A Postal Predicament + Our Beautiful Child

Last year I attempted to mail a package overseas. It turned out to be a nightmare…

The parcel left the country on 28 November 2013 (I confirmed with the local post office despatch)

By the 27 December 2013, it had been returned to me… a speedy-around-the-world-trip LOL.  I was disappointed, frustrated etc… etc…  I first debated whether to leave it at that, or pursue the matter further. Sometimes it's just better to leave these kinds of things as is, because you will simply hit a brick wall… at every turn! I decided to take action…

I filled in an official form of enquiry and prepared myself for a loooong wait. Surprisingly, it was attended to quickly.

Wonders never cease.

According to my post office, the parcel, which was destined for Florida, was sent to Jamaica, New York. So I was curious and asked Mr. Google. Apparently, there is an area in New York called Jamaica. But it still didn't make sense, because according to my limited geographical knowledge, New York and Florida are opposite ends… am I right?

I waited for news from the enquiry. The lady at the post office said that if the fault lay at the other end, then I'd have to pay again and re-send the parcel but that I would be reimbursed thereafter… or something to that effect…

You've got to understand that I was excited, simply because there was COMMUNICATION. Somebody, somewhere, was looking into the matter…

On 07 January 2014, I received a letter from the South African Post Office Customer Services: "… we forwarded an enquiry to the postal administration of the United States and you will be duly notified of the response."

On 24 February 2014, I received another letter from our post office, which was dated 29 January (it took almost a month to get to me… from down the road, literally…)

Anyway, this is what it said: "The postal administration of the United States responded stating that they are unable to confirm reason for return of item. Please provide copy of postage receipt to process refund of postage. The US postal service will be held liable for the refund. Fax the receipt to…….. blah blah blah”

My comments to the intended recipient? I quote: "Ha! I won't hold my breath… First off, nobody can confirm a reason for the return of item. Secondly, I waited almost a whole month to get the update… makes me wonder – who really cares? But I have the receipts and paperwork, so I'll fax the documents through. Maybe… just maybe I'll get a refund and then I can try and post the items through… again…"

On the other end, the intended recipient replied: "No worries Michelle! So sorry it's been such a pain. I did get a letter from US Post asking if I ever received it and I replied that I didn't but that was weeks ago. Get your money back and don't worry about sending. Ok? I love that you tried but its all good! Donate my gift to someone nearby. A student maybe. That'd make me happy."

End of that story.

Meanwhile, on the 15th January this year, a parcel of books was on its way to me (or so I thought). This was a collection of 4 paperbacks SIGNED BY THE AUTHORS, which I had won as part of a Facebook Giveaway/Promo in October 2013. I talk about it HERE. By February 07th, there was still no sign of the parcel. The lady at Postnet informed me that some of the postal service employees had been on strike from the previous week (that would be roughly beginning of Feb.)

A glimmer of hope prevailed…  that explained why I hadn't received the package. February came and went. Early March, I enquired again, and was informed that the the strike was over, but there was a back log. The glimmer of hope was fading… fast!

To date? Still nothing.

I wonder what on earth could have happened to it? I mean, it has to show up SOMEWHERE… doesn't it? *sigh*

And I don't know which scenario is worse – the round trip package or the wayward parcel…?

and just for laughs…USPS-08.jpg

                                                *          *          *          *          *

On a brighter note, I'm excited to share the cover of a new book by Annalisa Crawford. It sounds like my kind of story…

 

 

 
Release date: 10th June 2014         Publisher: Battered Suitcase Press
 
“The Boathouse collects misfits. Strange solitary creatures that yearn for contact with the outside world, but not too much. They sit, glass in hand, either staring at the table in front of them, or at some distant point on the horizon.”
 
… so says the narrator of Our Beautiful Child. And he’s been around long enough to know.
 
People end up in this town almost by accident. Ella is running away from her nightmares, Sally is running away from the memories of previous boyfriends and Rona is running away from university. Each of them seek sanctuary in the 18th century pub, The Boathouse; but in fact, that’s where their troubles begin.
 
Ella finds love, a moment too late; Rona discovers a beautiful ability which needs refining before she gets hurt; and Sally meets the captivating Murray, who threatens to ruin everything.
 
Three women. Three stories. One pub.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I live in Cornwall UK, with a good supply of beaches and moorland right on my doorstep to keep me inspired. I live with my husband, two sons, a dog and a cat.
Despite my location, I neither surf nor sail, and have never had any inclination to try. I much prefer walking along a deserted beach and listening to the waves crashing over rocks. For this reason, I really love the beach in the winter!
 
 
Links:

 

                                CONGRATULATIONS ANNALISA!

