Be square

Boxes on a 3′ X 4′ square waiting for shipment to France

The title of this post probably should have been “Be rectangular” but that just doesn’t seem to have the same ring. So what am I talking about? It’s the shipping container that we’ll be using to send the few things we’ll be taking to France that won’t fit in our luggage. The company that we’ve chosen, UPakWeShip, suggests putting a 4-foot by 3-foot rectangle of tape on your floor to approximate the size of the container with the height being a little over 3 feet tall.

Their marketing calls this size a U-Crate 50 and says that you get 50 cubic feet of shipping space, which is technically true, except that the container itself takes up 13 of those cubic feet. They also tell you that the crate is rated to hold 1500 pounds but they limit you to 600 pounds. Oh yeah, the crate itself weighs 66 of those pounds. And their Price Guarantee says that there will be no other charges on top of their quote…EXCEPT if there is a customs exam, bad access, long carry, unusual delivery, parking permits, customs duties, taxes, etc. Why, then, did we choose them if the fine print says something different from the headlines? Primarily because they consistently receive generally positive reviews and they can handle our small shipment door to door. The contact we’ve had with them so far has been friendly and efficient so we’re expecting more of the same in the next couple of months.

So what does all of this cost? Around $1500 and it will take between 5 and 7 weeks for the pallet to go from our house by truck to Charleston, SC, then on a ship to Marseille, France, and then after clearing customs from there by truck to our house in Carcassonne. That final segment might be a challenge for the truck driver since our new street was probably first laid out in the 1100’s (even possibly a millennium earlier by the Romans) and barely accommodates a car. Not our worry, though, right? Perhaps not that part; however, we do have to be able to understand the French driver’s phone call that he’s on the way and his potential comment upon arrival that our crate is sitting on the sidewalk a block away because he couldn’t get any closer. You know how Scouts are supposed to “be square”? Let’s add “be prepared” to that and we’ll be fine.

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