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Subject: Sending games home from Essen by mail or courier rss

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EDIT EDIT - I wrote a whole new thread based on my own experience. Read it here first: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/425901/how-to-ship-games-bac...


EDIT - I've renamed this thread to save the trouble of writing a new one. My thanks to the geeks below for supplying lots of data.

You cannot mail games directly from inside the show halls. You must make up your own parcel and take it to a Post Office or a courier's office. You will need a big, sturdy box (double thickness corrugation is best), some newspaper to fill out empty space, strong parcel tape, string, a good waterproof marker pen and money for the postage. Take care when packing your games, as they will move around a lot when shipped. Don't squash them too tightly, but don't leave them loose either. Small things like card games or 2player games will damage the other game boxes if left to float around.

You can usually scrounge cardboard boxes from inside the show halls. The stands have to pay a charge to clear out any extra cardboard during the show days. So as they are setting up, they dump any unwanted boxes. But during the show, they keep unwanted boxes hidden away (for packing at the end of the show) or they dump them in the central courtyard. If it rains though, these will be useless to you. Keep your eyes peeled and ask if they have any boxes they don't want. This is where you need the string! Carrying flattened boxes away from the show is very awkward. You'll need a several metres of good string or cord to tie up your boxes and make them easy to carry.

Seal the bottom of the box with a long strip, and then run strips across the bottom at right angles. The better you seal the base, the happier you'll be when it arrives home. It's a good idea to run strips along the edges where the flaps meet the ends of the box. When you are ready to close the package for mailing, then do the top side in the same way. Don't bother using string to seal the boxes. It will probably catch in the machinery when being shipped.

There seems to be two ways to ship boxes home from Essen;
1. through the German Post Office courier DHL
2. through an independent courier Hermes using a Paketshop

1. DHL is a well-known international courier on a par with UPS. It is actually owned by the German Post Office (Deutsche Post) and so if you take your parcel to a PO, it will go through DHL anyway. DHL will not collect a parcel from your hotel (I checked!). You will need to complete a shipping from. Simon Hilsdorf (Zopper-Alf) kindly sent in these pictures.


This is the shipping form you need fill out. Simon has translated most of it for you in the second image! Click on the images to see them in full.

I have not tried using the PO in Essen before, but the accounts below make it seem easy. My impression is that you are likely to find staff who can understand questions in English.

There appear to be three useful Post Offices in Essen for DHL (which seem to be different from the ones listed below). In the town centre, there is a main Post Office just as you enter the shopping area. Now I thought it was on the left, but it seems to be on the right at Willy-Brandt-Platz 1.

There is one on Logenstrasse and that might help if you staying there.

The third place is not much use for us.

PeterK's comments below give the prices by size and weight:
Rates for DHL Paket International:
up to 5 kg max. 120x60x60 cm 17,00 EUR
up to 10 kg max. 120x60x60 cm 22,00 EUR
up to 20 kg max. 120x60x60 cm 32,00 EUR

2. Simon tells me that there is a courier in Germany called Hermes Versand. They are very well-known there as they deliver all over Germany. But recently they have extended their service to international deliveries. Presumably the parcels will be handled by local couriers at your end. Hermes has Paketshops all over Germany, apparently located in other business premises. They will take charge of your parcel and presumably take your money too. But they are not specifically a courier shop, so the staff may not be able to answer questions in English.

The good news is that there are several in Essen, one very close to the halls. http://customer.map24.com/hermes/sindex.php (You need to search the map yourself for Stadt = Essen, I can't get the correct links for the pop-out).

Here are the prices in German (and Simon says: it's including insurance): http://privatpaketservice.hlg.de/wps/portal/PREISE

Simon also says "Comparing DHL and Hermes isn't that easy because Hermes was national shipping exclusively so far. But within germany they are 100% reliable, in fact they have around 70% cheaper prices and insurance on all shipping! I never lost anything and I use it almost exclusively for shipping here in germany.

The ladies and gentleman in the shops are most of the time well informed but keep in mind that they have a different job normally and only take the parcels to collect them there. Usually they can help you out with everything but I think the workers at the Deutsche Post have more experience and better training (but that depends where you go, how long the guys do their 2nd income job and so on...)"

