Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Colour Red

So the UK postal service is known as Royal Mail - why I am not quite sure, the Queen's family don't deliver it. It used to be a state owned organisation and then it was privatised.

My guess it is pretty much like any other postal service - it has post offices where you can buy stamps and stick them on things and post them and with a bit of luck they get delivered.

For as long as I can remember (at least) the basis of the UK postal system has been weight. Something that weighs an ounce (that's about 28 grams to you metric-heads) costs about 30 UK pence to post - about the price of a bar of chocolate. Doesn't seem extreme to me - but I would rather have the chocolate.

So, anyhow, that means that I send an empty cardboard box that is big enough to put a TV in, say, for the same price as a greetings card 6 inches long by 4 inches wide - all assuming I am not being totally silly and they weigh the same.

But no more, oh no, not from August 21st, the Royal Mail has decreed that anything larger than 240 mm X 165 mm X 5mm weighing less than 100 g is a "letter" and will cost 32 pence to post. Anything larger, up to 353 mm x 250 mm x 25mm and weighing between 0g and 750g will be known as a "large letter" and will cost anything from 44p to 131p to post. Anything larger than that regardless of weight will be a "packet" and will cost 100p to post.

These prices are first class post and we won't even debate the relative merits of first versus second class post. Because the chocolate differential just is not worth it.

It all seems reasonable to me - I can understand that is is more awkward to handle larger sized items of post. It won't impact me that much - since I hardly ever post anything. I buy chocolate instead.

So why am I posting this blog entry. Because, the Royal Mail has sent out an A4 sized trifold brochure to every postal address in the land - probably something in the region of 30 some million addresses would be my guess. The brochure says that for 80% of posted items will cost the same or less to send. I reckon that each of these brochures cost at least 10p to print and distribute - so that's 3 million pounds, which however you look at this is a lot to recoup on such small chocolate differentials.

But there's more - I also realised by reading this lovely A4 trifold brochure that I can no longer use the colour red - because, and I quote:

"Royal Mail, the Cruciform and the colour red are registered trademarks of Royal Mail Group plc"

Check that out - it is not even capitalised, so it is not a specific "Colour Red" just the generic colour red. How can that be? Someone explain that to me. If I don't find out, I could be in deep trouble if I bleed.


Marcos said...

100p = £1, right?

Does a trademark on the colour red also apply to the "color red"? Or do we Leftpondians get to thumb our nose at international trademark law on that one? :)

Simes said...

Correct Mark.

I'm still worried about the colour red - but less so now that I know that you guys "over there" will still be able to export the color red to us.

Phew, what relief.