One of the qualities I have that regularly irritates my girlfriend is a penchant for complaining about poor design. You know, kitchen utensils that I break the first time I use them; doors with handles that afford pulling when they must be pushed; and online forms generally. One particular bug bear has been posting manuscripts. “Grr,” I would say piratically, “I know the weight of these manuscripts, I have the envelopes, so why can’t I just pay online, write a code on the bleddy thing, and send it off? Why do I have to cycle a mile to the Post Office and shout through a grill?”.
Well, finally, the Royal Mail (in the UK we send ‘post’ via the ‘Royal Mail’; in the US they send ‘mail’ via the ‘US Postal Service’; why?; answers on a postcard, please; alternatively, go figure) has taken the wind from my sails.
At this site, you can now tell Royal Mail (a) how much your parcel weighs, (b) the size of the envelope, and they’ll direct you to a page where you can download the Adobe Acrobat PDF of a label to stick on the front. Then, you can just shove the manuscript — feel free to shoulder barge if needs be; I do — into your nearest pill box.
Now, if only I had something to send…