[OT] Flat Richie is Taking Shape

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 Elvis Flat 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!

The guidelines:

  • 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????


The snag:

  • 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.




152 thoughts on “[OT] Flat Richie is Taking Shape

  1. Well said and rules/regulations are very clear. Just bear in mind Xmas is coming in 6 weeks when some of the participants who live in the USA (raising my hand) may be away and cannot get Flat Richie received to then send to the next recipient. My mailman thankfully won’t leave a package with some other office when we are out of the office. That would be my only concern.. Am I making sense? .


  2. Sounds great! Michele’s comments are very valid though – and the Christmas post in the UK, and I imagine many other countries, gets manic and things can get delayed… should we even think about this as a pick-me-up in dreary January/February?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, here is a little amendment – you are not the only one who is worried about the holiday rush, Jen, so it’s quite possible that we will either postpone Flat Richie to the new year, or that I will accommodate special requests for people to be placed further along in the chain. Just sayin’… 😘


  3. Die Regeln klingen gut. Und keine Angst, von Überregulierung bist du noch weit entfernt 😉. Nach Weihnachten fände ich aber auch besser. Nicht, weil ich nicht da bin, sondern weil ich im Dezember normalerweise nicht freilwillig die Post betrete.
    Eine Frage hab ich aber noch, nur um alle Eventualitäten zu berücksichtigen: Erfährt man erst, dass man an der Reihe ist, wenn das Päckchen da ist? Das könnte, zumindest hier, ein Problem sein, wenn man zufällig im Urlaub ist. Soweit ich weiß, bewahrt die Post Sendungen nur ein paar Tage auf und schickt sie dann zurück. Wenn ich wüßte, es könnte was kommen, würd ich vorsorgen. Auch wenn es natürlich viel schöner ist, wenn man überrascht wird.


  4. LoLoLand Productions Present:
    “RL with RA”
    Today’s episode: “Blue Tick Echo

    R: “I’m so sorry I’m late! Are you ready, sweetheart? We have to hurry if we’re going to get to my brother’s on time for dinner.”
    LL: *glaring daggers*
    R: Um, are you angry about something? Did I leave my wet towel on the floor again?
    LL: It’s that damn tweet, Richard! Turn the other cheek? Are you kidding me?!
    R: What the ? That’s usually a sentiment that Miss ‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle’ agrees with.
    LL: Sometimes, yes. In everyday circumstances with everyday people, that sometimes is a good option. But NOT when it comes to ‘politicians, journalists and other grownups.’
    R: *getting frustrated* You know how I feel about bullies.
    LL: And you know that I feel the same way. Our childhoods may have sucked in different ways but we’ve both faced it. I’ve told you about my brother and I having had rocks thrown at us because we were the new kids in town.
    R: *beginning to lose his temper, too* So what’s the problem?!
    LL: Normalizing atrocious behavior is the problem! By choosing to ignore what asswipes like the 🍊🤡 say about women, minorities, the disabled, we are teaching children that it is okay to call women ‘horseface’ or ‘Pocahontas’. Bullies like that have to be stood up to, not ignored, no matter how many characters they use.
    R: Oh, please! You’re taking this too far.
    LL: Please yourself, you stonking great bastion of white male privilege. You have no idea what it’s like as a woman to be told that what happened to Dr. Blasey Ford is irrelevant because ‘we won.’
    R: You know I don’t believe that at all!
    LL: Then for fuck’s sake, think before you tweet! There was been a 17% rise in hate crimes over the last year. That isn’t going to be stopped by turning the other cheek. *getting incoherent* And..and..learn how to use a semi-colon, Richard!
    R: *incredulous* You want to fight with your husband about punctuation?
    LL: I don’t WANT to fight with my husband about anything, but honestly, not only are you not grasping a major concept here, you have the strangest relationship with punctuation. I wish I could delete the damn semi-colon key from your phone.
    R: If you’re that offended, woman, I’ll just delete the tweet. And then can we go?
    LL: No! Don’t delete, fix it! You…you…you numpty!
    R: *roaring with laughter* Numpty?
    LL: Numpty!
    R: *wiping tears from his eyes*
    LL: *sulking* Why are you laughing?
    R: I can’t help it, sweetheart. I love it when my grumpy short American uses British slang to insult me.
    LL: You are a deeply weird man, Armitage. It’s a good thing you’re so gorgeous.
    R: *moving in closer* Gorgeous, eh?
    LL: Hey, no fair weaponizing the voice.
    R: *speaking deeper and more deliberately* I have no idea what you’re talking about, little American.
    LL: *not trying very hard to fend him off* If you don’t stop that, we’re going to be late for dinner.
    R: *grinning happily* Oh, Chris is getting used to it by now.

    [With thanks to Kate for the title, and to Guylty for the space on her blog.]

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great way of critiquing the tweet, LL! Well said and absolutely agree. I am all for peaceful coexistence – but not with bullies. Turning the other cheek is a step back, not a step forward, imo.
      And despite the serious content of this RL RA convo, it is actually really nice. Because it ends nicely 🙂 You are welcome to post your chats here any time! x

      Liked by 2 people

    • I love it, LL, but then I knew I would!

      You pointed out something that I felt but hadn’t verbalized so eloquently: He has massive amounts of privilege. White, male, educated, first-world, former middle-class, top-earning, fame-induced privilege and he needs to wield it more carefully. He’s the cream of the crop. It doesn’t get much better than that.
      On that same tack, I would also like him to be a bit more proactive. [Be careful what you wish for, Kate!] Unless I’m massively uninformed, he could help raise money in a more public/fun/effective/PR savvy way than linking to his Just Giving charities twice a year in lieu of presents. Go on a telethon, donate coveted fan items for a charity auction. [G would volunteer to list them in the birthday shindig, I’m sure, but maybe such things already exist in a high-profile way. If they don’t, crate one. Hire someone to help, work with an experienced PR firm and do your own thing.] If well done, it would create such a response.

      P.S. Loved you berating him on punctuation! I’d add fact checking and spelling. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

    • LL, this is so brilliant on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin, I’ve read it like 10 times this morning before even my first cup of coffee. I thank you thank you thank you thank you for the seriousness and then the sweetness of the beginning and ending of your conversation with the Brit. The fact that you think of him as your husband is just icing on the cake for me. I also like the mood swings you brought to the conversation-perhaps when he tweeted that atrocious piece of garbage on Tuesday he was in one of those “moody” anti-socialite episodes…


  5. I’m not a patient person by nature, so I voted for an immediate start. And tbh, hectic as the holiday season can be, it would actually work better for me because I’m off work for two weeks, which would give me more wiggle room. Normal weeks are hellish. That would make baking kinda stressful.
    Maybe you could start with those of us who want to start now and then put the rest through the randomizer? By the time we get going we won’t realistically get through more than 3 – 4 people till the new year anyway.
    And an addendum to the rules & regs (which my German ex-military wife persona loves btw): If you know you’re gonna be away at any point, let G know, so that can be taken into account.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: The Eagle has Landed – My dearest Louise…

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