Why is Gen Con charging $10 to ship an first class envelope through the mail, when postage for a 3 ounce envelope is 88 cents and postage for up to a 13 ounce flat package is $3.50?
Signature confirmation adds $2.45 to this.
Even the much reviled Ticketmaster doesn't charge $10 for mailing you tickets via USPS.
I get that Gen Con has to make money - and I'm happy to pay - but what is behind this unreasonable markup (200-300%)?
Does charging this fee here avoid some taxes or something?
I'd gladly buy a $1 badge with $89 shipping if it would help you out just trying to understand...
I think it might have to do with them paying the people who do it. I mean if you have say 10,000 people who want their badge/tickets shipped. They have to have people separate all the tickets and badges etc and put them in the envelope etc. That costs money.
I don't know, but you pick it up at will call for $0. That's what I've done for every one of my 16 years attending.
Could be their way of trying to discourage people from having it mailed to them. I'm sure it causes issues for Gencon trying to get everyone's badges and tickets printed, packaged, sorted and mailed ahead of the con.
It could also be a left-over from the days when they use to mail you - your program book ahead of the con.
So - maybe labor is costing them as much as 50 cents per item.
This makes sense - as you pointed out they probably have to mail 20,000+ items. If it took them even 10 minutes to mail something they'd need scores of staff members working round the clock just to get this stuff in the mail.
They are mailing you your tickets, badges and lanyards. They're sending them Priority Mail. Priority Mail shipping supplies are free, but they are paying for the labels and the personnel to check, sort and stuff the envelopes.
Personally, $10 is the least of my GenCon worries. :) Additionally, we pay that $10 amount for delivery of 2 sets of tix and badges to have the peace of mind of having the stuff in our hands prior to con arrival so that we can check it and recheck it in a leisurely manner. That last part might just be my OCD coming out.
From the USPS website, flat-rate USPS Priority shipping is $5.95 (commercial accounts) with Delivery Confirmation costing an additional $2.45 when paid online. $8.40 total with $1.60 mark up? That's not an unreasonable mark up, IMHO.
They're likely getting some sort of discount for bulk commercial mailing, but I cannot imagine they're making a boatload on postage.
it's worth it to avoid that line
Additionally, you're getting tracking with the priority mail service. I think that and the delivery confirmation are the main reasons they send them this way.
I questioned it too but then I did a search on Gencon Will Call and noticed people talking about a 45 minute line at Will Call last year. Was worth $10 to avoid it.
Huh. I was not really thinking in terms of avoiding the will call lines when I added shipping. I was trying to satisfy my inner Gollum by getting the badge early and having some alone time with it, stroking and cuddling it while whispering "My Precious...".
Just in case people might not know, Will Call opens up on Wednesday and doesn't close until I guess Sunday. So while there can be a 30-45 minute wait at peak times (trust me, it used to be WAY worse), there are times when you can just walk up and grab everything. It's all in how you plan it out.
In the past, USPS shipping was a cheaper option (possibly free, my memory is failing me) and there was also a UPS/FedEx option (don't remember which). However, there were multiple years in the past decade where people were not getting their items delivered by USPS before they left for Indy, and GC used to have a policy that stated that anything shipped through USPS could not be guaranteed (i.e. you had to re-buy your badge). Eventually, GC switched to USPS Priority (more expensive, but it could be tracked) and Will Call, and dumped UPS/FedEx completely because there were people who were having issues receiving their packages through that option as well (which ended up as an expense to GC as those items were guaranteed and had to be reprinted on GC's dime).
Additionally, in the mid-2000s, the Will Call line became a nightmare, but GC seems to have really ironed that out for the most part. I always choose Will Call now. Granted, I'm a VIG so the line isn't an issue for me, but even if I wasn't I'd still choose Will Call and be assured that my badge and tickets were waiting for me in Indy.
Edit: Also, in 2005 (my first full 4-day Gen Con) I left my badge at home and had to re-purchase it in Indy. From that point on, I've never trusted myself and would rather have it waiting for me at Will Call.
I did the $10 shipping this year for piece of mind & just to have it. However, Will Call last year was not bad. We got to the event center around 6-7 PM on Wednesday & the line was from the will call area all the way down the hall to "hall A" almost to the outer door. It looked like the line would take days. Well little did I know that Gen Con has their stuff together & it took maybe an hour. Went by fast & since we had 3 people, 1 person would stand in line & the others were walking around the ICC since it was our first time, then 20 minutes or so in, we would switch it up.
If your only concern is the line just come over on Wednesday, grab a drink & give it an hour. No worries.
I will say Will Call is not usually a bad way to go. But there have been cases where it is not the best ether.
Few years ago Gencon was having PC issues, and it took over 4 hours in will call from start to finish. That year I missed the first event I was GM'ing. Luckily I had a friend who could sub for me.
Now they have gotten much better with their computers and I haven't seen those issues in the last few years. But being this is Gencon's 50th Anv. I would guess attendance will be up, and with that, those interested in Will Call.
So I would buy with some anticipation.
Last year, I stopped by the will call line around 4pm. It was around 1.5 hours long, so we went to get some dinner nearby. Came back, and it was even longer (going out the door at the end of the old hallway). Went to go see Star Trek at the IMAX, came back around 10pm, still that long.
I wonder if that was a fluke, or a new trend with the increase in 4-day badges? The line did move fairly quickly, but an hour and a half isn't fun.
Regardless, I almost always purchase additional event tickets after badges get mailed out. So, I'd have to go to will call to pick them up anyway. Where are we on getting rid of event tickets?
Will call lines are daunting. I get our badges mailed to us. Upon receipt, the tix get separated, everything goes into the badge holders, and right in the glove box (we drive). No worries about forgetting them. :)