Went to the post office the other day, in the midst of my very annoying communications with my insurance company. It was a bad day already.
I brought my taped up box that I found in the garage, and dumped it on the scale.
"Oh, look at this box. That will never do." The older guy across the counter said, with his pointed nose peering down at me, almost causing his spectacles to falling off, and actually finished off his initial appraisal with a "tssk tssk".
I had spent quite a bit of time finding a box that would accommodate the three wrapped packages inside, and was pleased to find one that was smaller than a laundry basket. I spent even more time taping it up, and I wasn't going to give up quite so easily. "What's wrong with my box?" I replied...perhaps taking his judgement a bit personally.
"It's got the word 'Listerine' all over it. That means it's a fire hazard."
"The words make it a fire hazard?"
He looked at me like I was an idiot. "Because this box formerly housed a product that is considered flammable, it is not an allowable mode of transport for whatever you are mailing. They would never allow this to be mailed out."
At this point, the second worker behind the counter walks over, looks at my box, and then turns her own nose down at me. "Oh no. Never allowed. Never. We can't mail that."
I sigh heavily.
They offer suggestions on other Priority boxes, that are much too small to fit whatever items I have hidden inside my flammable box, and I am left with no other option than to go home and find another box. One that is worthy of being mailed by the post office.
"Oh, but there is one more thing you can do." the worker with the pointed nose calls after me. "You can cover the box with a brown paper bag so we can't see what the box was used for. Then, we can mail it for you."
I turn back. "So you are saying, that if I take a paper bag, which makes a great fire starter, and cover the already assessed 'fire-waiting to happen' box, then I can bring it back and you will mail it out with no problems."
Well, that makes a lot of sense.
I brought back the brown-bagged flammable box the next day. It should arrive at my friend's doorstep, barring any flammable incidents, in two days.