January 31, 2013

New USPS Rates

As you've probably heard, USPS rates have gone up significantly as of January 27th, 2013.  With each of these yearly rate increases, I hold my breath and cringe, afraid to see exactly how much postage prices have risen in conjunction with the times.  Yes, I understand that the post office, in the name of patriotism and efficacy, needs to stay in business.  People need their jobs.  And believe me, I understand the importance of USPS in the maintenance of small online businesses via quick and efficient deliveries.  However, what I don't understand is how much the rates have gone up--what was once an affordable way to ship internationally is now mind-bogglingly expensive. 

International buyers bear the brunt and burden of this executive decision--with the new rates, the First-Class International option is no longer affordable. 

Through this online gizmo, I can figure out how much it will cost to ship a package of a certain weight (with specific USPS services, i.e.: First-Class, Priority, etc.) to almost anywhere in the world:

For example, a 3-ounce package shipped First-Class with Registered Mail (package insurance) to Australia will now cost me, and the buyer, $22.40. Last year, this package of the same weight/mail options would have cost me under $17.  You may say that I am making a huge deal out of the $5 difference, but when compared to the price of EmeraldCut shop items--which I strive to keep affordable--paying over $20 for shipping is excessive, to say the least. 

This issue leaves me in a conundrum, a moral dilemma of sorts?  Should I charge my buyers the new shipping prices, or should I keep with my old ones and swallow my tears when I have to fork out an extra $4-$7 to ship international orders?  (FYI: The January price hikes affect all international pricing--even Non-Registered, plain old First-Class Mail packages to Australia have gone up $4.)  Not every shop on Etsy can afford this, nor can all buyers.  Realistically speaking, people may even think twice about purchasing from non-domestic shops in order to avoid the price hike.  

Call me an alarmist, if you will, but I did not buy into this plan when I opened my shop in fall 2010.  Then I remind myself: life can be unfair at times, but at least I have my wit and humor intact--vital attributes in order to the brave the variable storm.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Agreed. I believe the law was passed in 2006 that the post office had to make sure their pensions were funded for 75 years among other things. Off the top of my head. Same circumstances as we're seeing with individual U.S. states. It's mind boggling.