70 Comments

  1. Annalisa Crawford on May 28, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing my cover, Michelle.

    The postal services seem to be getting worse, and in the UK prices are spiralling ever higher – it doesn't seem fair. I hope you do get your parcel, you never know!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      Glad I could help out, Annalisa. To be honest? I've given up on the parcel. Better that way, so if it does turn up (which I doubt), that would be an exciting moment!

  2. Southpaw on May 28, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Congrats to Annalisa.

    You must keep us update on the mail saga. It's kind of weird that parcels are having so many problems.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      It seems like a global issue. *sighs* I'll be VERY surprised if that parcel ever surfaces (and I'm NOT a pessimist…)

  3. krystal jane on May 29, 2014 at 12:02 am

    That IS interesting! Congrats to Analisa! (such a great name for a writer, too. ^_^)

    So, that is so weird about the parcels. The post office is so inconsistent. I've gotten things from overseas in as little a week and as long as a month. In the last year, Amazon has had to replace something twice. Both times they resent it UPS, and both times the post office had no idea why they either misdelivered it (in one case) or lost it (in the other case). These were shipping from about 2 hours away. I have nothing to say. Lol! 

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      LOL! So I'm not the only one then? And it seems like "postal incompetence" (I 'm not sure that that is the right word…) is on the increase…?

  4. Medeia Sharif on May 29, 2014 at 1:20 am

    I love Annalisa's cover.

     

    I try not to send things overseas. I've known people who've had nightmare situations doing that. I look forward to teleportation in the future. Even with domestic mail, I get the wrong mail from the next block or from the other side of town. These errors really leave people in a bind. 

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      Well, I've learned my lesson! Though I have to say that I have posted stuff overseas before, and it reached the intended recipient. Teleportation? It will probably come with its own unique set of complications…

  5. Alex J. Cavanaugh on May 29, 2014 at 1:23 am

    I'm sorry! Wow, sad you can't send or receive overseas. That's nuts.

    congratulations, Annalisa.

  6. Trisha on May 29, 2014 at 1:25 am

    Australia Post is pretty shoddy as well.

    It can be such a saga to just get something to a very straightforward address!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      These comments have made me realise that the problem is not unique to my country…

  7. Denise on May 29, 2014 at 4:13 am

    Now I understand more why some competitions are not international. As Trisha says, Australia Post is expensive and inefficient, boo!

    Annalise’s book sounds and looks good.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      Expensive and inefficient pretty much sums it up my end of the world too!

  8. Gina on May 29, 2014 at 6:23 am

    Annalisa's book seems amazing! Congrats!

  9. Rekha on May 29, 2014 at 6:55 am

    Sorry about your postal woes. Courier services are no better. One book was delivered to my old residence (neighbour) instead of being returned to the review site. I was lucky that our tenants have agreed to courier it to me, by the weekend. The worst part is taking the blame when it isn't your fault (I had updated my profile with the new address). 

    This article probably explains why some parcels vanish into the Bermuda Traingle –

    http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140527/north-park/mail-found-dumped-north-park-trash-inspector-general-investigating

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      I'd imagine that courier services are more reliable… more efficient… though aren't they more expensive too? Whichever way you look at it, seems like you can't win at all! Thanks for the link. I'll take a peep when I have a moment. 🙂

  10. Rekha on May 29, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Congrats Annalisa on your latest book. A book i'd want to read for sure.

  11. Michael Di Gesu on May 29, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    What a PAIN…. I don't blame you for your frustration over the matter. Here in the US, prices are INSANE for postage. I spent a fortune sending out all that coffee, but thankfully it did arrive to all the recipients.

    Hang in there, hopefully you'll get your books…

    ALL the best, ANNALISA! 

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      A REAL PAIN! And prices here are also INSANE! Aaaaaaargh! But at least that wonderful coffee reached all the recipients. That's a plus. Count yourself lucky!

  12. L. Diane Wolfe on May 29, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    That is so lame! You shouldn't have to pay for any of that.

    Cheers to Annalisa.

  13. Melissa Maygrove on May 29, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Oy. Not fun.

    Annalisa's making the rounds. Congrats!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      Not. Fun. At. All. I could "strangle" somebody somewhere… (I don't know who…?)

  14. Mary Pax on May 29, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    There is a Jamaica, NY. It's in Queens. I used to live near there…. once upon a time. Sounds like you're having postal gremlins. Maybe you need to perform a cleansing on your mailbox or something. 🙂

    Woo hoo, for Annalisa.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Mailbox cleansing. Good idea. I'm prepared to perform that ritual if it means I get my parcel. 🙂 Can you recommend a reputable mailbox cleansing ritualist?

  15. J.L. Campbell on May 29, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Frustrating, to say the least. That parcel may turn up, someday when you least expect it.

