Wanted to bring this up... you'll see why.
I posted on facebook yesterday about how (in a nutshell), I had scheduled a package pickup with USPS, had put four packages on the porch, and had received email notification that the pickup was complete. Yet... the packages were still on the porch the next morning, so I called the local post office and they said they would send someone out to pick them up.... yet they did not. I was out of town for the following two days, and the packages sat on my porch that entire time, while I received mail every day, and yet didn't get picked up.
So I posted on facebook about this, and about how useless USPS is, and saying sorry that the packages haven't gone out yet.
I noticed, shortly after this, that another vendor had posted on facebook something about, they go to the post office IN PERSON (they used the caps), because it's more personal, and how it's sad everything's automated. I don't know if that was intended as a jab at me and the rescue store, but I feel like it very well may have been, which is why I'm writing this post.
Let me tell you why I ship the way I do, and why I cannot do (at least, not all the time), what this other person does --
This other vendor only sells non-perishable items. As in, no chinchilla food, no treats, no time sensitive things, like when someone is gonna run out of rood and orders more. They have houses, hammocks, etc etc, but things that can wait. So, there's no rush for them to get out of orders, cause no one's chinchilla is gonna run out of food while waiting on their non-food order. AND... they posted that they ship in batches, only TWO times per month. I ship almost every other day. A lot of times it's just one or two packages, but it's OFTEN. With it being that often, it's really not practical for me to run to the post office every time.
The post office touts their package pickup, which is free. They even have commercials for it on TV, saying the mailman will already be here, they can pick it up. Clearly, as shown in my example, that doesn't work as flawlessly as they'd like people to think, but it is a service the offer. And a useful service, because when it works (that's the key, isn't it?), I don't have to drive to the post office, wait in line, drop off packages, and so on.
Now, let's also talk about price. This other vendor has several hammocks available, and they are nicer (shape-wise... like they're not squares) than mine. She has for each of them, $6 shipping. And maybe she's shipping them in a little priority mail box, I don't know. But for $6 shipping, per hammock, she can afford to go to the post office. You know what my hammocks are set at for shipping in the webstore? $3.50. And at that price, maybe I make $0.25-$0.50 on shipping. You order two of them, and it'll go up to $6.50, but chances are, you will end up with some of that refunded, cause it really won't cost $6.50 to ship two. I usually ship hammocks in first class envelopes (assuming the order is only hammocks or other small items), and can get maybe 4-5 of them in there, probably for under $5 total shipping. I'm not making much on shipping, and that's fine, because I feel that gouging on shipping is ripping people off. You want to make $10 profit off your item, fine, raise the price so that you make $10 profit, but don't have an item that costs nothing to ship and charge a fortune for shipping. Packaging just doesn't cost that much.
Anyway, reason I wanted to talk about price is because price is different when you go to the post office versus when you ship at home. Did you know that? If you get an account with USPS and print out your own labels and such and stick them on the package themselves... you can save yourself and your customers money. Lookie dat. If that vendor is really going to the post office in person, that's great for her, but her customers are paying more than they need to for shipping. Sometimes it's not a lot, but sometimes it's the difference between $40 shipping and $20 shipping on heavy packages going far, no joke. Which is yet another reason I use USPS's automated shipping, is because it's cheaper. Then, once I've paid the shipping cost and sent out the item to be shipped, I can refund the excess to the customer, who is typically happy to get back some money.
So I'm not doing it because I don't want to deal with real life people, or don't want to support people with real jobs, or whatever else reasons people might say "horrible automation, go away!!!" I'm doing it to save myself time, which gets orders done quicker if I'm not driving to the post office all the time, and to save the customers money on shipping. I'm trying to help the customers out, and in no way is it meant to be non-personal or whatever... but until someone wants to volunteer to go for me to literally hand the packages to the mail man at the post office... things will be done this way. If anyone would like this to change, by all means, volunteer, and you can stop by every time I have a package ;) haha