Mmm… that feels good

Yesterday was my birthday. As a birthday present to myself, I decided I would finally start shipping out books for BooksForSoldiers, as I’d promised myself I would.

I was surprised. I didn’t think it would be this much fun. I looked at the requests, figured out out how to fold the post-office flat-rate boxes, how to tape them up, selected books to suit the soldiers’ wishes, wrote notes to them to wish them a safe return home, created simple labels, and taped them to the boxes as I closed them up. It didn’t feel like work at all.

The post office did their best to dispel this feeling. I didn’t know that I had to fill out customs forms for each box. The forms asked questions that I could not answer: What was the box worth? How much of each item ("Books") was in the box? (I’d made up lists, but they were packed inside the boxes.) How much did it weigh? (The scales on the post-office tables only went up to one pound.) The hardest part was figuring out how to fill out the address field. I don’t know how to interpret military addresses; which part is the "city" in an APO address?

This was definitely work.

I got it done, and the boxes are on their way.

The shipping fees were a bit higher than I expected; evidently there’s no Media Mail for international shipping, or at least the discount isn’t what I thought it was. However, I’m not going to let the cost of charity get me down. I’ll keep sending books until I run out. Though in deference to my budget, I may not send them all this month.

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  1. freyas_fire

    It’s up to the Post Office to put the weight on the customs forms. Usually when I fill them out, I always mark it as a gift.

    There’s probably into on on how to fill out forms and write out the APO addresses.

    1. wgseligman

      And so there is; I can even fill out the forms on-line. Thanks!

      1. freyas_fire

        You can pay for and create shipping labels online too, if you set up an account. It’s free. Oh, and the commercials where they say they’ll send you a free shipping kit? They’ve always done that. All the Priority Mail boxes and envelopes are free, including shipping, even if you order a ton of them. If you don’t want to ship something Priority, order the boxes anyway, get a roll of brown kraft paper from the store, and wrap the boxes in that. Protects the boxes and they can’t see that it’s a Priority Mail box. 🙂

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