Monday, August 12, 2013

Boxed In

I packed up my donkey plate and my other souvenirs this morning. I hadn't meant to buy anything. But here I was with a small packet needing to go home. I held it in my hands, weighing it against the buses I'd be taking, against the stairs I'd be pulling my bag up and down in the Mexico City metro.

Nah. Send it, I thought. Don't carry it.

I knew there was an Office Depot or Office Max up by the Soriana supermarket, but it seemed silly to take a bus up the hill to buy a box. And the post office here wasn't in the business of providing boxes.

I pulled out the San Miguel guidebook I'd carried upstairs from the Reception area when I'd realized I was the only person staying in the four-unit house I was in.

Aha...there it was. Mailing supplies. FedEx...DHL...various pack-and-ships...then, in a little box, there was a note about a store selling cheap boxes. Around the corner from me? Really?

I walked over and sure enough, there it was, a jumble of boxes inside a storefront. How many times had I passed it?

The woman behind the counter found me a slightly used box, a meter of bubble wrap, and packed up my souvenirs. She taped them in tightly, charged me 13 pesos, and I carried it to the post office (after a quick sugar-free lunch at Juan's Cafe, a great spot for lunch).

The postal clerk frowned and shook his head at my box. He waved his hand dismissively.

"No good."

"What? My box is no good?" I was flabbergasted.

He pushed at the corners. They gave way a little, because there was a little air between the bubble wrap and the corner.

"No good."

"Uh...okay. What should I do? A donde es un...bueno..." Oh hell, this was ridiculous.

He wrote down an address of a box store around the corner.

Too much. I didn't want to buy another box. Especially not from his friend.

"No." I spoke now in English, annoyed. "That's ridiculous. It's a box. It's fine. I won't buy another box. IT IS FINE. Here. I show you."

I motioned him to open the box. He pulled out a box cutter and opened it, finding the bubble wrap inside. He pulled it out, rearranged the bubble wrap, packed it again, taped it, and then accepted my box for mailing.

It was a ludicrous fortune though. Something like $40 for that little package. He claimed it would be more to send it the slow way. I tried not to roll my eyes and just paid it.

So I am reduced to this. Arguing with Mexican postal clerks about the quality of my used boxes.


I left the post office, shaking my head and laughing. I walked away from home, down to a park at the other end of town just to go for a walk.

San Miguel de Allende really is a lovely place. I can see why so many people move there.

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