Blue Bottles

My Mom had a favorite painting of blue bottles that she picked up somewhere decades ago. It was the last of her personal belongings that she had with her in the hospice. My brother shipped it up to his place, and I set it on to Germany today - at a very dear price.

I started out at FedEx - they wanted $575 to ship it. I carried it on to the USPS post office and waited in line, listening to the surly postman behind the counter deal with all the people in line before me. He ran through his litany "do-you-need-stamps-stationary-or-a-passport-renawal-form-sir-will-that-be-all"? so fast, I didn't understand it until the third time.

No, the box was too big. He measured it twice. I pointed out that it had been mailed TO my brother, so it should be possible to mail it on. No, 108 inches was the MAXIMUM. I needed to go to UPS.

I went outside and sat on a bench, having no idea if there was a UPS in the area and no mobile phone with internet connection to find out. The lady after me came out, saw me sitting and offered to drive me to UPS. They were very nice there, but it was going to be $580. For $5 I was not going back to FedEx to send it.

When I got home, I googled. And yes, there is an oversize rate for packages. Mine was 125 inches, 130 was the max for this kind of parcel. So I wrote an email to USPS - they need to train their people in the rates they offer and in being friendly.

At that price, I could have reserved an additional seat on the plane for the picture...

Update: The USPS answered within 24 hours - for international packages, the postman was correct, 108 inches is the max. So he was just surly.

No comments: