Mailouts suck

13 11 2008
Pre-Internet SMTP Server

Pre-Internet SMTP Server

There is no process to the mailing system that makes any sense in today’s world.

Okay, before I make such a bold statement, perhaps I should backtrack a little.

We recently sent out our 2008 Season Ticket Holder Surveys.  This survey asks questions about a whole host of topics but are generally focused on the match experience and ways that we can improve.  Thanks to the glory that is the internet, we sent the majority of them virtually.  A nice company called Zoomerang aids us in developing, administering and analyzing the survey.  Another nice company called Marqui manages our data and email communications.  Set it and forget it.  Return later to send out a reminder email or to analyze the results thus far.

Surveys are always tedious chores, because the scrutiny you have to put on every question and answer is so high.  Still, web tools make this process at least a little more palatable.

Unfortunately, not all of our season ticket holders are web-savvy.  There is a percentage of them that either do not have emails or do not use them, and thus all communication of this sort has to be conducted via lovely old snail mail.

Now don’t get me wrong – I am very, very, very grateful for their patronage.  My slight digs at the e-challenged come only in jest.  We have season ticket holders that have held season tickets longer than I have been on this planet and our STH’s have been through some tough times.  So I applaud their patronage and I am honoured to serve their fandom.  But all it takes is a day spent creating a snailing (note: I’m merging snail and mail because even ‘snail mail’ is too long) to realize just how laborious the task is and how lucky we’ve got it these days.

My first step was to reacquaint myself with the label printing process.  Seemed simple enough – I had a spreadsheet of addresses and I needed to print them onto labels.  Of course, the last time I executed such a function, I was probably using Windows 98, so things were a little foreign to me.  A half-hour later and with my trusty coworker Amander giving me ahander, I finally had it figured out.

Next came the printing of the survey onto letterhead.  This of course took several tries until I had the top margin low enough to fit our big logo on the letterhead.  It took several more tries when I had to figure out which direction the letterhead needed to be loaded into the printer.

With all of the materials printed and ready to go, I figured I was in the clear.  Only the assemblage to do.  But I can tell you that stuffing and licking is hardly ‘in the clear’.  Midway through I got an ache in my shoulder that could only be described as the distant relative to carpal tunnel syndrome.  Seeling envelopes is never as easy as it sounds, because inevitably you will get some envelopes too wet or not enough.

Pre-Internet POP3 Server

Pre-Internet POP3 Server

A little after noon (I started at 4pm the day before and was at the office until 7pm), the envelopes were ready for mailing.  There were still stamps to be placed, but I hoped the post office had a machine or something that would automatically stamp them.

Turns out they did not.  The clerk – a guy who a moment earlier yelled at a young foreigner for taking pictures inside the post office – proceded to hand me a roll of stamps and gestured to a counter.  So, I went back through the envelopes and affixed a stamp to each one.

So for my younger readers, I will summarize:  You have to create the labels, print the letter, stuff the envelopes, seal the envelopes, affix postage and take to a post office or else wander the city in search of a big red square thing that people put letters into.  Throughout this step, multiple mishaps will show up to impede your progress: merging issues, upside down letterhead, paper jams, no ink, paper cuts and wrong postage – to name a few.

By 1:40pm, I was finally finished and I didn’t have to think about a mailing again.  Before returning to work, I stopped at a cafe for some lunch and let my brain slowly un-mush.

Probably similar to what you will need to do after reading about some guy blogging about the mailing process.




2 responses

17 11 2008
Sarah Vilay

this blog post made me smile and think about you trying to figure out this labeling process. (= your entire blog post could have been just the 3rd last paragraph. Way to giv’r Mckeeder & Amander. haha.

Ps. Did you go to the post office in the bay like before? They invoice for postage metering…Remember when I had to do this with the Galaxy??? Much simpler….

17 11 2008

I know! That post office in The Bay closed down, which I failed to mention. So I carried this big box of envelopes to the bay and then had to carry it to the main post office. Argh.

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