Friday, June 10, 2005

Adventures in international postage service

When one of the other intenational students in my halls got barred from re-entry after Christmas and I had to send his stuff to him in Texas I used UPS, simply because it was too heavy to take down to the post office and UPS picks up. They did a fine job and I like to reward good service so when I found myself with a backpack full of yarn destined for my home in Toronto, they were the first company I called. This time, however, I was informed that they don't do personal (as opposed to business) service to Canada. They do it to America, but not Canada. Come on! It's not like I'm talking the Yukon, here; it's Toronto! It's below the 49th parallel!

OK, fine. So next I call Fedex. Fedex tells me that they charge by actual weight or dimensional weight whichever is more expensive!!! So for my large backpack they estimated the dimensional weight to be 38kg - not even close to the actual weight - and that it would've cost over 200 pounds! I wonder how in the world they would calculate something as abstract as "dimensional weight".

So on to the fine government services at Royal Mail. I put the backpack on my back (it's thicker than three of me and covers 2/3 of my height) and walked the 15 minutes to the post office. I must've looked quite ridiculous. I probably looked even more ridiculous sitting on top of my backpack desperately trying to get the airline flap to close over the armstraps. It was ultimately a loosing battle. Finally, I arrived at the window and the rather incredulous expression on the face of the postal worker when he realized what I wanted him to mail for me. Since we assumed (rightly) that the address sticker wouldn't stay on the nylon of my backpack, we tried numerous way to encourage it. We ended up rigging up a two-sided address label that we attached to one of the loops with an elastic band and used copious amounts of packing tape to attach the various customs and address labels required. We also put one inside the front pocket in case absolutely everything manages to come off somewhere over the Atlantic. To deal with the errant airline flap, he sat the bag on a swivel chair and attacked it with packing tape like he was securing a hostage. And, of course, this caused much hilarity as the packing tape stuck to everything but my backpack and it took several rounds each time to make it even consider staying put. Eventually, he managed to attract a small crowd of co-workers to watch.

The important thing in all this is that I got my shipment weighed. I am sending home 12.3kg of yarn! *bliss*



At 6:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi,i'm your sp and for some reason your e-mail keeps bouncing me.. can you send me an e-mail so i can try to reply?'s
tia, sp


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