Save Money by Shipping with Paypal

I’ve had to send a few packages over the last week or two, and I was looking for the cheapest way to ship them. Now that we’re in the holiday season, my gut told me some of you might be in the same boat, so I thought a post on the subject might be helpful to some of you.

My specific goal was sending Magic: The Gathering cards across the country. Since I was selling a large quantity of these cards, I wanted to save as much money on shipping as I could. More money saved there meant more profit for me. Time wasn’t an issue. I didn’t need the cards to get to their destination the next day or anything like that.

Do Magic cards count as Media Mail? If so, then I’d be in luck. But Media Mail is very specific. Books (at least 8 pages), CDs, DVDs, manuscripts, printed music, and the like. No advertising. No comic books (they don’t count, randomly). No letters. No board games. Magic cards don’t count, sadly.

They’re also quite heavy. 1.75 grams per card, give or take. Which doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up quickly. The best vehicle I found for shipping a large number was the flat rate boxes with the USPS. I can fit 7,000 cards into a large one of those, and that weighs over 26 pounds. Cost? $13.65 at the post office. Not ideal, but honestly better than anything else I found.

Except you can save even more by shipping it at a commercial rate. (It lops off 80 cents, or 5.86%, bringing it down to $12.85.) You can do this by shipping it with PayPal. Except PayPal makes it obnoxiously difficult to find out exactly how to do that.

No worries, friends. Just click this link to be taken straight to the spot on PayPal’s site. You log in with your PayPal account, select the shipping address, and then select what kind of shipping you’re going to use. You pay online with whatever method you use to pay PayPal, and then you print off the postage. Tape it to the package, and drop it off at your local post office.

It seemed complicated to me the first time I did it, but now that I’ve done it a few times, it’s much more straightforward. The pain point is just remembering how to get to that PayPal page. I’ve got it bookmarked now, though, so I just pull it up automatically.

You can ship all sorts of things via that link. Media Mail. First class parcel. Anything you ship in a box, I think. I highly recommend it, especially since this way, I can just go to the post office knowing all I need to do is drop something off. (I stress about silly things sometimes. Go figure.) And have I mentioned I’ve now shipped over 17,000 Magic cards off? The bulk of them are cards I bought for 1 tenth of a cent per card, and I’m selling them (after paying for shipping) for 3.55 tenths of a cent per card. That might not sound like much to you, so how about I just say I’m selling them for 3.5 times what I bought them for. That sounds much better, right? And that’s after I took a ton of them out that were worth much more. If I’d just sold them all at this rate, I would have made $255 off a $100 investment.

(Just don’t pay any attention to how much time it’s taken me . . .)

Anyway. Maybe that helps some of you. Happy shipping!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Movie Review: The Christmas Chronicles

I saw the ads for The Christmas Chronicles pop up in Netflix, and I first dismissed it. Netflix comes out with a lot of different content these days, not all of it of the best quality. A made-for-Netflix movie about Santa Claus seemed like a stretch. I pictured a low budget, bad acting, and a worse story. Yet as I surfed the interwebs, I came across some chatter from folks saying the  movie was actually not just decent, but good.

In the end, it’s just around an hour and a half of my time to check it out. I persuaded the fam we should give it a shot, and we watched it the day after Thanksgiving. It stars Kurt Russell as Santa. How bad could it be?

I think one of the tricks with a movie like this is you’re not quite sure how to approach it when you watch it. It hasn’t had much of a marketing campaign outside of Netflix, so there’s just not that much to go on. In the end, it turns into more of an impulse watch than anything else, which provides a unique opportunity for the film to establish its own rules and expectations as it goes along.

But you’re reading a review of the film, so I can set you up a little better than I was. To really enjoy this movie (and let me say that I actually really enjoyed it when I watched it), I think it helps to understand the rules it’s following. First off, it knows it’s kind of campy. The dialogue, the acting, the plot itself doesn’t really take itself too seriously, and you shouldn’t either. It realizes it’s a Netflix movie, and it plays that up in some ways. But at the same time, it also plays it very straight, if that makes sense.

Kurt Russell really throws himself into the role of Santa. He plays it up and has a blast on screen, which is infectious. So he’s taking the part for what it is, even as the movie itself is admitting it’s still just a Netflix movie. And yet they also clearly spent a whole bunch of money on the special effects for the film. Some of them are random, but they’re all very well done. It’s fun to watch a movie that takes the Santa mythos seriously (more or less) and uses lots of money to splash that on the screen.

In the end, I gave this movie a 7/10, which is at least two points higher than I thought it had a chance of getting when I first heard of it. It was a fun movie I could watch with all my kids. We laughed. We rolled our eyes, and we had a good time. Actually decent Christmas movies don’t come out on a regular basis. I could see watching this one again next year, and I suspect it might even play better the second time around.