    I've been seeing Our Beautiful Child around. Kudos to Annalisa!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      I sincerely hope so! 🙂 Wouldn't that be wonderful?

  16. Sue on May 29, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    I had to laugh – actually I used to live near Jamaica in NY – and yes no where near Florida – but do beware of US post office. When we moved here to London Ontario relatives from NY sent us mail, which ended up in London UK…. As well lately mail from the US to here is not being delievered. We don't know why

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      So at least Jamaica in NY does actually exist. And my geographical assumptions were spot on! It seems like almost every person has a "horror" postal story to tell…

  17. S. Katherine Anthony on May 30, 2014 at 5:14 am

    Wow, that is insane!

    And since I used to live in Jamaica, NY, I can assure you that it exists. 😉

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      And you're the third person who can vouch for Jamaica, NY!  🙂

  18. Julie K Pick on May 30, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Michelle, Sorry that you had to go through all that, and you still haven't received your books. At least this whole experience has brought you closer to your friends in Jamaica, New York!  All of your good deeds will pay off one day soon.

    Congrats to Annalisa!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      I think you mixed them up. LOL The recipient is in Florida but the parcel landed up in Jamaica, NY instead. I hope the pay off comes in the form of an "unexpected long-awaited-for parcel…"  🙂

  19. Hilary on May 30, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Hi Michelle .. South African post has always been a question mark … but presumably the post-code was correct .. it seems very odd … 

    Your books getting lost – well that's another matter … it's probably going on a sail boat?!  Still I expect and sincerely hope will arrive in due time … 

    Also Annalisa's book .. her cover release looks amazing and the actual date is not far away now .. cheers Hilary

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      We checked. The postal code was correct. And I hope that sail boat comes in this direction one of these days…

  20. Shell Flower on May 30, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    International mail is trouble most of the time. We had a package get stuck in customs in Luxemborg one time that turned into quite a story. In the end my boyfriend got the package and 20 Euros from the head of customs there, but that was about a month after we camped outside a small town waiting for the package for weeks. On another note, Annalisa's book looks intriguing. Lovely cover.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      That sounds extremely complicated! Definitely worse than my experience!

  21. Cherie Reich on May 30, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Congrats to Annalisa!

    Goodness! Sounds like you've had quite the time with the post office. I always hold my breath when I send or am receiving anything from them. They usually do a good job, but sometimes things get lost in transit.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      There appear to be lots of stories about parcels going astray? Where do they eventually get to? Lost Parcel Island? LOL

  22. Jen on May 30, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Oh my! What a postal story. I'm sorry that they are all giving you the run around. I've had odd run ins with the US Post office myself. Nothing detrimental to the sending or receiving of parcels…just annoyances with no one who can tell you a thing about them. Grr..

    Congrats to Annalisa! The book cover is gorgeous and I love the title! Sounds like a good read 🙂 Happy weekend!

    Jen

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      Count your blessings. I could live with minor annoyances… 🙂

  23. LD Masterson on May 30, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Happy to see Annalisa's cover on so many blogs.

    Maybe we should go back to using carrier pigeons. Um…box of books…okay, really BIG carrier pigeons.

     

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      You have quite a point there! Maybe they could breed special pigeons for this purpose… these creatures may just put the "modern" postal service to shame!

  24. Elizabeth Seckman on May 30, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    I swear. Give the governemt a job and they mess it up every time. I'm with the dog. 

    I've been very lucky in my over seas shipments. All made it, even the one that went to Trinidad and Tabago (I had no clue where that was located and had to look it up!)

     

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      A twist on the phrase: going to the dogs?

      Trinidad and Tobago? And it reached its destination? Aren't you lucky…  🙂

  25. C. Lee McKenzie on May 30, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    I'm wondering if there's a conspiracy afoot to get you, Michelle. Or did you sic the dog on the post man?  Graffiti the PO walls? Not lick the stamp? 

    I've seen Annalisa's book just about everywhere today. Congrats again to her.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      I'm still trying to work it out, Lee. Must be some kind of conspiracy.  Just like the "Amazon conspiracy" against me. LOL

  26. Stephanie Faris on May 30, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Sadly, the postal system used to be reliable, but it's going dowhill, I think. I had a post office box from 1995 to late last year. All that time, it worked like clockwork. Every six months, there would be a bill in my box, I'd pay it, life was good. Then in December, I went to check it and it was locked. I went inside and was told that I hadn't paid my bill, so it had been closed two months earlier. I'd been checking it every week, so I knew that wasn't right, but I pointed out that I had to RECEIVE a bill to pay it. They said, "It should have been in your box." I said, "It wasn't." They just shrugged and said they'd started returning my mail to senders a month earlier, despite the fact that I'd been checking it weekly. (No wonder it had been empty all that time!) I told them to cancel my box…if I couldn't rely on them to put a bill in it, I didn't want to rely on them to put my mail on it. Now I'm box-less. I guess I'll have to use the UPS Store for my author mailing address.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      Sounds quite complicated. And I have a feeling that bill you were waiting for must have been mixed up in that return-to-senders batch of mail. LOL

  27. Shah Wharton on May 31, 2014 at 8:55 am

    I live in Dubai, my family live in UK and my mom lives in Spain. We've had so many issues with post it's unbearable. We no longer send or receive parcels. Unless you pay a ridiculous sum, you cannot guarantee you'll get it. Now we wait or order something from an online retailer based in the recipient's country. 

