It's been $10 for years. This isn't a new cost, nor do I expect it to go up like you unreasonably suggested. I take it as a "Processing and Handling" fee more than "Shipping" fee. Lots of extra work must go into sending out all of those packets of badges and tickets.
USPS charges $6-7 for the Priority Mail shipping, so the $10 is mostly consumed by that, not by Gen Con charging a "processing fee".
When a company like Gen Con is going to mail out thousands of pieces of mail, it costs them more than the shipping. It's not like they have someone in the office licking stamps and hand writing addresses. I would guess they send it all to a mailing service. This is a company that takes the envelopes and a spreadsheet of names/addys and prints all the envelopes, plus the indicia (the 'postage paid' coded stamp). Then someone is taking those envelopes and stuffing them with the tickets. The envelope stuffing is going to cost the same either way, but the printing of those envelopes for mailing, by a mailing service, will cost more than sticking a label with just a name on it for Will-Call.
tl/dr: 'shipping and handling' charges are real things.
They do most of it in-house. Back in May they were looking for temp employees to do the work.
EDIT: Beat me to it, buffythecatslayer! :)
Alec Usticke, Fans of Gen Con Facebook Group
Honestly, if they are addressing and printing thousands of envelopes in-house...their costs are likely higher than using a mailing service. It's just that those costs are shifted to office supplies and temps. Stuffing envelopes in-house makes sense, you don't want to have the mailing service responsible for putting the right tickets in the right envelopes. But the printing and addressing in-house...I'd be surprised if they are saving money that way, or even breaking even compared to the cost of a mailing service.
@GenCon: look into mailing services, lol
Yeah, I was at the post office yesterday, and I saw the priority mail cost for the size envelope used by Gen Con listed as 7.95. So $2.05 for Gen Con's portion of the handling and addressing doesn't seem terribly out of line.
It seems silly to question how Gen Con mails their packages or assume you know a secret, better method of which they’re unaware.
So yes, they would be foolish to use the more expensive option. And maybe in-house is cheaper for them. In my experience (working at a print shop for several years not too long ago), the mailing services are cheaper than in-house. This is not some 'secret', it's just what I learned about this issue.
So, to clarify my points:
1) Gen Con's shipping charge is a combination of the postal costs, plus the very real costs of 'handling' these items.
2) Those handling costs I would expect to be lower with an outside service, but would still seem to justify the $10 charge to us.
3) The $10 charge is definitely justified if GC is using what I would expect to be the more expensive method of doing it all in-house.
We do it in house to ensure the right people get the right badges and tickets.
Packets must be assembled with many different variables in play.
There are too many things that can go wrong if this is done outside the company without a huge amount of oversight. Which increases the expense.
Envelopes are not sealed until there is a QC process to make sure each packet is completed correctly and the 20 John Smith's each get exactly what they ordered.
This process would be prohibitively expensive given these steps, and the possibility of error would go up as well if done outside.
However we are certainly open to hearing about alternatives!
Customer Service & Event Team Manager
Gen Con LLC
For companies that aren't themselves printing companies, it can save some $.
Edit: for example, I don't know anything about them, but a Google turned up Alpha Graphics in Seattle. I don't know your costs, but if you factor in printer toner and labor, I'd be willing to bet their envelope printing costs would be lower than in-house.
It sounds to me that e-ticketing will solve a lot of these "problems"
"John Smith Badge Number: XXXXXXXXX ?"
"Yup, that's me!" *Shows ID for confirmation*
"OK here's your badge all tickets are loaded on the badge!"
Of course there is more in a packet, than just your badge and tickets, but this seems like it would streamline the process more. I am hopeful with the good reception I heard about the wifi this year that we are close to 100% e-tickets for Gen Con. And with the new Gen Con app, you should be able to confirm all your events are correctly loaded on your badge.
The App and wifi in the ICC/LOS seem to be a huge step in the right direction towards bringing Gen Con into the digital age of the 2020s. lol
So, lets lay a few things out for people here who may not understand bulk printing/mailing.
Making badges, matching tickets to badges and stuffing an envelope will happen no matter if you ship them or not. The fee covers the cost of shipping and is pretty reasonable.
Many of our challenges will indeed be solved once we move to e-ticketing completely. Also, for you.
No shut down on ticket refunds between ship to me date and the convention. Your schedule will not be blocked because you will be able to refund that ticket! You can get that new event! No packets at Will Call with just tickets in them. You can't lose your tickets!
Thanks for the update as always Mike! Is it Aug 2020 yet?
But with all e-tickets, what happens in a wifi outage situation?
The way their app is set up, the host does not need a connection to scan the badges. He needs to download the events & attendees at some point, then will need a connection to upload the scanned badges later. The only issue would be for people who bought tickets just before the event started, or who want to use the new system of paying right at the event. The Wi-Fi was pretty solid this year, so the issues should be minimal.
Now, the question is if their servers that handle the ticketing are going to be working at prime speed or are going to deliver several-hour delays before sending information through like it did a few times this year.
There were some 2k e-ticket events this year, not much in comparison to 19k events in total but still its a good start. There are going to be growing pains with the technology and given the over-reaction to any kind of customer service issue that happens with an event of this size I would rather see this take its time. I was there during the first computer ticket system startup, it was unpleasant.