Today I had the strangest conversation at the post office.  I was sending a package to Dave. A car fender he bought on Trademe from somewhere nearby my home, and so delivered to me.

When posting some books the day before, I had enquired  on the possibility of posting it.  The lady had assured me that a large item could be posted providing its dimensions did not exceed 2.5 metres when added.  She even wrote it down for me.  2.5m  Remember that figure.

So this morning I bubble wrapped the fender.  Once wrapped, it made an odd shape; roughly a truncated pyramidal in a flattened sort of way.  I measured the longest, widest and deepest dimensions and jotted them down.   I carried the parcel to the post Office.

Weigh package – a surprising 4.42 Kg. Not too heavy at all.  (9 packs of margarine).
Hand over dimensions as measured.  1.150 x 0.750 x 0.250
PO lady enters them into computer. She tuts, and tries again.

We can’t take that, it’s too big.
– But you told me the dimensions must not exceed 2.5 metres
Volumetrically, yes.
– This is 1.150 x .750 x .250 = 2.15metres!  Much less than 2.5.
but in millimetres it does not  meet the requirements.
– ??  That is still only 2150 mm
not volumetrically. We can’t take it.
– can we average the narrowest and widest part?
not volumetrically. You need to send it by courier.

As I understood it initially, the dimensions of a package sent by post must not exceed 2.5m when added.  This package comes to 2.15.

Volumetrically?  Because of its shape, the package is considerably less volume than the greatest dimensions would suggest. When multiplied they amount to 0.215625 cubic metres.   The real volume would at a guess, be around two thirds or less of that.  Even so, 0.215625 cubic metres is much less than 2.5 by a significant factor.  2.5 cubic metres is huge. Of course I would not expect the PO to deliver something that big.  So where does this 2.5m business fit in?  Dimensions or volumetric?

Can anyone explain to me how the PO calculates this?  What is the real cut off point?

How does this numerology of theirs work?


About Uisce úr

Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.
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