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Thursday, February 25th, 2016

I’d better put it in Spanish too: Como enviar una carta desde España a Suecia usando sellos “Tarifa A”.
Spanish “Tarifa A” stamps don’t have a printed value. Instead their value is whatever the cost is to send a normal 20g letter within the Iberian peninsula. So in order to send a letter, one has to perform a three-step process at

  • Click “Enviar Documentos” and then “Calculador de tarifas” and select “Enviar Documentos”.  In the form that loads,
    • select “Carta y tarjeta postal internacional”, enter the weight (10g in my case),
    • do NOT tick “Normalizado” after doing some math: a C5 envelope is made for an A4 sheet (which I happen to know is 210×297 mm) folded in half, which should give 210×149, which does not fit in either “14×9 cm. y 23,5×12 cm”
    • select Destino: Suecia
    • wonder why there are two places where you pick origin, and leave both on “Península y Baleares”
    • click “Obtenga su tarifa”
    • write down “1,55″ somewhere and assume that it is Euros.
  • Enter “cuanto vale un sello tarifa A” in the search box.  This gives the helpful answer “El valor de un sello con la tarifa A, es el de la tarifa de una carta con origen y destino dentro de España, cuyo peso sea igual o inferior a 20 gramos de peso y sus dimensiones sean normalizadas”.
  • Find your way back to the calculator, and this time pick
    • Carta y tarjeta postal nacional
    • 20 g
    • “Normalizado”
    • Click, tadaa: 0,45.

Now we have all the data and all that is left is the calculation: 1,55/0,45 = 3,444444444, so no less than 4 stamps.  OK.

Redoing the calculation for a “normal” (C65?) envelope gives a price of 1.15 which is 2,555555556 stamps.

Update 2016-03-11: Finding the value of an A2 stamp is nigh impossible, but my best guess is that it’s worth 0,57€.  The guess is based on an article published by Correos Gallego.

Category: Life outside work, User experience  | Comments off
Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

I can’t pass up an opportunity like this, it’s just too bad.  I just got an SMS from FedEx.  The message says that they have a parcel for me and that I should call for delivery.  The message starts with something I can only assume is a parcel number, or whatever they prefer to call it, consisting of three letters and twelve digits.  Here’s what happens:

  1. I press the phone number in the message and my phone dials it.  The machine in the other end asks me to pick a language.  I pick the first one, which is Swedish.  TMITOE says that the office is closed, and that I can press 1 to arrange a pick-up or get tracking information.  No other alternatives, no opening hours, the message just repeats.  #FAIL
  2. I enter in my web browser.  I get a big honking box with the word “Flash” in it (I run ClickToFlash).  There is nothing to interact with outside the flash box.  #FAIL
  3. I go to which redirects to  The menus read (in translation) Send, Track, Account Mgt, Customs Tools.  I suppose that Track is the option that is least remotely connected to Deliver, which is what I want them to do.  I pull down the menu only to discover that there are two tracking options: Track with tracking number, and Track with reference number.  What’s the difference?  What do I have?  I pick the first one and enter the long string of letters and numbers from the SMS and press “Track”.  The site tells me the number is invalid and tells me to check it (it is exactly as in the SMS).  No clues are provided. #FAIL
  4. I pick the second option, Track with reference number.  I enter the same number (copy, paste) and my country and postal code.  No hits.  #FAIL
  5. I redial the number in the SMS but this time I pick English.  TMITOE tells me that the office is closed, and that the opening hours are 8 am to 7 pm.  It’s 6.30 pm.  #FAIL
  6. On a whim I go back to the web site and enter just the digits from the tracking number. Ta-daa!  Detailed information about my parcel, which apparently is in Paris.  There is a form that I can use to add email addresses.  One is labeled “From”, one “To” and there are three more without labels.  Reading the help texts (by hovering over little question marks) I get the impression that I can register email addresses to get automatic delivery notification, or an email if something gets stuck in customs.  There is nothing to even hint that I should get in touch with them about my delivery.  #FAIL
  7. I call back to TMITOE and press 1 for Swedish, 1 (the only option) for pickup-or-tracking, and 2 to “display (!) tracking information”.  I enter the tracking number.  TMITOE thinks a bit and then tells me that the parcel has been picked up by a courier, and to press if I want more information.  There’s no typo there; it didn’t tell me what to press, just to press.  #FAIL
  8. I redial and redo it in English.  ”The package has been picked up by a courier.”  Oh, press *0 for assistance!  All their lines are busy.  I wait.  I wonder if I keep my position in the queue.  I wonder how many clerks are working hard to get down to my call.  Actually, I don’t need to know the exact number, I’d just like to know that there will be someone there eventually, especially considering that their office might be closed.  After just six minutes, I get a ring tone.  And then I’m disconnected. #FAIL
  9. I’m going to use the form for registering email addresses and see if I can get a message through.  I’ll send them a link to this note.  I’ll keep you posted. #JURYSTILLOUT
Category: Life outside work, User experience  | Tags: , ,  | 2 Comments