Message Of The Day

Thu, 18 May 2006

00:56 [zork(~)] cat shipping.txt


DIMENSIONAL WEIGHT = L*W*H / 166 (for some reason)

Of course, shipping couldn't be easy, now could it. The calculations for the USPS seem pretty simple: you just punch in a weight, and they have some formula for calculating the maximum allowable volume. Hell, it may even be constant.

But UPS has formulae that make the tax schedules look elegant. Basically, they calculate a weight that the box is supposed to be, based on volume, and the weight that the box actually is, and choose the higher one. So you get hammered hard on packing materials and double-boxing.

And you know how UPS domestic has like ground shipping where you just pay a minimal amount and let it take forever? Well overseas it's entirely impossible to distinguish one class of service from another. Near as I can tell it's just like random priority froofraw.

And then there's the old "insurance vs. customs" game. If you insure your package for lots of money, customs may make you pay that in full just to let it enter the country, effectively costing you the entire value you insured against loss. Lose-lose!

Wed, 17 May 2006

21:52 [zork(~)] cat movingscam.txt

Please Deliver My Cyclotron To Hammersmith

I'm in a state of total fucking disbelief. I've decided that International Moving Companies are a massive scam. They exist to milk as much from corporate moving reimbursement as possible.

Since flats in London are 90% of the furnished variety, and since none of our appliances are 220 (except our laptops), we're getting rid of furniture and electronics.

So, I've whittled our move down to a few key areas:

  • clothing
  • books
  • crockery/cutlery
  • wall-hangings
  • paperwork, CDs, and miscellaneous keepsakes

The rest is just noise, and appears in our checked and carry-on luggage.

Now, when I ask people for an in-person moving estimate, they direct me to some stupid web page first. The form on that page usually looks like this:



So I kind of scratch my head and go "um, none of the above?" and they drop me like a hot rock.

I spoke to a longtime friend who has done the expat thing many times in his life. According to him, oil company stooges are the worst. You'll walk into a merkin's house in Lagos and there will be all the family antiques. He goes to parties in penthouses where dining tables have been hauled from Nebraska and fill all available space in whatever room they're stored. Basically some midwestern housewife is handed an expense form by her husband, told "the movers will be here on Tuesday, so just show them all our stuff" and then sort of by default has them ship anything not nailed down. The moving companies count on this.

These people run 110V heavy appliances like washing machines and refrigerators from foreign power, just using a converter. What, they don't have refrigerators where you're going? Is your dishwasher really that precious to you?

Add to that the fact that moving and shipping companies seem to all be crooked (been looking at and the whole thing just seems so not worth it. At this point I'm ready to just pack it all up myself and ship UPS and USPS.

What a goddamn racket!

[zork(~)] cal
[zork(~)] tree
[zork(~)] cat README