Beware of a common mail-order rip-off. This is done by many major-name businesses. When you go to the post office to ship an item, how do you get charged? By size and weight, of course.
Now take a quick peek in the catalogs that flood our homes these days and check their "shipping and handling" charges. Many of the majors (e.g. Lands' End, Williams-Sonoma) charge by the price of the item. So, if you order a small, lightweight item, it can end up costing four or five times more for shipping.
There is no logic or reason for this approach. Shipping and handling should reflect the cost of packaging and postage -- nothing more.
How do we approach this rip-off? Avoid catalog shopping; look for a vendor charging the old-fashioned way; arrange store pickup, and flood the company with letters of inquiry and complaint over this new form of gouging.
This is why we must be informed shoppers. Corporate greed challenges us to question all aspects of their billing practices. It is up to us -- obviously no agency is looking out for us.
RAYMOND J. MALISPINA