Good news first: The parcel chain has legs. I am posting now to give you an update and to reply to the conversations started on e-mail. First of all – we have a great new handle for the parcel chain! The name has been developed following a little chat between Kate and me where I mentioned the “Flat Stanley” concept.
If you don’t know what that is, click HERE. Flat Stanley has a whole Wikipedia entry devoted to him! Kate suggested “Flat Richie”, and I think that is a funny name – and a great hashtag. So, Flat Richie it is.
The response to the idea has been better than I hoped! I was worried that I’d only get a handful of takers, but at the last count I have received 18 notes/e-mails that express an interest in participating. Woohoo! And even better, if this group of people go ahead, we will span three continents and have 9 countries covered. A truly international little project, just as I had hoped.
Some of you have made some great suggestions in your e-mails re. the actual procedure of the parcel chain which I have incorporated in the concept. I usually dislike rules and regulations, but to avoid disappointment, I think it is advisable to have a few guidelines in place. Here we go:
The ground work:
- I will put the names of the participants through the random picker to generate the sequence of the parcel chain.
- I will send each participant the address of the person to whom they will pass on Flat Richie. (I.e. your address will only be exposed to one other person apart from me.)
- Then I will pack a parcel that contains as many items as there are participants – that’s a random number, just for the fun of it, really.
- I’ll include a little travel log that provides place for a little message to the next recipient or space for a drawing, photos, stickers or anything else. That way we can document Flat Richie’s journey. The log will also contain a reminder of the guidelines 😉
- The parcel will be sent off to the first recipient.
The parcel fun:
- When a parcel arrives, the recipient comments or tweets or posts online so that we all know the parcel has been received. (This will also allow me to map Flat Richie’s journey – with updates and a travel map for all to see on blog.)
- The recipient is allowed to pick up to 3 items from the parcel. (You can take less but not more.)
- A picture of your 3 chosen items would be great fun to see. But don’t give away what else is in the parcel – let’s keep the surprise for the remaining participants!
- The Guy RAPS, which is travelling with Flat Richie, is excluded from the swap – he is yours for a short while and then travels on to the next participant.
- The recipient replaces the same number of items with little gifts of her own. The total number of gifts should always remain the same.
- The little gifts should remain unwrapped – so that the recipients can see what they can choose from.
- In the accompanying notebook/travel log (supplied by me), the recipient signs her name/nick and adds her message.
- The parcel is put into the post again, off to the next participant. The sender leaves a comment/tweet/post to say that
ElvisFlat Richie has left the building.
- The postage costs have to be paid by each sender themselves. You can (but you don’t have to), invest in “registered mail” or tracking, just as a safety precaution.
- Make sure you fill in the customs forms as “gifts/presents” to avoid incurring customs fees for the recipient!
- This is a parcel chain for fun and not for personal gain! There is no price-tag attached to the parcel items.
- There will be nothing precious in the parcel, and we exclude alcohol or plants/seeds because those could potentially cause problems with customs/import regulations.
- Hand-made things are allowed.
- Fandom-related items are encouraged but not obligatory.
- Little specialities from our respective countries/places of residence are a nice idea with a personal touch.
- Value of the replacement items is basically up to the individual sender, but since we also have to calculate postage in the total costs, let’s not overstretch ourselves! Since I am starting the parcel off with at least 50% hand-made items, I do not envisage to pay more than 20 Euro for the remaining items.
- Turnaround times: With 20 people on the chain, we won’t be able to reach everyone prior to Christmas (this year *haha*). However, for those who are at the end of the chain, it would be nice if we could mail on the parcel as quickly as possible. I suggest a turnaround time of 3 working days. (But hey, don’t worry too much about this – I am not going to enforce the turnaround times. There won’t be penalties to pay if you get delayed or if someone is on holiday and the parcel takes a bit longer to receive or post. This is meant to be fun, after all, not an operation of military precision.)
Addendum: It has been pointed out to me that Christmas time/holiday season is a tricky time for receiving mail. Should we possibly delay the start of Flat Richie until after the holidays????
- Once all participants have received the parcel, the last recipient returns Flat Richie back to me. Which leaves a snag: I am left with the full number of items. I suggest I will pick 3, the rest will go into an auction or into a future Flat Richie parcel chain.
- Flat Richie’s travel log will be photographed and shown online – and we can all marvel at the journey the parcel has taken.
So, first and foremost, this is just a little project to have fun together. If you are all happy with what I have sketched out above, we can get Flat Richie on the road. Or you can pull back in case all the rules and regulations are too much for you.
Apologies, I am German. Providing for all contingencies and establishing regulations is in my blood. If you have other comments, suggestions and ideas, please let me know. The parcel chain is still open for registration – not least because Guylty has not got the starter items ready yet. Travel!Guy does not exist yet, but a few other items are already in the making. I know what I am doing at the weekend.
Right, I am looking forward to this. And those of you who are
despite all my rules and regulations still happy to be part of this – have fun thinking up some little gifts or making some items for when Flat Richie stops in your house. That’ll keep the turnaround time snazzy and short when your time comes.