A flat 9×12 white-plastic envelope sat on my desk for a while this week: I assumed it was one of my magazines that comes packaged that way. Meanwhile, from time to time, I wondered where my latest yarn shipment was. I got the shipment notice about 10 days ago, and it was only coming from St. John’s. Odd.
Today I picked up said envelope and was surprised at its heft and hardness: This was no floppy magazine. Odd again. I struggled a bit to extricate an inner sleeve of plastic, to be greeted by my yarn. Sort of. It looked–I dunno–odd.
The oddness was more evident from the side.
The shipper had used one of those suck-the-air-out machines (I believe the proper name is “vacuum sealer”) to make this parcel of three skeins of yarn thin enough to fit through that little slot that Canada Post uses to sort the sheep from the goats. The letters from the parcels. The cheap-to-mail from the costly.
As I made my way into the sealed pouch, the skeins started to reinflate. Here they are, back to almost full size and very happy indeed to be able to stretch their, um, legs. To breathe freely. (Since this shot was taken, they’ve plumped up nicely: No harm done. You’d never know they were less than an inch thick just a few hours before.)
Quite reasonably, post offices and other shippers charge both by parcel weight and by dimensions. As a result, there are two strategies to control shipping costs:
- Minimize the weight, which usually means using lighter packing materials: hence the plastic envelopes, lighter than paper for the equivalent (or better) toughness, with waterproof-ness included whether you want it or not, and after someone thinks of it, how could you not want it?
- Minimize the dimensions, which means cleverly aligning things that don’t squish, and removing air from things that do: clothing, blankets, quilts, pillows, mattresses (!), and yarn.
I never thought about the air that’s part-&-parcel of the parcels of yarn I receive: air that I’m paying to ship. I’ll never not think about it again.