Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The question of the day: Should I have hand carried my book material to Australia vs. relied on our postal services

The Survivors of Suicide Event in Queensland Australia

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Survivors-of-Suicide-Bereavement-Support-Association-Inc-SOSBSA/164602631156

This has got to be one of most frustrating days. I got a note from one of the Jennifers in Australia that the package containing my flyers, bookmarks, and a copy of my books that I sent for their October 9 Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Association Inc. Mourning Tea event had not yet arrived. And I sent it out on September 9. After checking with our post office, by phone, online, and in person and with the customs office, I found out there was no way to track the package since it was sent without a tracking code – my mistake. Of course who would have thunk that the package wouldn’t arrive after three weeks? So my next thought was to resend the entire package by Fed Ex overnight. I thought, no worries. Overnight Fed Ex would take care of it.

I went to Kinkos Fed Ex to make more copies of my flyer. And then I got my first clue that sending another package of material wasn’t going to be easy. Fed Ex told me right up front they couldn’t guarantee the package would arrive before Monday – the day after the event. And it would cost $108 if I still wanted to go ahead and send it anyway. Needless to say I did not.

Okay, I then decided to try the post office. Well, I called and the post office person told me that sending my material by Global Guarantee could get it there in 1 to 3 days for $71. Good. I proceeded to put another package together – new flyers, bookmarks and a signed copy of my book – and merrily went back to the post office. Once there I was given two long forms to fill out still with the assurance that my package would arrive within the stated time. But when I got back to the window about thirty minutes later I found out I couldn’t use that service with a post office box number. I needed a real address. I went back home and waited for Australia to wake up and respond to my email asking for another address. Finally about three hours later one of the Jens sent me her home address. I then made a new mailing label and corrected the address on the forms I had completed earlier, and went back to the post office. This time the clerk told me the zip code Jen sent me with HER home address wasn’t valid. She told me to call and get another one. Well, I went out to the lobby and sent her another email, and while waiting for her response I googled the address she gave me – it easily showed up on Google maps. Then I googled zip codes in Queensland Australia and sure enough there it was on the list. I went back in line and waited another fifteen minutes for another turn with the clerk. She still tried to argue with me until she realized she was querying the wrong place – it was a Q for Queensland, not an O for who knows where. Even then she still tried to pawn off other zip codes on my address. She was finally successful getting the address information into her computer but once there, the computer came back to say it wouldn’t guarantee the shipment before Monday – not three days but four. Are you getting why I’m frustrated? My fingers are pounding harder and harder on these keys, but I had to get this frustration down on this page.

So the moral of my story is, do not trust the US post office. They lie. And what is more there is no overnight Fed Ex delivery from California to Australia. It just doesn’t exist. And sending it Global Guarantee would have cost $91 not $71. They also lied about how long my original package would take to get there. I found out that the folks at the post office in Australia say it sometimes takes as long as a month – not the week to ten days I was originally told.

Needless to say I didn’t send another package. I decided not to pay $91 with no guarantee that my package would arrive in time for the event. I sent some of my material by email instead. After all this I’m sure I should have accepted the SOS invitation to attend and speak at the event and personally bring my material with me rather than rely on the U.S. Post Office to get it there.

In the meantime please keep your fingers crossed that my first package – sent exactly one month prior to the event – will still make it to Australia on time.





3 comments:

February Grace said...

I know all too well, my friend, the frustration and cost of mailing items to Australia, believe me (and dealt with the same form frustration...)i was very lucky (but not dumb enough to think it'd work again) that i once mailed a one of a kind painting there and it actually got there in one piece.

I'll admit things seem to be getting worse though- last time I mailed anything they said it'd take 10 days and I think it took almost a month...

Crossing all things crossable that your package will make it in time.

hugs
bru

Madeline Sharples said...

Thanks, bru,
So far all your crossings haven't been fruitful. I haven't yet heard the package has arrived.
I appreciate your kind words and commiseration as always.
xoxo
Madeline

Madeline Sharples said...

The package finally arrived yesterday - exactly one month and two days after I mailed it. But, the material, though it missed the event, will still be used for other meetings there.
What a lesson learned!