will be replaced by someone who can.
    Have a nice day.

There would be a firestorm from the public unions, but I seriously doubt that the output of any agency would change much.

Jack, W8TEE

On Wednesday, July 8, 2020, 10:27:02 AM EDT, Hans Summers <hans.summers@...> wrote:

Hi Gwen, all

Just to reiterate - the FedEx Express (TNT) rates have not increased. It is the post office rates that suddenly tripled overnight. 

I had hoped, obviously definitely naively, that this would not get too political. But now we are... so I state my opinion... 

I agree with what you said and I think you are right, but only partially so. There are several other factors involved. 

First is that the true costs of living, salaries, accommodation and products, vary from country to country, and are not accurately reflected by currency exchange rates. Currency exchange rates are determined, predominantly, by inter-bank market forces. Not by any particular assessment of actual costs of living in the country. I see this a lot, here in Turkey. You look at Turkish wages and prices in my case, I almost always think in US$ terms, and everything appears cheap. But to a Turk, earning a Turkish wage and paying Turkish prices, things are relatively more balanced, at least domestically. It's only when you consider international items that the costs look very different. This is caused by currency exchange rates which are reflective of market trading, not of the true value of the currency within the country according to the residents. Essentially exchange rates favour big business not the civilian. This imbalance causes production costs in some countries (such as you mentioned, China) to be much lower than in US or Europe. The world is heavily out of balance but fundamentally, over centuries and decades, the European and American empires made it so. 

Secondly, there are wild differences in things like social care, workers rights, insurance, safety, etc. The fact is that the more developed a country has been for longer, the more money is poured into these things. A developing nation has not yet paid particular attention to these things and therefore production is much cheaper there. 

The third thing I want to point out is about EFFICIENCY. It was interesting to me, because I lived in Tokyo Japan for 5.5 years. It was much cheaper for me to send a package to my Mother in UK via airmail from Tokyo, than it would be for her to send it to her next door neighbour via 2nd class post! And both would arrive at about the same time! I remember several occasions where someone in US posted me back an assembled kit that they couldn't get to work, so I could fix it for them - and the USPS stamp on the box was for $15 or $20... which was 4x what I had paid the Japanese post office to send it to them in the first place. Japan is the 3rd largest economy in the world, after US and China. And is not a newcomer. I really doubt that Japan has any special favourable treatment by the International Postal Union. Neither does Japan have such a drastically unbalanced currency exchange rate or social care (my two points above). So what remains must be efficiency differences. Would that be fair? It ended up being my feeling, that for whatever reason, the UK's Royal Mail and USPS in the US had become relatively inefficient compared to their counterparts in other places. 

I think these three factors are also a part of the equation, not just unfairly low postal rates offered to China for an outdated development classification. 

73 Hans G0UPL

On Wed, Jul 8, 2020 at 5:07 PM Gwen Patton <ardrhi@...> wrote:
Frankly, I'm surprised it took this long.

The post office prices in the US have been stagnant for DECADES. Some countries -- such as China -- have had a favored status for nearly a century. In the example of China (I know this doesn't apply to QRPLabs, but the viewpoint might be useful), they've had the status of "developing agrarian nation" with regards to postal rates to the US practically since they started sending mail to us AT ALL. The problem is, they're NOT a "developing agrarian nation" anymore, they're a freaking WORLD SUPERPOWER, and heavily industrialized now. Their rates should have changed 50 years ago. This, and only this, is why they can make a profit off sending container ship loads of tchotchke and gadget-type products here in the first place. When the ship arrives at the distribution center in the US, they get US postage applied that's based on China being a "developing agrarian nation", which is as close to nothing and still being charged something at all. THIS is what gives them the economies of scale necessary to ship stuff here in the first place. If they were being charged what other countries are being charged, a) they wouldn't be able to make anything off dirt-cheap junk anymore, b) it might actually start becoming cost-effective to return a defective product, since they'd have to start charging a more realistic price for the stuff, and c) the US Snail Postal Disservice would probably be the closest to making a profit that it's had since the Pony Express shut down.

Given how hard it is for anyone else to compete with this, the massive problems from the coof, and the price of everything from M4 nuts to jet fuel going up, I'm not surprised at all that FedEx has increased its rates, especially overseas. It's literally harder to do business worldwide right now than it has ever been. I'm sorry to hear you're having to deal with it, and that it's causing difficulties with existing orders so suddenly, but frankly, I'm far from surprised.

I'll take your suggestion when I order something from you next. I might order an extra 50W amplifier kit, since I can't for the life of me figure out why mine doesn't work right. I probably toasted something...if not the finals, then maybe a trace leading to the finals. I had to remove a couple of parts, and had the devil of a time getting rid of a solder bridge on one of the IRF510s, and could very well have fried something in the attempt. (Basically, it powers up, but if I transmit, it gives a burst of noise, then cuts out completely...and yes, I'm powering it sufficiently. I'm running up against the limits of my electronics knowledge with this, and don't know what to check, and what "ok" or "broken" would look like.)

I might even order one of the QCX+ kits, when I figure out what band I want to build it for. Maybe 20m, since I've still got a QCX kit for 30m to build, and my 40m kit is working perfectly. And of course I'll be ordering the QSX when it's available!

Gwen, NG3P

On Wed, Jul 8, 2020 at 8:16 AM Hans Summers <hans.summers@...> wrote:
Hi all

Most US customers will now find it cheapest to choose the FedEx Express (TNT) option at checkout. FedEx Express (TNT) rates are unchanged. 

Non-US customers post office shipping rates are not affected.

Regrettably we had an unpleasant surprise this morning, we received a phone call from our local post office asking for 670 TL additional payment for the packages we posted yesterday - this is approx US $100 - the reason is that overnight, the rates for posting packages to US have literally TRIPLED. 

Further investigation and some Googling reveal that this is a result of US foreign trade policy changes under the current administration, specifically in regard to international shipments, the USPS are charging foreign post offices a much higher rate for the US handling of incoming international packages. The origin post offices therefore have to pass this on to their customers. 

As a result we have incurred significant losses and it comes at an unfortunate time because we have the backlog of QCX+ orders that we are working through. Anyway, these things happen, life goes on. 

Accordingly I have had to set up a separate shipping category in the shop for US post office shipments, henceforth unfortunately the price of US post office shipments has risen dramatically (approximately by a factor of 3). 

QRP Labs policy remains to charge all shipping at cost, as closely as we can. 

Most US customers will now find it cheapest to choose the FedEx Express (TNT) option at checkout. FedEx Express (TNT) rates are unchanged. 

The only time post office shipment is cheaper is for small lightweight packages, under 120g (registered/insured/tracked) or under 250g (unregistered/uninsured/your risk). Even then, the price difference is so small that generally for the speed, FedEx Express (TNT) will be preferable for many people. 

Note that in order to minimize our losses, we will in many cases promote existing pending QCX+ orders where post office shipment was chosen, to FedEx Express (TNT), at no cost to you of course. 

73 Hans G0UPL

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