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New Jersey ten, UPS zero

Lots of nice people live in New Jersey. We got to know quite a few of them while we stood in line for two hours outside the UPS office. There was the woman who, after she learned that we were Canadians, and also that we had a cab waiting, insisted that we should move to the front of the line. (Her position was not unanimously held.) And the other woman who, when she learned that UPS would not take cash or a credit card for the surprise “customs” duty, stepped up, appalled, to write a cheque for us (and was willing to accept our American $$$ cash in exchange). Also, I liked the folks who laughed at my jokes while we waited.

On the other hand, UPS maybe slipped a bit in my estimation. We got two packages to their office in Toronto by noon last Friday. Paid $240 up front for the sending, and understood that would cover the cost of delivery. The packages did not leave until the following Monday, but I am sure there is a good explanation for that. And they did arrive in New Jersey, and were brought to the correct address by late Friday (i.e. today).

Alas, UPS did not leave the packages there, because the youth who was home alone did not have the cash on hand to pay that surprise “whatever” duty. So they took the packages back to the UPS depot, which is closed all weekend, but where we could pick them up 830 to 930. Alas, sixty or seventy people got the same message. And there were two good-spirited but desperately over-worked people holding down the desk. So we got to know the New Jersey folks in line with us. Quite well. The New York cabbie was cool, too, especially when we promised a handsome tip.

My take-away? Yay, New Jersey! UPS, not so much.
Ken McGoogan
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Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.