Tale of a missing package

I’ve been selling my old Magic: the Gathering cards piecemeal over the last 4 years, and as indicated here recently I’ve started a renewed effort to sell more of them. I’ve ever had a problem with shipping them to all corners of the globe. Until now.

On 24 April I sent a package of cards to a buyer in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. This morning he sent me a message indicating he hadn’t received them yet. I always send the packages with tracking, so I checked the tracking info on Australia Post’s website and discovered that the only update on there was that the package had been received at my local post office where I lodged it. The next step should be “Cleared and awaiting international departure”, but that wasn’t there. Apparently the package is still in Australia somewhere.

I went to the post office and talked to someone there about it. They brought up the tracking details in their system, which has more info recorded than shown on their tracking website. The delivery address was correct, except for some reason it didn’t display “Canada”. I’m not sure why – I filled out the customs form online and it did auto-completion of the address, so it should know that it’s in Canada.

My theory: I guess the bar code has been scanned and it just shows a street address and Victoria (the city in British Columbia), without Canada, so it got sent by domestic mail to Melbourne, in the Australian state of Victoria. Presumably it’s sitting there somewhere, waiting for someone to figure out that it can’t be delivered, actually read the handwritten address, and realise it’s meant to go to Canada.

So… maybe it will get to international post handling eventually, and from there it should be smooth sailing to the destination in Canada. But… the problem is that the buyer wanted some of those cards specifically because he’s meeting the artist at a tournament on Wednesday next week, and he wanted to get them signed. Even if they figure the parcel out tomorrow and get it on a plane, it’s not going to be delivered to the final address in time.

Also today there was a bit of an incident in my Data Engineering course at the university. The professor and I had to defuse a situation with some members of one of the student teams having a disagreement. I don’t want to go into details, but it was rather uncomfortable and I felt like some lines were crossed. Hopefully we resolved things and nothing similar will happen again.

New content today:

Polarising post office

There are two post offices within walking distance of my place. The closer one is at Greenwich. Its Google reviews are…. highly polarised. They alternate between 5 stars “Excellent service, lovely ladies working here” and 1 star “Rudest service I’ve ever experienced”. Just go look for yourself.

Personally, both my wife and myself have found the service there to be, yes, very rude and unhelpful. We both avoid going there unless we absolutely have to. Instead we walk the extra distance to Crows Nest Post Office, which has much nicer staff. (Although looking at Google reviews for that, it’s also listed as pretty bad!)

Anyway, I mention this because I had occasion to visit both post offices today. Well, I had occasion to visit at least one. I was walking past Greenwich PO with Scully and though I should pop in and grab a prepaid parcel satchel for sending a parcel of Magic: the Gathering cards to the USA. On form, the woman inside told me to fill out an online customs form first and she couldn’t give me a prepaid satchel until I did that. I haven’t sent a parcel overseas for a while and mentioned that the procedure seemed to have changed, and then she went off at me and said it changed two years ago, like I’m some sort of fool for being so behind the times.

Later in the day I had my cards packaged and ready to send… and I decided not to walk the short distance back to Greenwich, but rather the longer one to Crows Nest PO to actually mail my parcel.

In between, for lunch I drove with Scully out to Allambie Heights to get pies at the pie shop there. And to fill the car with petrol at one of the stations along the way, which usually has significantly cheaper fuel than the ones around where I live.

Looks like another hot week, weather-wise. Summer is hanging on with its claws, refusing to give in to autumn.

New content today:

Hot cross buns and fixed email

My email was still not working when I got up this morning. I checked the support request I submitted last night, and found that they’d responded with a very generic “Tell us more about your problem” message. It really looked like an automated message and nobody had read my original support request at all. I wonder if a lot of support centres have an automated response to every initial request like this, to weed out people who don’t really need help, and it’s only if your persist and respond with “more information” that anyone actually looks at your request.

I supplied a tiny bit more info, but honestly any competent support person could have diagnosed my problem from the original message. Within 10 minutes of sending the “more info”, a support person had determined that there was a configuration problem on my email account, and pushed an update which instantly fixed it. If someone had just read my initial message they would have been able to do the same thing last night.

Anyway. It was another cold day today. We’re having a real wintery snap here. Today I had to wear my slippers in the house for the first time since last winter. And wore trousers when going for a walk outside, rather than shorts.

