Have you been to g-street, yet , mimiw?
I got two mediums finished yesterday, and munged a third medium. That was the last chance for a certain product that I have had issues with before, now I am going to go and get one that I know works
I know there was a discussion of shipping a little while ago, so I will share the rules of shipping that I've learned from being in STS for twenty rounds (and hundreds of packages).
Within the US:
First choice: first class. This is anything up to 13 oz. To qualify for a DCN, the package has to be fat enough. If your package is thin like a letter, stick a styrofoam popcorn in it to make it fat but not heavy. Sending coast to coast can be super fast, like overnight; shipping to the middle of the country takes up to a week.
If your package is just a little over 13 oz, go with priority. For things around the 1-lb mark, priority is nearly the same cost as parcel post and much faster. Do not use the flat rate boxes unless your item is heavy, it is cheaper to send lighter packages priority in a non flat rate box.
For really heavy things, it is parcel post unless you can fit it into the flat rate box. Parcel post takes 1-2 weeks, and sometimes usps runs over it with a truck, especially if it is marked "fragile".
From the US to other countries:
Try as much as possible to keep your package under 4 lbs. For the majority of countries, 4 lb is the cutoff between first class international (formerly known as airmail) and priority international. Check the usps.gov "country conditions for mailing" page for the destination country to find charts of shipping rates (here is the example for canada: http://pe.usps.gov/text/imm/ce_003.htm
). The guy at my local post office says that usps contracts out the first class international stuff to some private carrier, so sometimes the shipping is faster to go first class than priority.
The priority flat rate int'l boxes are generally a bad deal unless you are sending something small and heavy; the flat rate envelope can sometimes be a good deal to certain countries if you can manage to squish your items in there. If you are sending first class or the flat rate priority envelope, you can use the short green customs form; for all other priority int'l packages, you need the long carbon copy form with the plastic baggie. Get these forms ahead of time and fill them out, this will make your postal worker at the desk very happy. If you have a scale and can write in the weights at home, they will be thrilled.