Oh, my. After spending about eight hours over the last two days procuring boxes, tape, bubble wrap, etc to ship out all of the games that were picked up in the JVMF auction, I am *finally* at the point where I've gotten shipping quotes from UPS and USPS. Surprisingly, UPS cost slightly more and took slightly longer for all domestic packages, and was astronomical for international. At one point I just stopped trying to enter the data into the incredibly fussy web page for international destinations.
I'm being very careful to pack every game so that it will stand the best chance of arrival in one piece, which for me means a) the games are all wrapped in bubblewrap, and b) that the box is full so that items won't shift around. Since some boxes are significantly larger than the games by some measure, I was worried that I'd be spending too much on packing peanuts (I'm already at nearly $100 for boxes, bubble, peanuts), and then I got this really great idea.
I have a bunch of expansions for games that I try to consolidate and so have a ton of empty boxes sitting in my closet. I have put those boxes to good use by using them to fill up the shipping packages. The smaller ones (like the small Arkham Horror expansions) are great on the sides, and the larger square ones (like for Dominion expansions) are great on the top. I think the weight is comparable to peanuts, as the boxes are empty, and won't the people getting their games be surprised to find empty game boxes! Ha ha!
I'm also learning that international shipping is a bitch. A cold, heartless, expensive as hell bitch. UPS, assuming I was doing things correctly, was asking around 4x what the USPS was, although for much quicker delivery. Even so, a 7.5 pound box of games measuring 15"x12"x10" will cost over $60 to send to Australia. I know it's a long ways away, and I know fuel is ridiculous, but... Wow. I've asked the four international recipients to go ahead and figure out how they want their packages shipped as I just haven't done this much. I'm also learning that there will be customs forms to fill out with valuations of the games. Whee. And here I was seriously considering moving to Canada in 2004 when Bush was reelected. That would have been a seriously expensive trip.
I figure I've still got about another six hours to go to get all of these games out of the door, including back and forths with the recipients, addressing the packages, but I don't have an accurate scale (I'm standing on the bathroom scale with the box and subtracting my weight, but the scale is only accurate to 0.5 lbs, assuming it's accurate in the first place), so I'll still need to stand in line and I'll probably need to make three trips. Happily, the UPS store also does USPS, and will compare prices so just in case I'm a little off I will have some choices.
Of course, all of this is for a good cause, and of course I'm happy to get the games out of the house, in addition to raising the money, but doing this many games at once is no fun and I will need to take a more proactive approach to purging in the future. This last purge was, by necessity, rather large in scale, and while I was able to get about a quarter of the games out the door without any shipping at all (and thanks to Roger M for being willing to pick them up from me directly), it's a lot of games. A *lot* of games.
So now I just stop buying them, I guess.