A Very Strange Package. (with pictures!)

This isn’t in the pit because I’m really not mad about it or pitting anyone. I just find it incredibly bizarre.

I had a very strange experience with the postal service, today.

I went out to get my mail today, and there was a little slip in my mailbox saying that I had a package, and that they had missed me. I have a lot of postal issues that I won’t get into, involving them refusing to knock or ring my doorbell (they see no car in my driveway, assume no one is home, and just throw a slip in my box without ever knocking). But, I digress.


I got my little postal slip, with no sender name filled out, my name mis-spelled, my address incomplete, and no bother of checking off the box that says the package is at the post office. So, I called them to figure out what was up. I was not expecting any really large packages.

There was a real hassle figuring out how to get this package, because I have no transportation of any kind and the thing was apparently huge. I managed to get to the post office to get it, and was a little surprised.

It was a very large, very damaged box. Holes were poking through everywhere. It was covered in tape. It was covered in plastic. It was marked ‘received damaged’. Now, the only thing I was expecting in the mail were a couple of small books that had been shipped to me via slow ‘surface’ mail from overseas. Apparently this was my package!

I was very puzzled, still, and brought it home to see what was going on.

The box literally fell apart as we tried to carry it inside. Pictures were taken with my cellphone, so they’re not the best, but they should be adequate.

This is what the box looked like upon getting it into the house:


It seems that the customs form was put inside a plastic bag, and then taped to the bottom of the box:


And um. This is what I found inside:


This weighed at least 50 lbs. Closer to 100, but I don’t have a scale. I could barely lift it, and I’m not a TOTAL wimp.

The books that I had been expecting were sort of in there. They were somewhere in that mess, bent and damaged. All of that other stuff? There are dictionaries, encyclopedias, exercise videocassettes, a curling iron, some random textbooks in a handful of languages (Italian, French, German, Spanish, Portugese), and some binders that look like they’re full of reports or notes in Spanish. There were car magazines, and political and economics books in various languages. There were philosophy and biology textbooks.

Yes, that bag was in the box, and most of the books were really in the bag, just like they are, there. Some had fallen out, though, and things were knocking around loose.

Color me very confused. I’m guessing that there were packages damaged in transit, and they simply threw everything in a box and slapped my address label/customs form on it.

But my customs form clearly stated the couple of books that were supposed to be in my package, so I’m really at a loss, a completely confused and bewildered loss, as to why they mailed me all this stuff!

I’m not angry, but I’m definitely puzzled!

Maybe a White Elephant gone awry?

You probably got the remaining 3/5 of my college books that were lost en route to home ye many years ago. :wink:

Kidding aside, that is definitely very, very weird. Did you ask the sender about it yet?

So that’s what Homeland Security does with all the stuff it confinscates, it sends it along with random packages.

Weird package! Still, at least it was mostly full of random books. Not, for instance, a consignment of Limburger cheese or exotic snakes or anything. :smiley:

You, more than anyone I’ve come across, need… nay MUST take part in our White Elephant this year. It’s usually around October, if I remember correctly.

That’s so cool. I’m totally jealous.

Something similar happened to me, except in my case it wasn’t a package but a letter. I think they (the folks at the post office) just gathered up a bunch of random “lost in transit” mail, and stuffed it in an envelope and slapped my address on it, because there was something for me in the batch. It also contained a bunch of pictures of someone’s trip to somewhere in Europe–I couldn’t really tell where, though, because everything was in a foreign language! I felt badly for whoever that was meant for, because I had no way of finding out who and I ended up tossing the pictures out. :frowning:

Curiouser and curiouser.

My sister looked at the box of garbage when she got home from work, and discovered, among the random books and garbage (and the fact that one of the books had a receipt from a bookstore in DC from 2003 stuck in it), this:


(Name edited to protect the addressee’s privacy just in case…)

Apparently the package was from BARBADOS and needed to go to CHILE.

Somehow… I wound up with it.

I’ll be calling the Post Office first thing in the morning. It looks like they ripped off the address flap from the original box, and just threw it in a bigger box with my label on it.

Odd, indeed. Hopefully the post office can find it’s rightful owner. So few packages are actually lost in the mail that I’d like to think that the PO can redeem itself somehow.

At the very least I found a contact email for the office where it came from, so I can email them myself.

If you did receive the books you anticipated, what do you have to complain about? Do you have any idea what used books are worth today - try $1. HOw do you think a large org. can deal with people whining about a bunch of $1. items? I worked in a USAF APO for a while and what one learns there is that a vast sector of the population lives in ding dong world. They brought in packages barely fit for hand transport and suggested that we better treat these right. 3x per yr., older women always brought in homemade cookies - always in a shoe box - the weakest container ever made - and inevitably wanted them insured (how much are homemade cookies worth?) and many came in to complain that their cookes arrived broken. These are the very humans who have demanded the use of voice mail and the avoidance of all possible human contact by their relentless time-wasting, petty, silly routines. This is 2008 and it is time depart the shire of Ding Dong World and start to live in real time. It is always the shipper’s obligation to package sufficiently to get the goods to their destination.

