Friday, May 16, 2008

Postal Rates Interface Overkill

I read that the price of stamps (here in the US) went up again. I still remember 22 cent stamps, in front of me I have some (somewhat obsolete) 41 cent stamps (yes it's now 42 cents).

But I didn't know what the new rate was, and I just bought some stamps recently (no, I don't remember how recently, but I've only used four out of twenty, it was recent). Were my stamps still good? The US Postal Service website would tell me! No, it wouldn't, not easily.

The home page says there are new prices, but not what they are.

The next page does actually say it's $0.42, but it is so small and hidden in with a lot of other data in a table, and who knows what mail service is called? (What is the difference between "express" and "priority"? One is fast, one is important? Isn't "first class" the best you can get on an airplane?)

So I did the rate calculator, which is fine if you know the weight of your package. (What is an ounce? Why don't we use metric for things besides large soda bottles?) Eventually I got to 42 cents, but it was a horrible experience.