Posts tagged with "paperclip" - Faerye Net 2009-02-23T18:55:41+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Postal Predicament 2009-02-23T18:55:41+00:00 2009-02-23T18:56:06+00:00 <p>So I took a walk in the rain today down to my local post office. As I&#8217;ve mentioned, <a href="" target="links">I am fond of the postal service</a>. I like ink, paper, pens, letters, stamps and post. I also like my local post office. Today I hied me hither because I was walking that way anyway, and because it might give my short story submission a few hours&#8217; jump over home pickup. My carefully paper-clipped story, my <span class="caps">SASE</span>, and my signed cover letter were tucked into the traditional manila envelope, laid on my dear little home postal scale, and affixed with no fewer than five stamps (like <a href="" target="links">my colleague Tina</a> I like messing with the stamps) in order to reach the exact postage for a &#8216;flat&#8217; (big envelope.)</p> <p>Today, however, escorting my carefully addressed short fiction submission to the &#8216;stamped mail&#8217; slot, I noticed a sign that said <em>Bring packets and parcels to the main desk.</em> The item in my hand resembled a &#8216;packet&#8217;, so I strolled over to the desk and approached the postal employee &#8212; not the one with whom I usually chat. &#8220;Am I not allowed to put this in the slot?&#8221; quoth I. The lady took the envelope full of hopes and dreams and slapped it on the scale. &#8220;I already weighed it&#8230;&#8221; I protested. She pinched my hopes and dreams appraisingly, then looked at me over her glasses.</p> <p>&#8220;Does this have anything rigid?&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;No. Just a paperclip.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;That&#8217;s rigid!&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;What?&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;That&#8217;s rigid. It&#8217;s like a key.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;But&#8230;every short fiction writer in the world is probably in trouble,&#8221; I babbled. &#8220;Editors don&#8217;t like staples. Are staples okay?&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;Staples are fine. It&#8217;ll be 34 cents more.&#8221;</p> <p>I nodded and managed to buy the stamps I needed before wandering away, feeling (and doubtless looking) poleaxed. If this is true, it means almost <em>every postal submission I&#8217;ve ever sent out</em> has been underposted. I imagined that every sub had arrived solely by dint of luck. I imagined my pristine manila envelopes arriving in New York stamped with an angry and inconsiderate &#8220;<span class="caps">POSTAGE</span> <span class="caps">DUE</span>&#8221;! I shuddered. And <a href="" target="links">tweeted</a>.</p> <p>Then I rebelled. Seriously, if my postal submissions are underpaid, but no one notices and they&#8217;re getting there just fine, are the clips really a problem? Wouldn&#8217;t the editors have objected if they were paying 34 cents a pop for the privilege of turning me down? So here I sit, bending one of my largest paper clips easily to and fro between my thumbs. It is nothing like a key. The <span class="caps">USPS</span> <a href="" target="links">website</a> prohibits items in flats that do &#8220;not bend easily&#8221; or &quot; cause more than 1/4 inch variation in thickness&quot; &#8212; to my eye, this clip is fine.</p> <p>What do you think, fellow writers? Are you willing to pony up an extra buck every three submissions on this nebulous pretext? Do you think my post office is being overly rigid? Anyone know an editor who takes paper submissions well enough to ask whether they get &#8220;postage due&#8221; often?</p>