28 May 2012


If Only I Had an Owl . . .

Of all the alternatives to In My Mailbox that are now available to us, it is Owl Post that sings to my heart the most. It takes the same idea of mail and multiplies it by magic. What's not to love?

But not all mail comes by owl . . .

In October of last year, I received one of those little white notice slips that my city's (Muggle run) central post office sends out when a parcel arrives for someone. (Unless you send something by first class mail, they do not deliver it straight to the recipient's door.) When I'm lucky, I can pick it up at customs without paying anything more than the "holding fee"--but sometimes I'm really unlucky and am charged a "tax" that is equal to the declared value of the contents and the amount the sender paid to mail it to me. Which amounts to me buying and mailing the whole parcel to myself. And I happened to be out of of Felix Felicis the day I went to pick up this particular parcel.

The tax I was charged was around the same price as four movie tickets, with pop corn and sodas for everyone. I told the clerk I didn't have that much money with me that day and that I'd be back the next week. I'm usually very good at paying up, rationalising that I get lucky so many times that all these "freebies" make up for the cost of those few parcels that get caught in custom's tax net. Besides, when someone goes to the trouble of sending me something--and when I am a complete stranger who just entered one of their giveaways--I consider myself honour bound to redeem it.

But finances were very, very tight at the end of last year. And just when I had set aside enough to pay for the parcel, something truly urgent came up that needed the money more. Feeling like crap, I gave the package up for lost and hoped that the post office employee who ended up "claiming" it would at least really love to read.

Then a few weeks ago, I got another little white notice. Wondering what it was for (because I wasn't expecting anything), I took a small dose of the Felix Felicis potion I had been brewing since last October, and made the trip downtown. And I really hoped that the tax on this new parcel wouldn't be excessive.

It wasn't. And neither was it a new parcel. It was last October's unclaimed package, with the tax invoice pulled off. My guess is that someone at the post office was tired of letting it take up shelf space and was willing to let me have it for no more than the holding fee. Which I was more than happy to pay. =)

Thank you so much to YA author and blogger Rhiannon Paille for offering her gently used hardbound copy of Heather Dixon's Entwined in last year's Canada Day blog hop! I promise that if last year had been any other year, I would have paid through the nose to honour her generosity in sending a prize halfway across the world to someone she has never even met.

Now, those of you who know exactly when Canada Day is must be appalled at the timeline of events. Well, whatever you're feeling is nothing next to the incredulity of any readers who receive mail only from quick, efficient, and above all, faithful owls.

Image Source: Frog and Toad are Friends: The Letter by Arnold Lobel


Brodie said...

SECRETLY FROGS? NOT OWLS? MY LIFE IS A LIE!!!! Oh, wait... *reads on* :P Hehe I love the little Potter references *longs for a bottle of Felix Felicis* Sigh. Brew me some?

That sucks having to pay a tax on some of the books that come in, but at least you got lucky with Entertwined! Now if that's not a fairy tale story with a reader and a book destined to be, I don't know what is ;)

I hope you enjoy your long-awaited, but no less loved copy of Entertwined!! I love the sound of that book, so I hope it lives up to expectations :)

Enbrethiliel said...


Thanks, Brodie! =)

Now that you mention it, yes, this is like a faerie story! Which seems only appropriate because Entwined is a faerie tale retelling!

Petra said...

Oh, the tax paying sucks a lot! :/ But what a story! I hope you'll enjoy the book. :)

Enbrethiliel said...


Thanks for reading, Petra! I appreciate it. =)

Alexia561 said...

Stinks that you sometimes get stuck with having to pay an additional customs tax, but at least this one has a happy ending! :)

Sarahbotbonkers said...

I love this post! I actually have the same experienced. Those white slips are indeed a pain the backside and I remember one of my mom's friend sending me the whole Harry Potter book set and my mom paying the massive tax. It was so expensive, we almost paid for the price of the HP box set here. Although, sometimes I get lucky too and it sent directly to my house. I'd like to say it was because of the owls but it's always a person sending it. But those days of posting luck is really rare and we often go to our city post office just to get the goods. It sucks but hey it's books so I can't really complain. :)

Enbrethiliel said...


Alexia -- A very unexpected happy ending! =) Thanks for visiting.

Sarah -- Oh, that's so terrible about the Harry Potter box set! =( A friend once sent me the first twelve In Death novels (by J.D. Robb--aka Nora Roberts) and although they were clearly used books, what I had to pay for them was nearly what I would have paid for a brand new set! (I didn't tell my friend the story. I didn't want her to feel bad about the generous gift.)

I love the Book Depository because they ship all the books as documents, and documents get delivered to your door no matter what. You also get them delivered at home if they are shipped as First Class Mail (although that is expensive for the sender) and when it's right before Christmas (because the mailman will be looking for a "tip"). Oh, what don't I know about books in the mail? ;-)

Fairday Morrow said...

Nothing would be cooler than owl post- it would definitely put all the other services out of business- who cares how long it takes? An owl is bringing it to you! ~ Jess

Enbrethiliel said...


An owl would take less time than the six months it took me to claim Entwined, but I know I'd be happy to wait that long if I were guaranteed a magical delivery. ;-)