Going postal

I was so proud of myself when I filled out the customs form. “Total value of imported goods: $120.” It’s true that I’d bought a cashmere sweater in Paris ($100 value), and a book ($20 value).

But—thanks to a customs loophole—there was no need to declare the tuna ($30 value), the Ariel detergent ($30 value), the chocolates ($60 value), or the salad dressing ($10 value) I’d mailed home.

Alas, my genius plan had one small flaw: The cap on the salad dressing was apparently not designed to actually contain the product. So when I went to pick up my package at the post office last night, the clerk said “I’m so sorry” as he handed me a moist, moldy box.

It’s never good to see your contraband wrapped in haz-mat plastic.

I felt like I was doing an alien autopsy as I gingerly removed the contents one by one.

I was relieved that my wide-angle converter lens had been spared a creamy, garlic-and-chives demise.

And I was amused to see that some of the unneeded tampons I’d tossed in the box had done their super-absorbent best to sop up the spill.

In the end, I was able to salvage the tuna, the bath gel, and much of the detergent I’d bought for my friend Laurice. The three boxes of mini-chocolates from Maxim’s, however, were a loss. Sigh.

I’m disappointed, but I’ve learned an important lesson: Next time, I’ll seal the salad dressing lid with tape. And then I’ll send it home in Esteban’s luggage.

Just kidding, honey …

By the way: In spite of my mishap with this shipment, I highly recommend the French postal service. For €42 you can mail home as much as you can fit in one of these extra-large Colissimo boxes, up to a total of 7 kg., and it usually arrives within about a week. It’s a great way to send home a big ol’ pile of souvenirs without having to schlepp an extra suitcase.

17 comments

  1. Hey, being able to salvage tuna and bath gel and camera lenses all in one shot, that deserves some sort of award. May I be the first to offer you a golden super-absorbent hug 🙂

    • Bah, oui … c’est dommage. Mais pas le fin du monde. As for the detergent: My friend Laurice *adores* the French version of Ariel, which has a different fragrance than here in the States. After lovingly hand-washing each of the little packages yesterday, I must say I’m quite taken with the apples-on-steroids aroma myself. Maybe you and Silke should try it?

  2. Not sure what this says about me, but it’d take an awful thick layer of creamy garlic & chives to keep me from tearing into those chocolates anyway, no matter how many shame-filled showers and mouthwashes were needed afterward. Oh wait — I do know what that says about me: I will be fat one day.

    • Ha, ha! You will *never* be fat, Corey — especially if you continue exploring your beloved Paris on foot. But it’s good to know I’m not the only one who might eat garlic-and-chive-covered chocolates. Or Ariel-and-tuna coated chocolates, for that matter. 🙂

      How are things in Paris today, anyway? Sure do miss her — and you.

  3. NEXT TIME, WRAP YOUR SALAD DRESSING IN MAXI PADS, THAT SHOULD SOAK UP ANY SPILLS, WELL FOR AT LEAST A FEW HOURS. WHAT A BUMMER TO RECEIVE YOUR PACKAGE TO ONLY FIND A BIG MESS! THAT HAPPENED TO ME ON A VACATION. I ARRIVED AT MY DESTINATION ONLY TO FIND MY SUNTAN LOTION EXPLODED IN THE AIRPLANE AND ALL OVER THE CONTENTS OF MY ENTIRE SUITCASE. NEXT TIME I TRAVELED, “EVERYTHING” WAS IN PLASTIC BAGS! GLAD YOU MADE IT HOME!

  4. Well done with your “alien autopsy”, I haven’t caught up with the last of your Paris posts yet, I’m saving them for when I have enough time to enjoy them with my feet up and a nice cup of coffee. 🙂

    • Truth be told? Me neither. But such is the nature of friendship: I’d schlepp horse manure home from Europe, if it made a dear friend happy.

  5. As usual you manage to turn a mishap into a laugh! How awful, but how funny about the tampons. (You are the only person I know who would show a photo of them on your blog. Loud and proud, girl. 😉 )

    The main thing is, thank God you didn’t pack the cashmere sweater in the same box!

    • Ha, ha! Thanks for the props on that tampon photo, Beastie. In hindsight, I realized it’s probably kind of weird to mail home my surplus *ahem* “hygiene products.” But — for once — my weirdness paid off. And for what it’s worth, I don’t think I would have managed the same level of levity had my cashmere sweater gotten ruined. (Of course, then you’d be writing to compliment my highly creative cursing. Ha.)

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