Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Things I Never Knew I Never Knew

I had an inquiry about my dress paintings that sent me searching for information on international shipping. I went UPS and FedEx to ask about rates, and decided I may as well fly the paintings there myself for the amount it would cost to ship them.

Then I did what I should’ve done in the first place – I got online to check the rates at USPS. The only problem was, it would have been quicker to drive to the Post Office and ask the question.

I got completely absorbed in the lists of things that are prohibited to send to other countries. For instance, did you know you can’t send salt to South Korea, or imitation pearls to Abu Dhabi?

I guessed there were economic or environmental reasons for the items listed, but some just made me curious. In case you’re wondering (and even if you’re not) here are a few things you can’t send by U.S mail:

Used bedding to Australia.
Honey or wax to Russia.
Pink colored quinine to Bangladesh.
Only pink? See, I didn’t even know quinine came in different colors.
Japanese shaving brushes to Tanzania.
Saccharine to France. I know it’s not the reason, but I want to think it’s because they’d never ever use a sugar substitute.
Seal skins to Great Britain, except from an accepted source. What? There’s an accepted source for seal skins?
Playing cards to Greece.
Butter substitutes to Canada. Not even if you can’t believe it’s not butter.
Musical cards to Bulgaria. I’m with them on that one. Those things can be so annoying.
Human remains to Belgium. Actually, plenty of countries listed human remains. Does that mean the other countries are okay with them? The same goes for perishable infectious biological substances, which is good to know in case you have a jar of fungi you want to pop into the mail.

The good news is, dress paintings didn’t come up on any of the lists of prohibitions. The bad news is, I spent the better part of an afternoon reading through them.


Nora MacFarlane said...

Oh! I can waste more time getting distracted by odd information.

Kelly said...

No playing cards to Greece? Are there no casinos in Greece? ;)
Truth sometimes is stranger than fiction!

ICQB said...

Ooh, it's good to know about those lists. I'll have to pop over to that site. I need to know if I can send dried flowers to Malaysia.

LW said...

No salt to South Korea and Wax to Russia.
I do wonder why?????

When my daughter lived in Vietnam all her packages were held for weeks, opened and
inspected. Letters were read and our telephone calls were monitored…
The person monitoring our phone calls would get bored with our chatter about the kids in her classroom and talk of her siblings, they would disconnect us often…very irritating.
I remember one Saturday I had to call her back three times…we must have gotten the same person over and over again. Our calls always lasted an hour.


Kim Kasch said...

It IS SO expensive to ship overseas. I know. We send gifts (sometimes) to my husband's family in Denmark and the shipping charges usually cost as much as the gifts.


PJ Hoover said...

OMG, how fascinating! Who knew?
Your time was well spent because now you've shared the knowledge. :)

adrienne said...

Nora - It's not a total waste of time if you learn something new, right?

Kelly - Some of those beg for explanation, don't they?

ICQB - See, that is an interesting kind of problem to have.

LW - Held for weeks...yikes. My husband and I once mailed some items home from Italy - it took 3 months for them to get there. It was a nice surprise when they finally arrived.

Kim - I know! You learn to shop for very lightweight gifts.

PJ - A little interesting trivia is always a good thing!

C.R. Evers said...

wow! that's fascinating. I love stuff like that. Who knew!?!?

fun post.

MG Higgins said...

This list is so funny! The playing cards to Greece threw me, too. Of all the weird things to ban. Really makes my mind go in some strange directions. Glad at least you can ship your artwork.

sruble said...

Oooh, does this mean a sale? (now that you know you can ship it)

BTW, I totally get sucked in to stuff like that too, and after reading your post, now I know all that w/o going to the USPS site ;)

sruble said...

Just had a thought. So if someone from Belgium dies outside the country, they can't go back for their funeral? Just curious.

Angela said...

stephanie - they can go back - just not by US mail (from someone who has read about international health insurance including 'repatriation of remains' but that's a different list / blog post)

What's up with the playing cards and musical cards???

LOVED the list.... tempted to click, but I know I would get sucked into cyberlist land too!

adrienne said...

Christy and MG - I got curious enough to TRY to find explanations for some of these...

Stephanie - An overseas wedding mag asked about mentioning my paintings in an article...fingers crossed! :)

Loved your second comment - I see a twisted story there...

Angela - Thanks for clearing that up! There's a topic I couldn't have predicted would come up on my blog! :D

sruble said...

Fingers crossed! Fingers crossed!

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Got distracted, eh? What a list and a lot of trivia!!

Ara Burklund said...

Ha! I LOL'ed at your comment about the butter! : )

adrienne said...

Stephanie - Thanks for the good cheer!

Keats - Distracted...yes! Sometimes you actually find useful info that way. :)

Ara - Of all the things listed, I laughed at how random that one sounded!

Shelli said...

nice pics - love new cameras!

msprimadonna67 said...

Who knew??