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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Return to Sender

We just received back in the mail a package with an "unclaimed" sticker and no postage due that had been sent to South Africa last March, ten months ago.  The book ordered was called Living on 12 Volts with Ample Power and it was going to our customer in care of his yacht club.  When the customer didn't receive the book in the expected time frame, he emailed me and I was able to find another copy of this fairly unusual expensive book (and ours had been signed by the authors, although that probably wasn't its selling point), and send the new copy via registered mail to South Africa, rather than via the flat rate priority mail envelope, which only costs $13.45 to mail, but does not have tracking.   We rarely have problems with books not reaching their destination, and I had no problems sending to South Africa previously, but occasionally packages are "lost."  So I just figured the book had been lost or stolen and shrugged my shoulders.

The returned package was pretty worn around the edges, and there was a tear at one corner, but inside the book (which had been double wrapped in a recycled used priority mail envelope) was still in the "Near Fine" shape it had left our store in.

I emailed our customer with the news:

Hi G.  Just wanted to let you know that today I received back the gone-missing of Living On 12 Volts you ordered from us last March.  It was returned in its original packing with no postage due, with a stamp from the South Africa post office marked "unclaimed."  We're glad to have it back, something I never expected.  Hope life is well on your boat.
He responded:   Hi Amy.  Wow, I am amazed, that is really good news, I was convinced it had been stolen, I went to so many different post offices in Durban looking for it.  We are now in Tanzania, sailing/chartering around Zanzibar, and things are going well.  The book has been most useful, its my electrical bible!
Thanks for letting me know, its a relief all round I think.  Kind regards, G.

Another book sent to a different customer in South Africa, also was apparently "lost' in September.  It may show up yet.
Reading Notes
I have been reading a lot less since before the Christmas holidays... but I am currently reading Zadie Smith's White Teeth.  I'm only about a quarter of the way into it so far, but I recognized one section as something I had read an excerpt from previously.  It's well-written and quite funny.

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