I didn’t see any complaints on my part. I only remarked that it was bizarre.

And I didn’t receive my mail, but it’s not that big a deal. Nothing terribly expensive, or anything worth a lot. If it was that important, I would have paid for insurance or EMS.

I was more concerned with getting these items to the person they belonged to. I called the post office today and they had my mail carrier pick them up so they could try to send them to the proper person.

Not sure what your gripe with me is.

I believe it has something to do with living in Ding Dong World.

Clearly, the poster discriminates against pastries of colour, and appears to feel that homemade cookies are not deserving of good treatment. He’s a pastry-ist.

(not to mention someone who hasn’t been out shopping for used books lately… I can’t recall the last time I bought a book secondhand for less than $5, let alone $1)

Sorry, left out the ‘all’ (bolded). Some of the stuff was missing. But again, not that big a deal.

Once when flying back from someplace, maybe Germany, we got some stuff that was not ours place in our suitcase. It was 2CD’s, (something I didn’t like), and some magazines. I thought it was pretty ironic that security was the one putting a stranger’s stuff in my bag.

It didn’t occur to me to give it back.

:frowning: I must be out of the loop. I don’t even have one ding dong on the premises, let alone live in a ding dong world. Where are all these dings that should be donging for me? Or is that dongs that should be dinging for me? Either way!

I figure postal service is a shitty job, and I make sure I treat my postal carriers extra nicely. None of the ‘omg where’s my stuff@?!@@!’ hollering from me.

I get and send a lot of packages sometimes, and I’ve had really stupid mistakes happen. Like when something got sent to Tennessee instead of Vermont (to me) when there was nothing wrong with the addressing on the package, and I had paid for Express Mail because I needed the item by a certain day. Or packages that were damaged due to no fault of the packager. Or a package that I paid for delivery confirmation on that a postal worker simply didn’t deliver (and I was told this directly by the post office, I’m not just speculating. It got an arrival scan at a local office and then just disappeared. There was no delivery scan, ever made.) That disappeared, was never delivered, and I was never given any compensation for it. I’ve had items snapped in half, bent when the packages said DO NOT BEND and were sufficiently packed to prevent bending, torn by accident in machines, and ripped open before they ever reached their destination. But them’s the breaks. If it’s expensive or important, I insure it or pay the expensive express and priority fees. I get how the system works. I might even get upset about it, but I surely wouldn’t take that out on a post office worker.

Generally if there’s a problem, I contact the appropriate person and try to get things straightened out. If they made a mistake, I expect them to try and rectify it to the best of their ability.

Like the mistake of me ending up with 50+lbs of weird books that were supposed to be sent to Chile. I called, explained the problem, and it was addressed. And the postal worker I talked to at the main office and my carrier were both quite nice and helpful.

You’d think I went off on a murderous pot-and-pan banging tirade at my mail carrier or something with all that dinging and donging going on.

Also, I buy lots of used books, and I can’t recall ever paying a buck for one. It’s highly dependent on what kind of book it is. In a postal insurance sense maybe they decide the value of a book is a buck, just like the airlines decide they can pay you cents on the pound when they lose your luggage?

Postal worker checking in…

Yes, the world’s postal administrations are staffed by underpaid and overworked folk who can’t (honestly CAN’T as opposed to DON’T WANT TO) give your parcel the kid gloves treatment.

By the photos, the sender packaged the article badly. I see this every day at work. The posting public has NO FRIKKIN’ IDEA about packaging. They think, for example, “PARCEL WITH OBJECT IN IT = HEAVY” and “PAPERS = LIGHT”. Actually a contanier of average standard letters (papers) weighs about double a container of average parcels (teddy bears, whatever).

The worst is an entire ream of paper wrapped in a single sheet of cheap brown paper. Those suckers can explode just by being looked at.

RULE OF THUMB: If it can’t be safely dropped six feet onto concrete, don’t post it. This might sound extreme, but it’s not hard to organise, and if you can get a large physical object clear across the country in a day or two for a couple of bucks, you get what you pay for. The postal service isn’t bad - but people have unrealistic expectations of it.

The package that I got was not the original package my items were in.

The package I got was the package that the post office repackaged stuff into. It might have been the original package that all those heavy books were packed into. It probably was.

It wasn’t my original package, though. My original package should have been small, and light. So my puzzlement is basically wondering what caused them to toss my few small items into the large package and stick my customs form on it. I’m assuming that my package was somehow damaged or opened, along with this other package, since that seems like the logical answer, and everything somehow got grouped together.

That said, large or even moderate amounts printed matter are generally HEAVY and need to be packaged well. People sending packages should really learn that. Book corners, especially, can easily break through shoddy packaging. I always pad and tape my book corners, and I try to secure the items inside from moving around to cause damage, when I send something.

How do Ho-Ho’s fit into all of this? What if we’re really living in a Ho-Ho World??

Back when some friends of mine were living in England, we would occasionally mail magazines back and forth in our packages. I remember having to list the contents as “books”; anytime “magazines” was used, they would be mysteriously missing from the package.