Recently our National postal system, The Royal Mail, introduced a new set of pricing that for the first time took account of the shape of an item as well as its weight. They claim that this is in line with the rest of the industry (Fedex, DHL etc.) Today I saw for the first time how petty and stupid this system is. We got this card in the post claiming that they were unable to deliver an item because there was insufficient postage. Fair enough I thought. It did say that there was £1.06 to pay. Was someone sending me gold bullion without putting a stamp on it? Then I noticed the killer line "includes £1 handling fee for underpaid items". So actually the postage was just 6 pence short. Seems a bit petty. Of course we didn't know what the item was at this stage.
One option was to take half a day off and go to the sorting office to retrieve the item - which seems a bit extreme for a 6p under payment. The alternative is to attach £1.06 to the card in stamps and send it back and they will deliver the it. Now these days people only buy 1st class stamps which have a value of 34p. Attaching 3 1st class stamps would only make £1.02! So we would need to attach 4 which means we are now being charged £1.36 for the 6p underpayment. Of course you can still buy smaller denomination stamps - but you have to go to the Post Office to buy them - somewhat defeating the object.
So what was this object that had caused all the fuss? Simply a congratulations card for Lucy with a first class stamp on it. Should be fine right? Well if you check out the new regulations it turns out that the card was 5 millimeters too long. You are allowed 240mm and this is 245mm. I bet some despicable jobsworth is really proud of themselves.