The package I was expecting from my daughter finally arrived. And was held up by customs at the main post office in the provincial capital. So this morning the hubby dropped me off there while he took care of other business. He could have done a lot in the ALMOST TWO HOURS that it took me.
Oh.my.word. I grabbed a number. I was 87. They were on #75. Not too bad, I thought.
About an hour went by and the lady I was talking with told me they'd called my number.
Wrong. They were only on #82. More waiting.
I decided to stand closer to the action and it was interesting to see people moving back and forth between postal workers. I finally figured out that one man signs you in, then you wait. Another man finds your package and asks if it's okay to open it. [I wonder what would happen should someone say no? Hmmmm.] Then you wait some more. Until another man fills out the paperwork. People, there was nary a computer in sight. Or even a typewriter. Everything was written out longhand.
And there were numerous papers involved in the process. Each customer is signed in on one form, there are tax forms in triplicate, and another paper is attached to them, and when you finally get your package you have to sign it out on another sheet.
When my number was finally called I knew the drill.
But that didn't make it any less painful. I ended up paying 55 pesos in import taxes. For a book, several packets of dry Ranch dressing mix and Goya seasonings, zip lock bags and some kitchen scrubby pads. And let's not forget the 13 pesos they charged FOR STORING MY PACKAGE.
The charges seem arbitrary. My language tutor shelled out even more for a package her daughter sent from Colorado, where she's an exchange student. True value matters nada.
The hubby just grinned when I told him. He thinks it's good for me to have this experience. I'm pondering that.
As Americans we have no clue. Absolutely no clue what it's like for those living overseas. I get it now, those conversations with missionaries who discouraged me from sending them packages. I thought they were a little ungrateful, you know? But if they're having to spend hours retrieving the package and pay huge import and storage fees, it's just probably not worth it. At least that's how I feel at this point. This ended up being one very expensive package! I paid a total $22 U.S. to pick up my package. And that doesn't include the gas into the capital or the time spent at the post office.
The daughter has sent books before and those came through without a problem. So I'll be able to have the occasional book sent -- or piece of fabric ☺ -- but no more bulky items that cause a package to get flagged by customs. Lesson learned.