If you’re looking for some holiday fun, give this movie a whirl.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Heavy Meta #18: Lori Soucie and “How to Decide What You Want To Be”

In this episode, Kelly and I sit down with Lori Soucie, who works with students with undeclared majors at the Center for Student Development. We talk about her work, “how did you decide what to be,” and pretty much everything in between. It was a great conversation, and I hope you give it a listen. All of us (hopefully) sooner or later end up in a career we’re happy with, but sometimes the path to that career can be rockier. How can you smooth it out? What are ways of approaching things differently if you just can’t seem to find something that fits?

Lori does a fantastic job helping students navigate this. Give the whole Center for Student Development a looksie. They’re great people doing great things for our students here at UMF.

Right click to download audio file.

Broadway Review: Come From Away

This year’s annual pilgrimage to New York City was another resounding success. It’s been interesting to keep going back to New York as I notch other cities across the world into my belt. Growing up, NYC was really the only city I knew well at all, and so it’s always been “the city” to me. It’s the place I compare all other cities to.

Denisa was commenting as we were walking through the city (with it’s . . . “unique” smells and sounds) that she’s not a big fan of Manhattan. It made me realize that somehow, I really am. Don’t get me wrong: I wouldn’t want to live there, and it’s surprising to think (since I generally don’t like interacting with strangers), but I somehow really love the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. So much energy and action. New Orleans, Paris, London, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, DC, Salt Lake, Prague, Vienna, and the rest are all wonderful in their own way, but New York remains “the City” for me, stinky smells and all.

In any case, this time we walked over to the Hudson and back, exploring some areas I haven’t been in a while. All in all, we walked around 8 miles, which was a bit longer than I was planning on, but there you go.

We met up with my illustrious agents, who took us out to dinner at Tony’s Di Napoli, which had delicious Italian food. It’s served family style, so you get one entree, and it’s big enough for 2-3 hungry adults. Tasty stuff.

Afterward, we hurried over to our show of the year, which was Come from Away, on recommendation from Joshua. It tells the story of the real life event in Newfoundland, where scores of planes were grounded on 9/11 as the world tried to figure out what was going on. A town of 9,000 people ended up with 7,000 visitors from across the globe for 4 days. The musical goes into the logistics and the social interactions. It’s got fantastic music and a moving story, and Denisa and I both loved it. Very worth your while if you have a chance to see it in person at some point. 9/10, with an extra boost for having just a tremendous live performance. It was one of the best crowds I ever remember seeing a show with. “Electric” doesn’t do it justice.

Here’s a performance from the Tonys. Most of the cast is still the same as this performance, which was a nice surprise, this far into the show’s run:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Are Bathroom Faucets Supposed to Have Icicles?

Before I get the responses, please note that yes, I do realize bathroom faucets should not have icicles. I’m not *quite* that dense. However, this didn’t stop me from having a bathroom freeze so solid, it took hours to get it to thaw.

Allow me to provide a little context.

When I left for Thanksgiving, I debated draining the water to my new bathroom. This was still November, after all. Even if it got below freezing outside now and then, surely inside my house it wouldn’t get that bad. Not in an insulated place, even if the heat was off, right?

Still, I ended up deciding it would be best to drain the pipes just in case. But I really just went through the motions. Turned off the water in a couple spots, drained a couple others. I saw water come out when I drained them, so I didn’t think too much more of it.

While we were away, the windchill at home got to around 10 below Fahrenheit. The temperature itself was about 4 degrees. Our friends keeping an eye on the house texted to note the bathroom had icicles hanging from the faucet and asking if they should do anything about it. Speaking from experience now, that’s a bad feeling to have when you’re 500 miles away. In the end, I told them not to do anything, mainly because if they turned on the heat and there was some sort of a leak going on, I wanted someone there who knew the house well enough to easily turn things off.

When we got home yesterday afternoon, I set about looking into the problem. The good news is that (from the research I did), pipes typically burst when they’re under pressure. As long as there’s space for the water to expand, then it expands, but if there’s a bunch of water pressure pushing it one way, and no space for it to expand, then it bursts the pipes. By draining the pipes as much as I had, I’d given it the space it needed. Good thing, too, since it took hours for the bathroom to thaw. The toilet water (what was left in it after draining) was frozen solid. There was a little stalagtite of water in the shower underneath the shower head. The pipes themselves were frozen through and through.

The water all came back eventually, and I see no drips or water leaking from anywhere so (knock on wood) hopefully we avoided a catastrophe. Next time I’ll be more diligent in my draining. Go figure.

In the mean time, it’s a bit chilly up here. Another foot of snow is forecast for tonight. Thank goodness summer is over.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

%d bloggers like this: