We need some homing ravens.
After getting turned on to them by the TV show A Game of Thrones, I’ve been working my way through the 5 novels in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, and quite enjoying them. In these books, messages are sent from place to place via homing ravens and while that may be a tad less efficient than what we have to deal with, receiving hard mail and packages is not without its challenges when one leads a transient lifestyle as we do. The following is an example of what I’m talking about.
During our trip to St. Martin from Bequia, it became obvious that our autopilot was no longer fit to steer our boat. Research and troubleshooting led me to the conclusion that it was simply the drive belt on the autopilot which needed to be replaced, an inexpensive and easy fix, or at least, it should have been. Following a link on our friend Drew’s blog, we ordered two belts ($19.99 each, one to use and one for a spare) and had them shipped to California where we had intended to pick them up when we traveled there for our visit. The company we ordered them from shipped them out within hours of our order and USPS got them to Cali within a couple of days. All was well and when we arrived at our daughter’s house, the belts were waiting there for us along with several other items that we had ordered.
That’s not too bad, right? Right, except for the fact that when we returned to our boat and unpacked our bags after our trip, the belts were nowhere to be found! I don’t know if they got thrown out with the trash or the dog ate them but we couldn’t find them, nor could our daughter when she later searched her house. They were gone.
Oh well, I guess we needed to order two more then.
Do you think maybe Demi hid the belts on us?
A second identical order was placed with the same company only this time, I had the package directed to my sister’s house in Canada. Again, the supplier shipped the order the same day that it was placed and UPS, the shipper this time, also did a good job of getting the products delivered. Crossing the border into Canada though, the order was subject to duty and brokerage fees. Yes, the cost of the belts is adding up. Why ship them to Canada and not directly here? We did have some additional mail that we needed to get into our hands and my sister’s ravens were not up to the task. I thus felt that consolidating the entire shipment into one FedEx package here to St. Martin would be the best option.
My sister was able to repackage the belts and our mail and drop it off to the courier’s office rather promptly and as we’ve come to expect from FedEx, they did their job and got it to St. Martin within a few days. What started off as a pretty inexpensive fix, when all was said and done, turned out to be not quite so inexpensive after all. Here is the final tally:
Would it have been cheaper to have them sent directly to St. Martin? Of course, hindsight is always 20/20. It would also have been less expensive had we not lost the first order! All I hope is that, after spending all that money, the new belt which I installed yesterday, does the trick. If not, I will not be too pleased.