There's a thread going on at Rivetbangers asking people whether they've calculated how much they've spent on their RV airplane projects so far. I haven't, but I have a pretty good idea.
Unfortunately, I also have a pretty good idea how much I've spent on shipping and handling charges over the lifespan of the project and I'm not sure the two are that far apart.
This week I was about to rivet on a doubler plate for the comm antenna. So I dug out my Avery Tools pop rivet dimple dies -- two nifty little dies that use a simple nail to allow a pop riveter to be used as a dimpler. But I was out of the small nails. So I put the two dies down on the workbench, and went to the hardware store to buy new nails. $1.98 later, I returned to the hangar, only to find one of the dies was no longer where I left it. A search failed to turn up the missing die.
It sucks enough, frankly, that I had to stop my progress and order a new set from Avery Tools (for the record, I LOVE Avery Tools). But what really chaffs me, is that I had to pay $8.95 for shipping. Avery, like many suppliers, don't offer affordable shipping options like, "stick it in an envelope and mail it by the cheapest way ever invented by the U.S. Postal Service."
Yesterday, the package arrived.
Now keep in mind, this is what I needed (actually, I didn't need the nails, nor the other die, but forget about that.)
And this is the packaging it came in:
A waste of packaging, a waste of resources, and most certainly a waste of money. Sticking it in a padded envelope, slapping $1.20 worth of stamps on it and sending it out the door would have been preferable if added as an option.
Van's Aircraft is even worse. In addition to the shipping charges -- which they don't calculate for you when you order something, you only find out later that it averages $11 (although I once spent $85 shipping for a $100 part!) -- they charge you a $4 "handling fee." Think about that: For the privilege of submitting your order, you pay a $4 fee. Why not just tack on extra money to the price?
Update 3:18 p.m. 12/24/09 -- I was doing some laundry over the weekend. There was a fair amount of clanging coming from the dryer, which usually signifies some loose quarters. Nope. It was the missing die. Figures.