A small first batch of MappyDots has been unofficially soft launched on Friday as a way to get postage and packaging sorted out. There's still a few left on the Tindie store if you are interested in getting them early. There will be another larger batch available by the end of the week, so if you miss out there won't be too much delay.
There are two packaging options, one is a simple mailer sent as a letter for smaller orders without tracking, to try and make things as cheap as possible. The other is for larger orders or if you want tracking. Australia Post only allows tracking on parcels, which has a limit of 500grams for the cheapest option, so since the MappyDots are tiny and only weigh a few grams, I have thrown in a few Aussie sweets to fill the extra weight and provide additional cushioning :)
Sorting out customs forms and shipping has been interesting. When you create a waybill for a parcel on the AusPost website it creates a series of A5 customs documents for you to print. They require an A5 plastic sleeve to put these in, which is meant to be provided by the AusPost stores for free when you drop them off. Well it turns out the AusPost stores have no idea about this and don't actually stock them, nor do any of the major stationary or office supply stores. So after visiting 4 post stores I got them to contact the corporate center to find out how to actually do this. One store in Melbourne's CBD had them in stock so I took a trip in to grab a few.
When I got there they first said they didn't have them. I said they were just called about 20 minutes ago and to take another look. Low and behold, they did have them but then they wanted to charge me for them. Since I have already spoken to the corporate center about it all, I said firstly they are free and secondly they don't even have a stock code, so they have no way to bill me for them. A few minutes later the staff member finally gave up on the sales terminal and gave me a large handful and served the next customer.
Normally this isn't a problem because you fill out these forms by hand, rather than printing them. And they have an abundance of these handwritten forms. But it was interesting to see that our postage services really haven't caught up with international shipping and the internet in 2017.
So far the MappyDot has been shipped to the US, Hungary and Spain. Hopefully we can dot the entire map!