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Surat, Gujarat
6 hours ago

All UK orders of issue 3 are expected to arrive on and around December 2nd due to a sorting office error. Sorry for the delay.

How our shipping process works

In the interest of transparency, we thought it might be useful for us to share how our shipping process works just to help you understand why the magazine can take a while to get to you after you've received your despatch notification. Lots of people ask and we'll admit it often doesn't make sense as to why it takes so long, despite you having paid for 2nd Class postage which is usually around 48 hours delivery time.

To begin with we hand pack all of the magazines and then use data exports from Shopify to create shipping labels to stick on the packages. This process takes around 4-5 hours per 100 magazines so can quite often swallow a whole weekend depending on the number of copies ordered.

We then mark them as despatched in the system and send you a despatch notification via email. This is actually cheating a little as it is not until the next day that Whistl come and collect the boxes of magazines but due to our ordering system and the way that we sell multiple SKU's (Issue 1, Issue 2, Issue 3 subscriptions etc) it's much easier for us to mark an order as despatched at this point to keep track of what has been processed and what hasn't. You could argue that we shouldn't mark them as despatched until Whistl has confirmed they will be sent to the Royal Mail to go out but when we tried this in the past it screwed our internal tracking system and people got multiple copies of the mag and all sorts of issues so for the time being we will carry on operating this way until a better solution presents itself.

It then takes a day or two for the magazines to get to the Whistl processing centre and then once they're there it takes around 3-4 days for them to process them all. Eventually they will send an email saying they are ready to go out and at that point the 2nd class 48-hour period kicks in before it arrives at your door. Ordinarily we will post something on our Twitter or Facebook to say that they are on their way.

International orders are done a little differently. Due to the B word and just general international rules, each magazine needs a customs form attached to it which adds a few extra seconds to each magazine packed (it all adds up). These magazines are then sent via Royal Mail Drop and go, which requires the generation of a shipping manifest which is an absolute pain. They then need to be physically driven to a post office where they are processed and shipped. Because I live in a rural area, all the post offices are really tiny and often can't take high volumes of shipments and sometimes international orders will be staggered over a few days. Once Royal Mail have processed them it takes around 2 weeks for them to land on people's doorsteps across the world.

All of the above information is based on larger runs of the magazines, i.e. all of the pre-orders being dealt with once the magazines are in stock and good to go.

Every order placed after the bulk shipment as time goes on is done on an individual basis just when time allows us to get to a post office throughout the week but we always make sure that no more than a few days pass before we post them. It isn't practical for us to go to the post office every single day otherwise nothing would get done and most post offices are a significant drive time from where we live. Work also prevents us from leaving the house as much as we'd like. Once they're at the post office, they generally go through the same 3-4 day processing time, so once again from the moment you receive the despatch notification you're looking at around 5-7 days before your magazine arrives.


Other things to note


We also get a lot of questions regarding grouped shipping (especially to places like Australia) to reduce on shipping cost but for us this is too much of a challenge. Using bulk shipping options requires all packages to be multiples of the same type, size and weight, if we were to add in a 3-magazine package into the mix it wouldn't work and we'd have to open up an entirely new system just for Australian orders, and US orders and so on and there is only so much time in the day. Part of the reason the magazine is now every two months rather than one comes down to the time spent on shipping. To increase the complexity would swallow more time we do not have. Therefore every magazine and order is dealt with as an individual unit.

Another thing we would like to cover is the packing materials. We have had a few complaints regarding magazines being folded or creased upon arrival. This is a tricky one for us. It all comes down to weight in order to keep the postage costs at a reasonable price. We are going to be experimenting with a lightweight cardboard insert for issue 3, we don't think this will make the magazine completely bomb proof but might alleviate some of the issues a small number of people have experienced. At the end of the day there is a fine line between a readable magazine and a pristine collector’s item. From our point of view, we are the former not the latter and although we wish that every magazine would arrive absolutely perfect, we just don't think that's ever going to be completely possible.

The last thing we will say to round this off is that there does seem to be a delay in the UK mail system caused by COVID, or Brexit or giant killer squirrels or whatever it happens to be on the day. This sometimes means that even after all of the above it can still take much much longer for your magazine to arrive than it should, and this is completely out of our control. We've always been happy to send out another copy to people if it looks like it's gone missing but 99.9% of the time as soon as the replacement arrives the original turns up anyway. This doesn't mean that you should not contact us if you think yours is lost, please do and we will resolve it the best way that we can, but it pays for us to highlight how screwed everything is right now in the world of shipping and sometimes time is often the only healer.

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