Looking at the locations of the Paketshops, they seem very diverse, from a Fishmarket, Drinking places, and Electrical retailers and nearest the hall might be a music shop. It looks like you turn up with your parcel sealed and ready to go, and they hold it for Hermes to pick up later.

Be warned though, many regular shops in Essen do not open up until 10am or later. The Paketshop I intend to try doesn't open till 11am.

***

Has anybody used the Post Office in Essen during the show? I know there is one just by the main station. Are there any closer to the show halls?

I am asking because this year I'm thinking of mailing boxes back home to myself. But if I have to cart them down to the main Post Office, then either I waste time during the show, or I do all the work on the Monday. So I might be limited to a single box. Or... the horror... hiring a taxi. shake

My hotel is likely to be close to the halls. Are there Post Offices close to Ruttenscheiderstrasse that will take parcels?

What are the opening hours of the Post Office? How late does it stay open?

How easy is it to mail boxes from Germany? Is it easy enough for a non-German speaker/reader?

Please give me your experience and knowledge.

Cheers,
Jon.
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EGG Head
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Re: Using the Post Offices in Essen - how easy to use?
The post office by the main station is the only one that will take packages. You can take the subway from Messe Essen to the post office very easily and it doesn't take too much time. Just don't forget to bring your own supplies-packing material, tape, indelible marker etc. Most of the postmasters don't seem to speak English but they understand if you are shipping overseas and will give yu the form and it's pretty easy to figure how to fill it out. It is quite expensive to ship to the US by air and it takes 4-6 weeks to get the games after you get back. Not sure about the UK. The post has regular office hours M-F and a few hours on Sat. I suggest take 1-2 hours during the day and go to the PO and mail your stuff, shop at the downtown mall for souviners for nongamers at home and back to the Messe. I've done it both years I've gone to Essen.
Lorna
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Peter Kruijt
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Re: Using the Post Offices in Essen - how easy to use?
According to www.deutschepost.de there are three post offices in Essen that have DHL service (which you will need for parcels).

Alfredstr. 38
Holsterhauser Str. 64
Witteringstr. 93

The top one is in the Rüttenscheid quarter, so shouldn't be far from either the Messe or your hotel.

Rates for DHL Paket International (the cheapest I think):
up to 5 kg max. 120x60x60 cm 17,00 EUR
up to 10 kg max. 120x60x60 cm 22,00 EUR
up to 20 kg max. 120x60x60 cm 32,00 EUR

Opening hours (Alfredstr):
Monday 09:00-18:00
Tuesday 09:00-18:00
Wednesday 09:00-14:00
Thursday 09:00-18:00
Friday 09:00-18:00
Saturday 09:00-12:30

The one at Holsterhauser Str. is closed between 12:30 and 14:00,
the one at Witteringstr. is closed between 12:30 and 14:30 (Saturdays closing at 12:00)

I think many germans speak english fairly well (probably they speak better english than you speak german).

HTH,

Peter
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Re: Using the Post Offices in Essen - how easy to use?
Thanks Peter, that's excellent. The one on Alfredstrasse isn't too far off, and maybe I can get done before 10am. So I won't miss too much. I'm not flying home till the Monday evening anyway, so I have all day to lug parcels there.

Thank you very much for getting all the info, that's very useful. The prices seem very reasonable considering. Just as good as any retailer I've used.

You have the packet size. Does that mean I have to use DHL packaging, or can I turn up with my own boxes?

Cheers,
Jon.
 
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Re: Using the Post Offices in Essen - how easy to use?
I've just measured some of the boxes sent from Adam Spielt. 40x40x60cms! I reckon I could mail myself home for 30 euros.

And I've found a shipping bulletin which puts a weight at 18,6 kg. So I should be well within my limits. For shipping games, not me. This is looking better and better.
 
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Zopper Alf
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Re: Using the Post Offices in Essen - how easy to use?
Don't worry about the boxes - you can bring your own ones for sure. And usually there's at least one person speaking good to fluent english there.
I doubt you will have any problems with the Deutsche Post, they usually do a pretty good job.

Btw: you might want to have a look at formulas you have to fill out first, that way you can check everything in advance... (if I remember correct the formulas for international shipping are also in english!)

Ciao,
Simon
 
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Re: Using the Post Offices in Essen - how easy to use?
Thanks Simon. Where can I find one of these forms online please?
 
