Letâ€™s be clear on one thing: I am not a terrorist. I donâ€™t condone blowing up innocent people or hijacking airplanes and crashing them into buildings. Terrorists are incredibly evil and I generally support efforts to eradicate them from the planet. The world would be a much better place without them.
I bring this up because apparently mailing books can get you in trouble with the U.S. Postal Service. Who knew?
Last week I did my first book purge and mailed three books off to those who wanted the books.Â Yesterday one of the books â€“ the Matthew Iribarne book of short stories â€“ was returned, opened, with an ominous warning attached from the U.S. Post Office:
â€œWe regret that your mail is being returned to you because of heightened security measures. All domestic mal, weighing 16 ounces or over, that bears stamps and all international and military APO/FPO mail weighing 16 ounces or over, MUST be presented to a retail clerk at a post office. Postage that is affixed to the returned mail may be used for re-mailing the item."
Apparently I made the mistake of metering the package on my own instead of standing in line for an hour and checking it with the trusty U.S. Postal clerk. And all I wanted to do was save time by not waiting in line.
Although I appreciate the warning and will check future packages that weigh 16 ounces or more with the post office before I send then, I canâ€™t help be a little concerned over their screening procedures.
See, this is the second book weighing more than 16 ounces that Iâ€™ve sent in this way. The other book, Skinny Dip, was mailed two days before the book of short stories and it hasnâ€™t been returned. Somehow that book wasnâ€™t considered a security threat. (Actually, I donâ€™t know if it made it past the post office inspectors. Maybe they destroyed it with one of those bomb destroy robots in route to the Midwest. Jo, please let me know if it arrives.)
So, Gabby, Iâ€™m checking the package with a mail clerk today and resending it. I donâ€™t know when it will arrive but it might come with a police and/or military escort. Please let them know Iâ€™m not a terrorist and all I mailed you was a book of short stories.