I took a walk to the post office today to send out a package from a project I was working on for a client. The envelope was thick, consisting of two copies of a 68-page plan, punched with a three-hole punch, and each document was bound by one of those little black paper clips.
I addressed the envelope, sealed it, and handed it to the post office guy.
"Oooh, you're just over," the guy told me. I could see him hanging the envelope half off the scale to see if he could bring the weight down enough to send the envelope as regular mail instead of parcel mail.
"You're about a sheet of paper over the limit," he informed me, "If you send it like this, it's going to cost about $12 instead of $2. If you send it like this through Expresspost, it'll cost you $24."
The post office guy hinted several more times that the package was just a sheet or two over the weight limit.
Not wanting to shell out $10 or $20 more than I had to, I said, "Maybe there's something I can do about that."
Retrieving the package, I carefully pulled back the sticky tab that sealed the envelope and pulled out one of the tiny black paper clips. Resealing the package, I handed it back to him.
Oh, so close.
I retrieved the package again and took out the second clip.
That did the trick.
The sticky tab wasn't as sticky any more and the post office guy said, "We'll put some tape on that once we've got it processed here," implying that the package was so close to the weight limit that even a small strip of tape would make the package too heavy.
I held the little black paper clips, not feeling their weight in my hand, marvelling that something so small could cost $10 or $20 to mail.