Friday, February 08, 2008

Long-Distance Caring

Why do you suppose it costs so much to send something overseas? I just mailed a package to my lawyer son who is teaching English in Hamburg, Germany, and realized the postage was not much less than the cost of the contents.

I figured it was about time he received something from home, having been gone since late September. I can imagine he is just a little lonely for things American at this point.

So what was in the package? A terry cloth bathrobe – handy when you are living with other people and sharing a bathroom. A watch he had left at home – handy when you are trying to get to the class you are teaching on time. And 10 miscellaneous candy bars, jelly beans, gum, etc. from Trader Joe’s.

The biggest surprise was a postal employee who came up to me in line to advise me how to send these things the cheapest way and then proceeded to help me assemble the box, cram everything inside, and put on layers of tape. He claimed to be an injured mail carrier who had nothing better to do, but what a nice service in a place that usually makes me scream in frustration!

So how much did it cost to send the care package? $37. I’ll bet the same package would have cost $12 to send to my daughter in California. What is it about leaving the US borders that triples the price for the same weight and distance?

It’s money well spent. He’ll now have a warm bathrobe and maybe even have candy for Valentine’s Day. The delivery time – 6-10 days. It’s even trackable with a 1-800 number.


Blogger Kristin said...

I empathize completely. It was nice to have my brother in DC for so many reasons. Guyana was rough. Argentina won't be much easier, and I already have a stack of things to send.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

When they are so far away, you always wish there was a traveler willing to carry a package. Do you understand why it has to be so prohibitively expensive? In my case the poor conversion of $$ to Euros probably means we still saved money by mailing these things!

7:18 PM  
Blogger Jamy said...

Makes the $20 box of scarves I sent to Israel seem like a bargain! I have no idea why it's that much more expensive...but air mail across oceans should cost a little more.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Jamy -- Why should it cost more to fly over water than it does over land? It doesn't make sense.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Jamy said...

Longer distance=higher fuel costs. But not that much higher!

8:34 AM  
Blogger Water Baby said...

I can promise that he will greatly appreciate your package! My mom and dad send me packages and it helps SO much being away from home! I'm lucky to at least be in the same state, even if it is and 8 hour round trip to go home!

1:58 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Jamy -- I figured that any time you fill out a customs form, the postage at least doubles!

WB -- I too remember getting packages from home. It was great, even if I didn't really need what was inside. Hopefully he will enjoy things like the Jelly Beans as he sits around in his new black terry cloth robe!

2:06 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

You can always send it by ship, but it is far slower.

I wonder if there would be a market / business opportunity where you could order online and have it delivered anywhere in the world. Sort of like florists - global ordering, local delivery (prices and selection may vary, batteries not included). I suppose IKEA might be the closest to such a global store.

6:25 PM  

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