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Peter Kruijt
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Re: Using the Post Offices in Essen - how easy to use?
EYE of NiGHT wrote:

You have the packet size. Does that mean I have to use DHL packaging, or can I turn up with my own boxes?

You can turn up with your own boxes. The dimensions stated (in centimeter) are the maximum they accept for this service. 120 x 60 x 60 cm is a huge box.

Peter

BTW Thanks for the (huge) tip.
 
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Zopper Alf
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Re: Using the Post Offices in Essen - how easy to use?
EYE of NiGHT wrote:
Thanks Simon. Where can I find one of these forms online please?


I didn't find anything online... I will try to get one when I go to the Deutsche Post tomorrow.
Ciao,
Simon
 
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Stella M
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The prices quoted above unfortunately do not apply to all countries, only to those in Zone 1 (basically the EU). The US, for example is in Zone 3... surprise

Prices
DHL Paket International || + Service Premium
______ up to 5 kg / 5-10 kg / 10-20 kg || up to 5 kg / 5-10 kg / 10-20 kg
Zone 1: EUR 17.00 / EUR 22.00 / EUR 32.00 || + EUR 7.00 + EUR 9.00 + EUR 13.00
Zone 2: EUR 30.00 / EUR 35.00 / EUR 45.00 || + EUR 8.50 + EUR 12.00 + EUR 19.00
Zone 3: EUR 32.00 / EUR 42.00 / EUR 62.00 || + EUR 16.00 + EUR 32.00 + EUR 64.00
Zone 4: EUR 37.00 / EUR 52.00 / EUR 82.00 || + EUR 21.00 + EUR 42.00 + EUR 84.00

Here is the link to the relevant section of the English version of the DHL website:http://www.dhl.de/dhl?tab=1&skin=hi&check=yes&lang=de_EN&xml...

I wouldn't recomment doing online franking as you will need a printer for the label. The easiest way is to go on site and fill out the 'Internationaler Paketschein'.

For insurance exceeding the World Postal Agreement (according to the website up to 154 EUR, depending on the weight of the package) you will have to purchase an extra insurance, either by choosing the 'Service Premium' (which I think is ridiculously expensive), or paying for the International Value price:

Internation value price:
Up to EUR 500: + EUR 6.00
An additional EUR 1.50 for each EUR 100 increment

More info about that can be found under the link above.

HTH
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Jason Miller
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John, I'm thinking about doing the same thing this year. Several of your older links are dead - are there any newer ones that might be helpful? I'm trying to find both the main post office and the part of the dhl web page that shows international shipping and rules.
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Zopper Alf
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Here you go: http://www.dhl.de/en/paket/privatkunden/international/paket....

What do you mean by "main post office" web page? If you are looking for locations, try this map: http://standorte.deutschepost.de/LocationSearch?zip=45%3F%3F...
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Mikko Ämmälä
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"Has anybody used the Post Office in Essen during the show? I know there is one just by the main station. Are there any closer to the show halls?"

I have used the main Post Office (just beside Essen Centre Railway station) during two of my three Essen Spiele visits.

Had no problems (I did send to Finland). Took a week. (if I recall correctly I did send Friday/Saturday and I got the games next Friday).

The price was a bit more than you would expect maybe (but easened the package load for sure and nickels compared to total cost of the trip).

Most probably I will use postal service also this year at Essen.

.mikko



 
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Hermes shops near the fair can be found here: https://www.hermespaketshop.de/paketshopfinder/de/popup/inde...

Hermes only delivers within the EU so far, or maybe Europe, not overseas!

The main advantage that Hermes has over DHL, at least regarding national shipping, is that their package costs aren't determined by weight (25 kg flat rate for all package sizes) but by volume. For Hermes, it's best to ship cubical packages, as they only measure the shortest+longest edge.

Any kind of shop can register to be a Hermes package shop, all they need to provide is some kind of store room where they can collect the packages. They receive a hand device to scan in the bar codes, that's it. Payment is always in cash only, as they must have a separate register for the Hermes stuff, so they can't use their cashfree devices even if they have them, those are linked to their own cash registers.

