While researching for my latest postcard print run I came across a cute page at Canada Post about personalized postage stamps.
No longer need Elizabeth Windsor smile at you – you could receive mail from me with my grinning face staring off to one side.
What the heck! For just $24.95 you can upload a picture of your choosing and get 20 domestic-rate stamps.
Domestic-rate stamps are on special at Cloverdale Mall. 10% off a book of ten stamps. Pay only $48.6 instead of $5.40.
Let me rephrase that – instead of paying regular price of 54c to mail your letter, you could pay $1.25, possibly plus tax plus tax, but at least your face gets recognition.
Off to http://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/personal/productsservices/atoz/picturepostage.jsf we go, read what's there, then to visit the Picture Postage website with its simple 3-step process.
Step 1: Upload your picture.
I click on "Get Started' and am presented with a window that says "You need Java to run the program that will help you design your stamp."
What is Grandma going to do when confronted with this? Call Grandpa in from the back porch?
I am puzzled that I, of all people, need to follow a 5-step procedure to install Java. I am on the web all-day every-day, and am twiddling all sorts of web pages, but perhaps Canada Post know more than I.
It is possible.
I decide to
1) Go to http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads/index_jdk5.jsp and download JDK 5.0 Update 13
2) Accept the licence agreement.
3) On the download page, click the red arrow adjacent to Windows Offline Installation, Multi-language (jdk-1_5_0_13-windows-i586-p.exe, 51.42 MB).
4) This will download the executable file to your machine. Once the download is complete, double-click this file to start the installation.
And 5) Continue to Step 1.
But sadly, the first step produces a page which bears little resemblance to my expectations in steps (2) and (3).
I call the toll-free number 1-866-742-7678 and speak with an excited young thing who seems to have no idea about the web page, the conflicting instructions, or to care about a customer who is confused.
Her advice: "Just mail the picture in to me and I'll send the stamps to you".
This blows the whole online scam^H^H^H^H scheme out of the water.
Whatever happened to Step 2 "Edit your picture to fit the frame of your choice."?
Whatever happened to impulse buying, and ordering a second or third set once I found out how easy it is?
I hung up the phone, closed my browser, and went back to work.