It’s all in the packagingPublished 12:52pm Sunday, October 6, 2013
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“Hey, Honey,” I said, “do you think you could mail a microscope for me today?”
“Sure,” he answered, as easily as if I’d asked him to pick up a gallon of milk. And here begins the story of a microscope and its move from a closet shelf in the great state of Mississippi to its new home in Edmond, Okla.
Let me say up front that I have nothing against microscopes. I enjoy peering through an eyepiece at paramecium and onion root tips as much as the next person. But I’d sold it to someone two states away and scoured our attic in 100-degree heat for the original “MI-4100” packaging, eventually settling for a ceiling fan box. How was I to know you can get arrested for mailing a microscope in a ceiling fan box? Taped and labeled with care, it looked pretty good to me, and off it went to work with my poor husband.
Lunch break found him in line, four deep, at a Jackson post office where the microscope – well, really the package – met with instant disapproval. Arched eyebrows. A “didn’t your mother teach you anything?” sigh. And this interesting bit of information. “The workers in the back won’t know it’s a microscope. They might think it’s a ceiling fan and throw it around.”
Really? She went on, clarifying the finer points of postal protocol: Pictures on the outside. Staples. Tsk, tsk. By then the lunch line of other customers was growing impatient. My husband says he could feel the heat of their glares reflecting off our box’s illegal fan photos.
With the clock ticking, he decided to go beyond the call of duty and seek another box. In a dumpster out back.
You got it. In one fell swoop my husband earned more brownie points than I could if I served him homemade French fries and half-hour back massages every night for a week.
“My only concern,” he remembers, as the episode unfolded, “was I might be under surveillance.”
Moments later he was back in line with a better box – no staples, no photos. Just some tape he transferred from the reject to cover a few oil drips he found on the bottom of the new one. At least he thinks they were oil drips.
Unfortunately, this one flunked as well. “Too much movement,” the postal person – the same postal person – announced, promptly putting her unused “fragile” stamp back on its blotter.
Hours passed. My husband, determined more than ever to win, did another round of diving at his own workplace and culled something to fix the movement issue. Stuffed with pink and white shipping peanuts, every oil spot covered and every corner taped, the package was presented again – 10 minutes before closing.
Third try, same post office. A tense silence fell as the box was lifted, jiggled, and eyed from every angle. Seconds passed. When the authority finally snapped, “Okay, fine. Do you want insurance?,” my husband says it was actually somewhat of a letdown.
“ If only the lunch line could have been there to see it,” he mumbles wistfully.
To top everything off, I received this text from the buyer a few days later (and I am not joking): “Wow! Package came today! Great job packing it all!”
Sure, sure, great job. What else can I say, except what I’ll be saying all week?
“More fries, Honey? Coming right up.”
Wesson resident Kim Henderson is a freelance writer who writes for The Daily Leader. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.