The Royal Mail seems to have been taken over by aliens from the planet Confusion. They’re taking a bold step forward in an effort to totally bewilder the British public and indeed British businesses. Up till now, sending things by post in the UK has been simple. All you needed to know was how heavy the thing you were sending happened to be. You also had to choose whether you wanted to send it First Class (generally reliable, but not guaranteed next day delivery), Second Class (quite a bit cheaper, might take a few days) or by an insured or guaranteed delivery service. Not too hard. Companies that send a lot of post have franking machines that weigh letters, work out the correct postage and print it on the envelope all in one operation, which saves a lot of time.
But from August 21, all this changes. From then on, instead of just weighing your item, you’ll have to measure it too. They say, reasonably enough, that large items cost them more to handle than smaller ones. So there are now three size ranges, each with its own postal rates.
- There’s “Letter”, which is normal letters, greeting cards and the like, so long as they’re not too big and not over 5mm thick. Yes, you have to check the thickness. Oh, and not over 100g in weight.
- Then there’s “Large Letter”, which is fine for magazines and bigger items. So long as they’re not over 25mm thick. Or over 750g in weight.
- Anything over that is a “Packet”.
And a packet, coincidentally, is what this is likely to cost. There is a small benefit in that the maximum weight for a letter with a standard stamp is increased from 60g to 100g. So if you’re sending very heavy thin paper, you’ll be fine. But things like CDs and DVDs, which don’t weigh much, and so were pretty cheap to post will now be “Large Letter” size, and will cost more.
And businesses will have to spend more time (and that really does mean money) sending their post.
They’ve sent this handy size chart to every house (and presumably there’s a business version too) in the country, which must have cost a bit. But at least they aren’t doing the usual evil corporate thing of trying to tell us this is for our benefit.
But all of this, irritating as it is, pales into insignificance compared to this statement in the small print on the back of the leaflet:
Royal Mail, the Cruciform and the colour red are registered trade marks of Royal Mail Group plc
Got that? The colour red is a trade mark. Not a particular shade of red (Pantone 9039343xfd333 or whatever), but the whole colour.
OK, presumably they mean “red used by people offering mail delivery services” or something, but that’s not what it says. I can just see postal lawyers attacking London buses over this…
 Their logo, which I won’t show here in case they send the lawyers to see me