Meanwhile . . . in the
Last month, I won a really great giveaway that, unfortunately for both the blogger who sponsored it and myself, just "wasn't meant to be." About a week after she mailed off the parcel, she got a call from her post office, asking her to pick it up again because it had been damaged and they didn't want to ship it abroad in that condition.
She was very apologetic when she told me of the news and of her decision not to risk sending the package again. Instead, she offered me an Amazon gift cheque worth the same amount of money as the prize pack (books and swag). And because I know that the sender is often more frustrated and disappointed than the receiver, when these things don't push through, I thanked her for letting me win anything in the first place and I accepted the second offer.
I have not linked to the blogger here or even mentioned her name because she might feel a little bad again if the whole story got back to her--which I want to avoid as much as possible. She was very kind and nothing that happened was her fault . . . and really, nobody is entitled to a giveaway, anyway, even if he wins it. But I am about to reveal something awfully Third Worldish about the place where I live, and I want to spare her a rueful, "Oh, if I had only known!"
Maybe I'm just biased (Bwahahahahahahaha!), but it's the Philippine Post Office I blame the most for the country's Third World status. Seriously. It's bad enough that one has to pick up one's packages at a city's central post office rather than get them delivered to one's door (and that's assuming the package makes it that far at all!); but then the evil customs people open it up, dig through the contents, and tax the receiver for accepting what might very well be a gift. (For more details, you can read my indignant article Pro-Smuggling: Because I Have a Brain, written in such a convincing Libertarian style that it got me offers from sympathetic political webzines.)
So if I were to order a book from Amazon, I would pay not just the US dollar value of the book and the delivery charge, but also the customs "tax." And that "tax" is computed from the declared value of the item and the cost of delivery, the foreign total converted into our local currency--which means that I'd essentially be paying for the book twice!!! (Oh, have I mentioned there is an additional fee for getting taxed? The Philippine government really knows how to add insult to injury.)
Why they do this, I don't know. But as long as they keep doing it, we're stuck in the Third World.
Anyway, that is the reason I use the private sector for important mail.
It's also the reason I ask people who mail stuff to me to declare the lowest possible value on the label (if they must declare anything at all) and for the love of God to remove all price tags before sending it.
And thirdly, it's the reason I will not be ordering anything for myself from Amazon. It just wouldn't be practical, especially now that I'm kind of broke, remember? =P
But this is not the story of how life handed me a lemon, but the story of how I turned some lemons into lemonade. You might recall that about a month and a half ago I openly wished that I could do more giveaways . . . Well, with these Amazon credits to my name, now I can!
SoI shall announce the rules of my second contest/giveaway soon, and I hope that all of you who have kinder hopes where Amazon is concerned will join! If I can't buy nice stuff for myself and my immediate loved ones, then the next best thing to do is to buy stuff for my readers. =)
PS--I gave the PayPal button some more thought and decided against it because: a) this blog is really just a hobby (although I do appreciate everyone's thinking I bring value to their lives!); and b) I'd probably take all your donations and funnel them back into the blog, anyway, to fund giveaways and graphics and other fun things--which has nothing to do with my main reason for putting up the button, does it? =P