Slippery Grip: Returned to sender 25



View Profile

I like surprises. There is nothing more exciting than an unexpected gift, but let me start at the beginning.

For those of you who don’t know, I write novels. This fact led me to think that I might enter one of my novels in a competition. Easy peasy you say and so it was. I just filled out the entry form and complied with all the requirements. One of those requirements was to send six copies – yes that is six! – for the judges to read. Not an insignificant thing when you are on a budget. But the first prize is $50,000 so you can see the attraction! I gathered up my copies and trotted happily to the post office.

Now, at the post office there is a logic that is akin to Murphy’s Law. A big parcel is cheaper than a small parcel if it is in a bag. A box is more expensive than a post it note…well, you get the idea. So I picked out a box and addressed the thing all the while crossing my fingers and took it to the counter.

The ladies at the post office are really nice. They are friendly, chatty, and we are on a first name basis. So I offered my box and the lady said that it would be cheaper if I put the box in a bag, re-addressed it and bingo. The other thing I like is saving a buck in the form of a bargain so I took the opportunity to save and did as I was told. Bonus!

I presented my rebagged package with my hopefully long listed/short listed/winning entry and went away happy that I had a tracking docket to make sure my books arrived.

One gets on with one’s life after the deed is done and I did.

I go to my post box every day. It’s a good walk and you never know who might send you a letter. So imagine my surprise when my box had one of those blue things in it to say there was a parcel inside waiting for me. What could it be? Who could be sending me something? I was curious and excited at the prospect. I watched the lady (the same lady I had dealt with the other day) bring out a bag. A bag that look suspiciously like the one I had sent the day before.

On closer inspection it was the bag from the day before. Ah…returned to sender. Maybe something was wrong with the address. No. Everything was correct. All too correct, because I had filled in the addresses the wrong way around and sent the damn thing to myself.

I ripped off the bag in private (no need to share my embarrassment) and popped it in the bin and then waited until another lady was at the counter and presented my original box (without a bag) and paid…again.

So not only did I not get a surprise, I paid twice for the privilege. Slap forehead with open palm.

Of course the real surprise would be if I win 🙂


Have you had a ‘doh!’ moment recently? What was it? Share it below.

Hettie Ashwin

My short stories have been published in America, United Kingdom and Australia in magazines and online. I have published a number of books over the years, all of which have been successful here and overseas. I write a humorous column for the Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette called Slippery Grip.

  1. I’ve sent a parcel to america with a return address on it with about three hundred dollars worth of gifts to a friends children. She never received it and its never surfaced again. I’m sure someone eventually got those things. Hhhhhmmmm. Makes you wonder.

    4 REPLY
    • I no longer post gifts to friends who live overseas for this reason. I now go online and purchase gift vouchers they can use in the area they live, that way they can buy something they like. I can also spend more because I don’t have to pay postage.

    • How do you buy the online vouchers Jane. I have friends in America I’d like to do that for.
      I also hate posting gifts as you have to stick a declaration on the front of the envelope stating exactly what’s inside and THE VALUE.

    • I once had to send a doona back that I had bought on line and it was a QS, not the KS I ordered, so they sent me a voucher to have it sent back and they would pay the postage. All was going well at the Post Office, so I thought, and off it went. Got home a week later to find my “new” doona on the doorstep to see that it was the same one sent back to me. So off I go to the PO again to be told I owe postage, ah, no, so this time, I wrote out the delivery sticker and this time I got the right one, 2 weeks later.

  2. Oh Hettie! I’m having such a chuckle! Not At you,but with you, coz yes I’ve done things like that. Good luck, I hope you get that top prize as a reward for an awkward moment.

  3. I did that only a couple of years ago, sending a parcel to a grandson interstate. The present had been sent to me to forward from our other son! Into an express bag which cost the earth, returned as I had put the address on the wrong side, while talking to the friendly post office girl! I went home, wrapped it in brown paper. Much cheaper, & got there in 2 days!

  4. I sent my daughters perfume from the UK for christmas, £75 postage, postage cost more than the perfume, item returned to post office. Apparently it is ok to post perfume in the UK but not transportable by Aust Post. £50 refund after handling fees.

    1 REPLY
    • There is an online cosmetics company which sends perfumes and other make up and toiletries, all over the world. It is called Strawberrynet, and she has had perfumes etc sent to the recipients in both NZ and Australia.

  5. One of those, ‘Should have gone to Specsavers’ moments. One time I ordered some movies from Fatso (online DVD rental company). My grand daughter came out after watching hers for 30 mins or so and said, ‘Grandma,, should a kids video have the F word in it?’ NO! On inspection, Robot Chicken turned out to be an adults DVD. And how come she even knows there is an F word? !

  6. Hi Hettie,
    As an author I can relate to what you say about the 6 copies of your entry and how expensive it is. It is a miracle that I haven’t sent any parcels to myself, so easy to do. A minutes distraction and bingo.

  7. I have purchased perfumes from America and delivered to me in Qld no problems.

    1 REPLY
    • Same here, Joan. Had a perfume from USA posted to my daughter-in-law in North Queensland, no problems.

  8. I can relate to that .I sent a parcel correctly address and it was delivered to my home address the next day .
    A parcel that was mis delivered to my address I marked “wrong address return to sender ”
    It came back 3 times .each time I added for the second,3rd time .”not at this address .
    That was the last time I saw it ..

  9. I did the same thing but this was with a letter , I send a letter to a competition, few days later a received a letter and to my surprise I had sent the letter to myself!!! at that moment I thought this is a seniors moment!! and I started to laugh!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *