Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Long, Crazy Story About a Coffee Table

Ah, so many adventures.

The good news is, the coffee table situation is solved. You may remember (probably not!) that my dad was storing my coffee table, and I was trying to figure out how to get it back to London. (Here's the backstory.) On this trip I was determined to get it packed up and airplane-ready.

Yesterday morning, my dad and I put the tabletop in the back of his pickup truck and took it to the UPS store, where for $35 they packed it in a big ol' box. I asked how much it would cost to ship it, just out of curiosity, and they said about $200 -- much, much less than I had been quoted at another UPS store six months ago, but still more than I wanted to pay. So I stuck with my plan to check it with my luggage and pay for excess or oversized baggage as necessary. (The table legs fit in my suitcase.)

Dad and I ran some errands while the packers worked their magic and then came back to UPS to pick up the box. We put it in the truck and prepared to go home, actually commenting on how easy our morning had been, how effortlessly we'd managed our errands, when, suddenly...the truck wouldn't start.

We had to call AAA, which towed the truck to a local Ford dealership. But we couldn't fit the table, in its big ol' box, into my stepmother's car to get it home again. "How are we going to get it to the airport?" she asked.

At that moment, I realized how much I just wanted this ridiculous table errand finished.

I sent them all on their way and I got a courtesy van from the dealership to take me back to the UPS store, intending to ship the table. But strangely, upon seeing me return with the big ol' box, the UPS people said it would cost six hundred dollars to ship.

"What?!" I said, incredulous. "You told me $200 just a few minutes ago!"

Turns out that the big ol' box added surplus dimensions that increased the size of the parcel into the range of absurdity.

In stepped the manager of the shop, who to his credit resolved the problem. The big ol' box was cut down to the exact size of the tabletop -- which is basically two pieces of wood and not at all delicate -- and all the surplus packaging was removed. Voila! A relatively flat, cardboard-covered slab. A $200 parcel.

So I shipped it, scheduled to arrive next week.

It was still expensive, and completely, inexplicably silly given that I paid $5 for the table in the first place. Yes, I am essentially shipping two pieces of lumber. To England. For $250 (including the packaging costs).

What can I say? I like my coffee table. I am sentimentally attached to it. And now, the problem is solved, which is worth the money. I don't have to think about ferrying it to the airport, carrying it around, paying for excess baggage and getting it back to our London flat from Heathrow in a taxi, blah blah blah.

We still don't know what's wrong with the truck!

(Photo: An exotic flower in my dad's yard. Bird of paradise? Some type of ginger? We're not sure.)


  1. I get it, I completely get it, loved your post.

  2. This story made me smile. I get it too!

  3. I would have had them ship it to begin with - but I have no money sense. Whatever is most convenient for ME is what I do :)

  4. I smiled, then laughed...I've done worse things for more than that...I hope it looks smashing in your new home. Sorry about the truck.