    Hope you get it back 🙁

    I've seen Annalisa's book a lot today. Congrats again! 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      I'm wondering whether paying a ridiculous sum (private courier?) guarantees receipt. It seems that courier services are no better. 🙂

  28. Nick Wilford on June 1, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Those are some pretty big delays/disappearances. Insane! My wife runs a business that relies on sending some quite big parcels. Luckily, no major mishaps so far. The main problem is it's really expensive.

  29. Michelle Wallace on June 2, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Well, that's a relief! Hopefully she never has to be faced with those scenarios. You right, it's expensive!

  30. joylene on June 2, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    I haven't read the other comments, so I hope I'm not repeating what's already said. I think this would make a terrific novel. It's hilarious, so you could make it funny, scarey, or mysterious. Or all three! I'd read it. 

    Congratulations, Annalisa! Book sounds wonderful. 

    • Michelle Wallace on June 3, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      You're the first one to point out the story possibility… (and it would HAVE to be mystery that's the direction my brain would probably go) Or all three? Mmmmm… quite a challenge… 🙂

      You'd read it? Ah, what a sweet comment!  🙂

      A thought – would you like to collaborate on a missing parcel story that goes astray en route from S.A. to Canada… imagine the plot twists we could conjure…? LOL

  31. Jemi Fraser on June 2, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    No matter which country you're in, dealing with the postal service can cause headaches!!! Hope you get your parcel soon! 🙂

    Love the cover and the premise!

  32. Carol Kilgore on June 2, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    I hope your package and your refund show up soon. And better luck, too!

    Best wishes to Annalisa and her book!

  33. Murees Dupé on June 3, 2014 at 9:06 am

    That is definitely a terrible scenario. I would have been pretty upset, but yeah, what can you do? I won a book once from a author in America, but I declined it, because I thought the cost of posting it here would be expensive. But I should have been worried about whether it would get here at all. Sorry that you have had so many troubles. Our postal services can be a pain. I have had many letters just dissapear into limbo. 

    • Michelle Wallace on June 3, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      Our postal service is "horrific"… a real nightmare!

  34. tara tyler on June 3, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    i've had one of those experiences but with an order i made over the internet. it's taken two months, but it seems to be just about over. we will see how long it takes to get my money back. i hope your books (and return) reach you toot sweet!

    and congrats to annalisa! compelling characters!

  35. Michelle Wallace on June 3, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Well, good luck to both you and I! Thanks for popping in Tara! 🙂

  36. Lexa Cain on June 3, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Congrats to Annalisa on the lovely cover!

     

    I ordered 2 books from Amazon and paid for 1st class delivery. (I did this because Amazon refuses to download books – even free ones – to all of "Africa" and I'm in Egypt, officially in Africa.) It was about $50. It's three years and I'm still waiting. All Amazon does is direct me to the shipper. The shipper says once it leaves the US, it isn't their responsibilty any more.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 4, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      Grrrrrrrrr. I feel your frustration! I have what I call a "love-hate relationship" with Amazon.  Your story sounds like a typical situation of "passing the buck". LOL

  37. Lynda R Young on June 4, 2014 at 4:58 am

    I've heard millions of letters and packages go missing in the post every year. I'm thinking mail uses the same black holes as socks…

  38. Michelle Wallace on June 4, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Millions? Crikey! Is it that bad? Worse than what I imagined…  and they probably go to Lost Parcel Island which is adjacent to Lost Sock Island… 🙂

  39. Sammy D on June 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Oh Michelle – the woes of postal "service" (a total oxymoron!). I often ship packages to deployed troops in Afghanistan (and previously Iraq). I ship to Marines who are usually at FOBs, meaning out in the middle of nowhere with a once a month mail/supplies drop from an aircraft. This particular package had some much-needed equipment, so I sent it in a way that I could track it for exact delivery details (so I would know when to ask "my" Marine if he'd received it). It never arrived and I checked with postal service who gave me a 5-page triplicate form to mail to the Marine to complete because HE was the one who never recieved it!! Are you kidding me?!? Stop the war while he fills out the paperwork 🙂

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