We’ve Got Mail!

From simple packages tied with twine to florescent envelopes covered in flashy characters and graphics, the daily mail call is always full of surprises.

During each GFI granting cycle, our mailbox receives every form of postage and packaging imaginable, and each day, we send materials to venues, schools and journalists across the country. Luckily, GFI intern Angelica Dongallo makes sure everything comes in and goes out smoothly. Here, she highlights a few misadventures while shipping and handling at GFI and pays tribute to the timeless appeal of snail mail.

When I first started my internship at GFI, I had no idea what the difference was between first class and media mail. Or how you have to go to the post office to send a package if it weighs more than 13 ounces. Or how to calculate how much postage goes on different-sized packages.

In a classic “intern” tale of one of my first weeks here, I used the online postage calculator on the U.S. Postal Service website, only to realize too late that I had calculated the weight for a 5-pound, 5-ounce package, instead of a 5.5-ounce package. Big difference!

I only bring this up because of recent reports that the Postal Service plans to close 2,000 branches within the next two years in order to save more than $500 million. What will GFI do without the postal service (knock on wood)?

As a distribution assistant, I have come to learn that USPS is the cheapest way for us to send screeners, DVDs or pitch packets to our contacts. And despite spending too many an hour in line at the post office filling out customs forms and weighing packages, these seemingly ordinary and inconvenient tasks are actually quite fulfilling. They bring back the nostalgia associated with the not-so-olden days when we used to send handwritten letters instead of emails and telegrams instead of tweets. There’s an indescribable feeling associated with the mailman delivering a package addressed to you, adorned with colorful stamps and unique scrawl, and I hope for all our sakes that we do not lose this facet of society anytime soon.

Angelica Dongallo is a graduate of UC Berkeley and a former editor and writer for The Daily Californian student newspaper. She has also contributed student columns to the Contra Costa Times and the Concord Transcript. Angelica is currently an intern at the Global Film Initiative.

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