I made a couple of mail order purchases recently and because of one thing or another, I needed to visit the post office to send them on; either on to a different address or back for a refund.

The item I was sending on was to a friend of mine who worked with me at Jeep Truck Engineering (JTE). Her daughter just turned a year old and I missed the party. I purchased a cute pajama set on-line but couldn’t find anywhere on the site to update the “Ship to” address. So, after I finished up my order, I called the website ( and updated the address. A few days later I received an email from someone in Customer Service saying the following:

“Unfortunately, we were unable to change the shipping address for your order and this has been dispatched to your address in Romeo.

I apologize for our error and confirm that we will reimburse you for the postage costs for re-directing the order to “your friends” address in Detroit.

I would be grateful if you could e-mail me a confirmation of the postage cost and I will then refund this to your credit card.”

How nice!

The item I was returning was a book on Road Rallies. Jerome and I are currently organizing a road rally for our MINI club and would have really liked some new ideas to help us out in the planning. I looked on and found one for road rallies (The Road Rally Handbook: The Complete Guide to Competing in Time-Speed-Distance) – looked like it would be a good resource, so I bought it. When it arrived, Jerome and I opened it up and realized that the road rally that this book was referring to was the racing road rallies that usually happen on back roads (usually dirt – Natural Beauty Roads) up north. It was about calibrating and modding your car so that it could go faster, etc. Not quite the same.

On Saturday, on my way out to do several chores, I stopped at the Romeo Post Office to send these packages out. For the clothing item, I needed to purchase an envelope from the post office. Not a problem, I was expecting to do so. Other than the Priority Mail envelopes, the only other envelopes they provided at that location were the decorative envelopes with a bold design all over them. If you purchased one of these, you were then (sort of) forced into also buying a label (extra 0.49); since there would be no way that you could legibly write an address on this envelope.

OK, I did that – then with the next package, I needed to also purchase a label (another 0.49), since they do not provide anything like that. I also needed to tape the box up. I had left it open for a reason; so they could see the contents. When I asked where the tape was so that I could tape this up – the clerk told me that I would need to purchase the tape (extra 3.29). She then told me that most people come to the Post Office prepared. I was getting annoyed. I tried not to let it show too much, but I’m not really good at hiding. As she was tallying up my order – which also included a book of stamps and delivery confirmation – I was trying to form my question. “Could I donate the rest of this tape?” She said no, take it home, I’m sure you will use it. I said “I’m sure I would use it to, but I find it very inconvenient that there is no tape available here for those that are not prepared”. She told me that I could not do that because then the public would assume that the Post Office provides these things.

hummm...go figure.

She handed me my receipt and quickly left the area. There were no other customers.

Well, writing it all down really takes the fire out of it. Seems trivial. It wasn’t at the time. By the way, my total that day at the Post Office was $21.13. Crazy.

The nice thing is that Boden USA (which is located in the U.K.), refunded the cost of the postage, the envelope and the label AND gave me a $10 credit voucher that has no expiry date. I think they made a return customer out of me.


Anonymous said…
Hi little sister-
So this is what people talk about on blogs...the Postal Service! Hmmm.
Are blogs the new daily journals?
Guess this will be a good way of keeping in touch with my sisters.
I've asked my kids to help me create a blog - but I think it will involve me getting a new computer, first! Then a new digital camera so I can upload pix! Then......
You see where this is going!
Now that I know where to find your blog - you'll be hearing from me :-)

bigger sister
baby sister said…
I know!...BORING!

YES! That's EXACTLY what people do with blogs. Some people have more of a talent for idle chit-chat (like you), but I was so annoyed when I left the PO, that I thought - I have to write this in my BLOG!

I'm sure others use this medium as a way to change the world or be humorous or help people out with projects - but yeah, it's just a daily journal for me :)
Anonymous said…
Hi Mini-moo,
Another week later...I have my OWN P.O./UPS experience to contribute!

This is Austria...the land of order, second to Switzerland. But something goes terribly wrong with their postal system. Yes, WORSE than in America!

Over the past three years of mailing bills with checks back to America, I'd say the Austrian Post Office has managed to lose at least 35 pieces of my mail. They have no qualms and no explanations. Just missing! Mind you, the checks are never cashed. So, I'm left to imagine that in some dusty corner in some very old post office building downtown are aging envelopes to Sears, JC Penney and the like, with my return address on them.

New dilema.
Second child is going off to university in America.
There is a need to MAIL a few boxes of her belongings to the States. Egads! What to do ?

In search of a better solution, I check out our very own "Mail Boxes, Inc." where they use UPS to ship things. The man behind the counter is an American! Been in Vienna longer than he can remember.
He is trying to push UPS over the Austrian mail system. An easy sell, since so many of us Americans suffer the same plight with undelivered mail.

Daugher packs up three heavy boxes of belongings weighing 35 kilos (approx. 77 pounds).

I call the UPS salesman for a quote.
And, just because I'm my mother's daughter and have a hidden thread of thriftiness running through me. ( shows up on RARE occassions), I reluctantly called the Austrian Post Office for a quote as well.

The final tally to ship 77 pounds to the USA....
Austria Post = 142 euros / $225.00
(insured, and four weeks travel)
UPS = 496 euros / $788.64
(insured - one week travel-trackable)

So, even though I will have to send off each box WITH a SPECIAL PRAYER, and REGISTERED (may add to the tally), I will have to use the Austrian Postal service!

No more complaints from Americans about the price of ANYTHING on that side of the pond!!
(as of today, we are paying $8.45 per gallon of gasoline!)

Dusty pockets,
bigger sister
baby sister said…
See!...I knew you had it in you to be cheap :)

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