This is my follow-up post to the Top 5 Worst Habits of Mailing Cards. Each can be solved with very little effort. Read on gentle reader, read on.
Curing the Top 5 Worst Habits of Mailing Cards
1. The “White Envelope” – This is by far the easiest to solve. Just start using Bubble Mailers. They can be purchased cheaply in packages of 10 or 20 and come in a variety of sizes. Looking to save money? Read on.
2. The “Creative Toploader” - Solution: Two pieces of Cardboard at least 1.5 inches (4cm) larger in width and height than the card being sent + 2 fake inserts (you can find these in packs of UD). Center the trade card on one piece of cardboard. Cut the fake inserts in half and put them on either side of the card and to the top and tape them in place. The idea is that they should stop the trade card from reaching the edge of the cardboard or the tape. Place the second piece of cardboard over top the first sandwiching the trade card and the dummy cards. Now, tape the two pieces of cardboard together tightly on the edges (4 thick pieces of tape, one for each edge). This will help keep the trade card immobile. To open the package, someone can slice the edge pieces of tape and at worst, harm the dummy cards.
3. The “Tape Salesman” – Tape only needs to go in three well placed areas. 1. Two pieces of tape on either side of your stack of top loaders. Over the top is not necessary! If the tape is too tight, this tape can pinch the cards. 2. Once you’ve placed your cards in a team bag, close the bag & if your seal isn’t sticky, tape the bag shut. 3. Seal your envelope with tape (even if the envelope has a sticky seal on it already as these can be easily removed without evidence of it being tampered with)
4. The “Illegal Entry” – Most people don’t fill out customs forms for two reasons: Time and to save on duties. If you’re pressed for time, you can fill out and print your forms online:
USA to Canada & <$400: http://webapps.usps.com/customsforms/sender_recipient.jsp
Canada to USA: http://www.canadapost.ca/personal/tools/cst/intro-e.asp
The USA to Canada is much better than the Canada to US, but at least both are online. In terms of saving duties, well, not much can be done there. Shipping from Canada to the USA, there is an argument that these products were produced in the USA (ie: country of origin). USA to Canada, well, Canadians are just going to have to pay their taxes. Think of it as your OHIP contribution.
5. The “Internal Tapper” – Just remove the tape right? Hold on, we have to remember why people put tape in the envelope. They're worried about their cards moving around during transit and becoming banged up. The solution to this is a little more involved. You can start by trimming your envelopes so that cards will fit more snugly in the envelope which will stop them from moving around, but not so snug that they are hard to get in and out of the envelope. Its also possible to tape two top loaders side by side so that they are larger. A larger card is less likely to move around in the package. Really, if you've packaged your cards with top loaders, decoys and team bags, they can bang around all they like on the inside because they're already well protected.
The Best Way
Truth be told, there is no “best way” to ship your cards, but most shippers would benefit from a dollop of common sense. Before putting your cards in the envelope, shake them vigorously. Do they move too much or fall out of the top loaders? Try again! Does your envelope look like it could be mistaken for a three year old’s class project? Please re-wrap!
My preferred way of packing is the sandwich method, which provides strength and economy. Basically, for every 3 cards, put two in a top loader and sandwich the third (or, if you have 5 cards, put 3 in top loaders and made a Double-Decker sandwich). For each packet of cards, put them in a team bag. Seal the bag, then stick em’ in a bubble mailer and away they go! If you’re extra nervous, add some stiff cardboard like the dummy cards they include in packs to discourage pack searching.