I am at the age where I’m starting to see the next generation birth their babies-well, not literally. A niece and her husband were the first to extend their family. They welcomed a new baby girl and as customary, I wanted to send a few little girly things to mark the occasion. Who knew that sending a tiny new baby a little something could cause such a stir?
After much searching, I finally found the perfect gift. I put the items in my online cart, entered payment information and my niece’s address, hit send, and headed off to bed. Early the next morning I learned my niece had relocated to another street in the same neighborhood, which meant I had sent the package to the wrong address. Seemed like an easy fix since the package had not yet shipped so I called to the store armed with my order number and the new address. “Oh, we can’t change the shipping address,” said the representative named Alex. “You can only change an order within 30 minutes of placing it.” I pressed on, but Alex wouldn’t budge and the address could not be changed. “Let me get this straight,” I thought. “You can’t walk, or even take the elevator, down a few flights, grab the mailing label and a Sharpie, and fix the street address?” He told me to call back after the package had shipped and they would be able to change the address with the shipping company. I knew he was trying to get rid of me because if you can’t change the address when the package is still in-house, you definitely can’t change it after it leaves the building. But I was getting nowhere and it was time to do some real work.
Early the next day I received notice that the package had shipped. I eagerly called back to the store, explained the situation, and relayed the directions Alex had given to me the previous day. Not surprisingly, Alex wasn’t in, but Annie was. “Oh, we can’t change the shipping address once the package leaves the building,” she said. “What? I was told you couldn’t change it before it left the building and now you’re telling me you can’t change it after it leaves the building either! This is crazy-we can put a man on the moon but we can’t change the street address on a mailed package?” Annie’s advice was to track the package using the tracking number and call the local post office once they had received the package. She said the post office would change the delivery address. I think she also wanted rid of me because that sounded fishy.
I tracked the package every day-for 7 days. The virtual truck would show a little forward progress and then nothing-it would just sit there. Some days it even seemed to backtrack. Reba the Mail Lady at the USPS assured me she would relabel the package as soon as it was dropped off at her post office and that she would send me a note letting me know I could sleep that night. I knew Reba well so I trusted her. My kids introduced me to her when we visited Pee Wee’s Playhouse a million times back in the 80s. I felt certain that any friend of Pee Wee’s was a friend of mine and wouldn’t let me down. But she did, at least I think she did. The package tracker showed the baby gift had been delivered, but Reba insisted it never arrived at her office. “That’s odd,” I thought. “Both Alex and Annie said Reba would be the last person to have the package before it went out for delivery.” Reba quit answering my messages.
The stir doesn’t end there. There was a new baby without her girly gift and somebody had it. It was like playing the shell game and I had to guess which building or truck the present was in. I thought I was in luck when I checked back with the store and was told, “Oh, no problem, we can just reship the package.” That was music to my ears. Why in the hell didn’t someone tell me that was an option two weeks ago? I was so excited that fixing what was really my mistake in the first place was finally going to be crossed off my to-do list. “Okay we will send that out today,” said the miracle worker, “to the original address.” Excuse me but, “a sphincter says what?” And, yes, she said “what?”-in my mind anyway. What she really said was, “Yes, we will resend the package to the original address.” “But why?” I asked. “Why would you resend the package to the wrong address? Do I have to play this game for another two weeks? Whoever has the first package doesn’t need another one. One free gift is enough, but accepting two is just wrong. Although if you see a new set of twins at the beach this summer and they’re wearing matching baby bikinis and wrapped in a flip-flop beach towels, tell their mother, Reba, that baby Zoe is still waiting for her gift.