The POs for DHL / Deutsche Post aren't exclusively for mail and parcels anymore, too. You'll encounter them next to and linked to a travel shop or a stationery store quite often, and although they usually have some specifically schooled personnel working in the shops, sometimes it's only the employees of the other shop that are taking over a shift. So there is not too much of a difference between Hermes and DHL in that regard anymore.
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Zopper-Alf wrote:
What do you mean by "main post office" web page? If you are looking for locations, try this map: http://standorte.deutschepost.de/LocationSearch?zip=45%3F%3F...

Take care when looking at the map, you need to go to a store which is displaying the post horn (which you might recognize from Thurn and Taxis), not the ones which only shows a "VP" in the marker!
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J S
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The nearest one for this is:

Lotto Graeve
Rüttenscheider Str. 198
45131 Essen

Mo-Fr 8.30 - 18.00
Sa 8.30 - 13.00
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WARNING!

For non EU-residents keep customs/VAT in mind.

Im sure this is very different from country to country, but in Norway if a package gets stopped for a random check the listed value on the package will not be sufficient, and they will ask for reciepts or invoice. You will then have something like 3 weeks to provide reciepts, after wich time the packet will be returned.

With the Spiel beeing almost exclusively cash only with no recipts, you might never be able to claim your packege if its stopped!

EDIT:
Also be aware that for Norway if listed value is more than 200nok, DHL will charge you 25% added VAT of listed value and shipping cost in addition to a customs declaration charge (Im not sure how much this is atm, but somewhere between 100nok and 250nok would be my guess). Listing a suspicously low value greatly increase the chance of package beeing checked.
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Daniel Z.
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Traitor76 wrote:
WARNING!

For non EU-residents keep customs/VAT in mind.

Im sure this is very different from country to country, but in Norway if a package gets stopped for a random check the listed value on the package will not be sufficient, and they will ask for reciepts or invoice. You will then have something like 3 weeks to provide reciepts, after wich time the packet will be returned.

With the Spiel beeing almost exclusively cash only with no recipts, you might never be able to claim your packege if its stopped!


I think adding the recipts is advisable for every country. In germany it is the same as you said for incoming packages. But as far as I know one of the last steps is to estimate or look up the prices, if you have no recipt. So you still get your package, but maybe you have to pay more duty, than necessary. Additionally I cannot imagine that you get no recipt, if you explicitly ask for. Anybody with experiance in that? I never asked.
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Jason, please read this thread instead:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/425901/how-to-ship-games-bac...

After using Hermes, I would not use them again. There's a much better paketshop run by a gamer friendly bloke.

Always check opening and closing times of shops or post offices. They don't run the same hours you'd expect at home.
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Mr Penguin wrote:
Google translate seems to suggest that the post office next to the main train station (at Willy-Brandt-Platz 1) is open 24 hours. Can a German speaker confirm this or post what the actual opening hours are.

The opening hours are
Quote:
Mo - Fr 08:30 - 19:00
Sa 09:30 - 15:30
So –

As far as I am aware, you won't find any post offices in Germany that are open 24/7, I think there are even laws that prevent opening hours like that. There are self-service terminals for getting postage stamps and even some for receiving and sending parcels that are accessible all the time, but for a foreigner I'd heavily suggest to use a staffed office.
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Mr Penguin wrote:
Google translate seems to suggest that the post office next to the main train station (at Willy-Brandt-Platz 1) is open 24 hours. Can a German speaker confirm this or post what the actual opening hours are.

Thanks.

Mo-Fr: 8:30-19
Sa: 9:30-15:30
 
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Thanks, I did manage to get the translator to play more nicely but good to get it confirmed. I didn't think that 24hrs sounded right (is there anywhere in the world with a post office that stays open round the clock?) I assume it must have been refering to the stamp vending machines.
 
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Anyone have done this before? How easy is it?
 
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MarceloPT wrote:
Anyone have done this before? How easy is it?


I wrote a whole new thread with a lot more info based on my personal experience here: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/425901/how-to-ship-games-bac...
 
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One suggestion...get insurance on the package. I moved last year from Germany to the U.S. and send a bunch of my stuff in packages via DHL to the US (including part of my boardgame collection).

The lost one package that had my Twilight Imperium 3rd ed. collection, Descent base games and several expansions and Fortune and Glory plus a bunch of other "valuable" stuff. The total value was over $1300 and they paid me like 270 Euro (I had to pay 95 Euro to ship it) as they pay per kilogram and not by value (for US shipments).
 
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