For lunch my wife and I walked with Scully over to the Naremburn bakery, after phoning to check if they were open on the public holiday Monday. They were open, but said they’d be closing early at 1pm, so we went a bit earlier than we’d planned, and had lunch there. They had a new chilli con carne pie, which I tried, and it was pretty good. We bought a half dozen hot cross buns to bring home, only our second batch after getting a first half dozen just a few days ago. These are hand-made specialty ones, which are very dense and stuffed with sultanas, and glazed with a very sticky glaze that has a distinct fruit flavour. Very nice. A bit later tonight I’m going to try heating one up with some chocolate inside…

I also did some cleaning up this afternoon, cleaning the kitchen benchtops and the exterior of the fridge and going through a pile of stuff at my desk from last year’s Primary Ethics which I’m not using any more. And made some Darths & Droids comics. I’m building up a buffer ahead of my trip to Japan in June, and almost have the two weeks I need.

New content today:

Easter lunch and no email

This morning we took Scully for a walk, and then I made a salad to take to my wife’s family lunch for Easter Sunday. Her mother requested I make rocket and pear salad again, as she likes it so much.

I diced beurre bosc pears, drizzled them with a mix of orange and lemon juice to stop them browning and to give some flavour, put them onto rocket leaves, added crumbled blue cheese and walnuts and some extra virgin olive oil. We took it over to lunch and it was a it. We also had roast chicken and vegetables, a scalloped potato bake, and pane di casa bread. And then there was a chocolate raspberry cake for dessert, and of course Easter chocolates, which my brother-in-law gets from a chocolatier near his place. There were Easter bilbies and small eggs filled with various flavours.

When we got home this afternoon I discovered my email wasn’t working. Two different clients (Thunderbird on MacOS ad Apple Mail on iOS) both reported errors connecting to my imap server. I tried webmail on my web and mail host’s domain, but it also reported an error message (“Server Error: STATUS: Internal error occurred.”) and didn’t show me any of my email at all. I double checked the server settings, encryption, and port numbers, and they’re all correct.

But the status page for my webhost says that both imap and webmail are both operational. So I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve submitted a support ticket saying I can’t access either imap or webmail, over 2 hours ago, but no response yet. I’m just going to go to sleep tonight and hope that it’s all fixed in the morning. Otherwise I don’t know what else to do.

New content today:

No shipping for you!

I got an email from a kickstarter that I’d backed some time ago, saying that they’ve now shipped all of the backer rewards… except all of the rewards going to Australia. They said:

Great news! ALL of the Crazy Legs packages have been delivered to the Post Office and scanned in to the tracking system. Many of you have already received your Crazy Legs and the list of happy recipients if going to grow by leaps and bounds in the coming weeks. UNLESS you are from Australia… with current shipping restrictions we simply are not allowed to ship to your yet per current Postal regulations.

This was news to me! What postal regulations???

I asked the question, and it turns out that the United States Postal Service suspended deliveries to Australia on 3 September, 2021, and has not yet reinstated them. I had no idea! Apparently the reasoning was that mail handling facilities in Australia had been disrupted by COVID restrictions. It’s odd that (as far as I know) no other country has suspended mail to Australia, and although slightly slower than normal, our mail seems to be being delivered just fine.

Has anyone told the USPS that this doesn’t seem to be a real problem? Well, not much I can do about it except wait it out and hope the Kickstarter ships the goodies as soon as they are able.

In other news today, a friend of mine has tested positive for COVID. He informed me this morning. And, importantly, he pointed out that this means either he was infected when he visited me at the market on Sunday, or he caught the virus at the market. (My friend has mild symptoms, I should mention – he says it feels like a mild cold with a bit of a cough, nothing more.)

So I went up to the hospital to get a test swab taken. And my wife and I cancelled our outing to go see the new Bond film, No Time to Die, which we’d planned to do today. And we cancelled our plans to see my family on Christmas Eve tomorrow. I’m hoping the test results come back in time to decide if we really need to cancel seeing her family on Christmas Day for lunch, or not.

If you haven’t heard, the omicron variant is hitting Australia hard, and we’re setting new record numbers of cases daily, despite the over 16 population begin around 95% fully vaccinated. A few months ago we were freaking out over 200 cases a day. Today New South Wales recorded 5715 new cases, and it appears to be doubling roughly every two days.

And testing numbers are also through the roof. Previous records were about 80,000 tests per day in NSW, but we’re now recording numbers around 150,000 a day. This has meant huge queues at testing centres, with wait times in the multiple hours at many of them. I wasn’t really looking forward to that, but it seems I was lucky. I went to the hospital in intermittent rain and was in the queue for just 45 minutes. I saw on the news later this evening that at the same hospital the queue had grown to hours long.

Anyway, it seems COVID has messed up another Christmas.

In good news, Scully had her pre-Christmas groom today, and looks adorable.

Scully ready for Christmas

New content today: