Each year, and occasionally more than once a year, the US Postal Service raises their rates. Sometimes it is very minor, and sometimes it is a larger increase. We were notified this past week of the latest postal rate increase, and we wanted to pass along to you, our valued customers, our new shipping rates. To ease the strain, we are going to offer FREE US shipping over $35 from now until Monday Morning January 18th, 2016.
Here’s a rundown on the new rates and some other aspects of how we ship.
Domestic Shipping (within the US and US Territories)
For small items such as Esterbrook nibs, calligraphy nibs, and some repair items like sacs, we offer 1st class shipping. Effective Monday January 18, our rate for that will increase from $2.50 to $2.75.
We use a combination of options from the USPS – boxes inside flat rate envelopes for the cheapest priority rate, and regional size boxes, again, to get the best rate while using the sturdiest boxes possible to ensure that your orders arrive safely. We have seen the damage that some boxes have endured, and we strive to package your orders as safely as possible. Liquid items are packed in ziplock baggies and then bubble-wrapped, to make sure that in the unlikely event of a leak, nothing else in the box is damaged.
We also pride ourselves on trying to ship in an eco-friendly manner whenever possible. We have partnered with a couple of local companies who receive many shipments, but who do not ship out items to customers. They donate their clean unused peanuts and occasionally bubblewrap to us to reuse, and we also reuse packing materials from vendor shipments that arrive to us. When we do actually purchase packing materials, we use bio-degradable materials, to keep as much out of the landfills as possible.
Priority Mail shipping fees will increase only slightly here at Anderson Pens. Flat rate envelopes, the bulk of our shipments, will increase from $5 to $6. Medium flat rate boxes will increase from $10 to $11. Larger size boxes, such as the large flat rate, and the larger regional B & C boxes will all remain the same, with no increase. We will always err on the larger size box when shipping out your orders. We would rather use a larger box and absorb the excess cost, then risk shipping your package in a box that is too small for the safety of your items, especially bottles of ink.
We do occasionally offer free shipping – as a special thank you to our customers. Many companies offer this regularly, such as Amazon, but the quality of their packing leaves a lot to be desired. Many other companies do not offer free shipping at all, for reasons of their own. We offer free shipping periodically simply to say thank you to our loyal customers. When we offer free shipping, you lose nothing in quality from us. We take the same amount of time and care in boxing up your order, use the same boxes, use the same Priority Mail service (not a cheaper, longer shipping option), still write a note on your package, and we still include little extras and inserts. Prices remain the same on our pens, ink, stationery and accessories, and we do not try to make it up in other areas. It’s simply a periodic gift from us to you.
UPS and Fedex
We currently do not offer UPS and Fedex shipping options, although we have looked into it. The USPS rates are almost always better, especially based on our volume, which allows us to pass on the savings to you. We do have the ability to ship via UPS and Fedex in special circumstances, so if you have a question, please contact us to discuss a specific order and we can give you a quote.
Sadly, international shipping is more expensive and more complicated, sinces all of the international shipping rates are based on the weight of the order, and the country that it is being shipped to, and sometimes the value of the items being shipped to you.
First-Class International is the cheapest option, and only for lightweight orders under 1 pound. It takes the longest amount of time, and there is generally NO tracking once the package leaves the US. It could take up to 6-8 weeks or even longer for your order to arrive, but is the cheapest option for international shipping at this time.
Priority International is a second option. There is limited tracking depending on your country, and it usually takes a few weeks.
Express International is the fastest and most reliable option, with full tracking. Most orders arrive within a few days to 2 weeks, depending on how long the customs processing takes. It is also of course, the most expensive option.
All customs duties, fees and taxes are the responsibility of the customer, and we have no control over that. There will be a small increase in international shipping fees effective January 18, but as we always have done, we will keep the increase to a bare minimum.
We never charge excess shipping or “handling” fees, and if we have charged you for shipping, and can ship your package in a smaller or cheaper box while maintaining the safety and integrity of your order, we always refund excess shipping fees. Our store is open 6 days a week, and we ship out packages Monday through Saturday. Yes, 6 days a week. Because we have a business storefront, we even have a scheduled pickup on many holidays. The post office may be closed to the public on certain days, or there is no residential mail delivery, but the post office does still move mail, and we do have a mail pickup, which enables us to process your order and send it off to you faster.
We also have an option for In Store pickup for those of you who live nearby or who travel to see us. You can place your order online, and we will have it ready for you to pick up when you arrive. We do the same thing for US Pen Shows that we attend – place your order online and just pick it up at the show, bagged up and ready to go. That way you know for sure that something will not be sold out before you arrive, or you can order things to be delivered to a show that we do not normally bring to sell. This saves you time and money – who doesn’t love that??
We know that you have options when it comes to where to buy your writing instruments and accessories. We strive to offer fair prices on our items, and fair shipping rates. We offer almost 40 years of combined experience with vintage and modern pens and ink and accessories, and we strive to be accessible to our customers, if you have a question or concern. We are proud to be a smaller but growing company, and we feel that many of our customers appreciate the personalized service that you receive, as well as the personal relationships that we have with so many of you.
While we wish that the postal rate increases could be eliminated, rest assured that we raise our rates accordingly only when necessary. Generally each year, we pay the USPS several thousand dollars more than we charge for shipping, without any loss of quality of packing or speed of shipping. We know that you want your packages as soon as possible, and we do everything we can to make sure that your order arrives safely, quickly, economically and eco-consciously.
Ink it up!
Brian & Lisa