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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on December 14th, 2016, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 17, Issue 41 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 17, Issue 41

Speedy delivery

Nothing can stop Krider from shipping his book

By ROB KRIDER

I’ve always been a do-it-yourself type of guy. House needs a new garbage disposal? No problem. I can crawl under the sink and bang my head against the counter while using obscenities just as good as any professional plumber. I learned all of my do-it-yourself handyman skills growing up around my dad who coincidentally also taught me my adept skills at using profanity.

These days we don’t need dads to teach us how to cuss and fix things. Instead we have YouTube. With hours upon hours of self-made instructional videos YouTube has convinced all of us we can do just about anything, from replacing our own cracked cell phone screens to at-home appendectomies. 

Obviously not all of these do-it-yourself projects are instant successes. For example, YouTube showed me how to create my kid’s Halloween zombie makeup using Vaseline, a sponge, and some clay. I tried it and ultimately it looked like I smeared dog crap on my kid’s face. Thanks YouTube.

A YouTube video actually convinced me that I could write a book and sell it online. It told me to skip the huge corporate publishing companies and just sell the book myself via the World Wide Web. I sat down, wrote the novel Cadet Blues and printed enough copies to fill my entire garage with boxes of unsold books. 

Now what, YouTube? Well, now I get to listen to my wife, whom I love, ask me every night, “When am I going to be able to park in the garage again?” The simple answer, “Baby, you get your parking space back as soon as we sell about 500 more books.”

Since this whole book project was “do-it-yourself,” I don’t use a large corporate shipping system. It’s literally just me and a roll of packing tape. When someone orders a copy of the book online, that automatically sends an email to my phone informing me I need to grab a book, slap it in a box with a shipping label, and get it to my peeps at the United States Postal Service (USPS).

The easiest part of shipping is the handoff to the USPS as all I have to do is just walk to the mailbox in my front yard and leave a package for the mailman to pick up. My dog is my business partner and kindly walks to the mailbox with me every day ensuring I am safely guarded. My dog thinks she is a member of Seal Team 6 even though she is less than 20 pounds and probably couldn’t win a fight against a diabetic house cat. 

Regardless, the dog walks ahead of me diligently scanning the neighborhood to ensure I am perfectly safe from undesirables looking to steal a free copy of my book as I walk 40 feet to the mailbox. The rest of the book delivery magic happens by the professionals at USPS who won’t be deterred by rain, sleet, snow, nor gloom of night, unless, of course, it is a Sunday. 

Besides Sundays, where things also get kind of complicated for shipping, problems arise if I decide to take the ol’ motor home and leave town, separating myself from the mailbox in my front yard. 

The internet doesn’t understand vacation time. People in Australia don’t care if it is Sunday night at 2 a.m. The Aussies want to buy stuff on Amazon and they want that stuff shipped across the world immediately. 

Amazon corporate did kindly offer to take crates of my book and store them in an enormous warehouse in Arizona where they hire retirees to ship the books for me. However, that special service comes at a special price. A price so large I began to understand why some people call Amazon by a different name: Scamazon. The fee was so insane I would actually lose money every time somebody purchased a copy of my book. 

I politely told Scamazon, “No thank you. All of the shipping and handling can be handled by me and the dog.” 

To resolve my vacation shipping issues I purchased a small printer for address labels and put it inside my motor home. When the wife, the dog, and I go on vacation I just ship copies of my book right from wherever we are camping. It can be sort of a fun adventure. I wake up, check to see how many shipments I have from when I was asleep, print out some labels, box up some books, and then jump on my bicycle to try to find a mailbox. 

The only problem I have run into is those iconic blue collection mailboxes are getting harder and harder to find as they are disappearing from our curbs all over the country. The USPS has drastically started removing what they call “underperforming collection boxes” by the thousands in an effort to save federal fuel and labor costs. That just means I need to pedal my little legs on my beach cruiser farther and farther to find a drop box. Thanks America.

This summer I was camping in Orange County and had to make a shipment. I jumped on my beach cruiser with a copy of my book in my handlebar basket ready to be mailed. With no real idea of where I was located, I simply I started bicycling south on beautiful historic Highway 1 in search for a blue collection box. This is the United States of America, there was sure to be one just around the corner. I pedaled along for about a mile, around a lot of corners, and wasn’t seeing any signs of a mailbox. Uh oh.

Then Highway 1 started to get a bit hilly. I was on a single speed beach cruiser with no gears. I huffed and puffed up over what felt like a medium coastal range hoping I would see a mailbox over the rise. Big rig trucks were narrowly missing me as I kept riding up the shoulder of the highway struggling to make it over the next hill. I was working ridiculously hard and actually risking my life to sell one copy of my book. After an hour and half of riding over hills and sweating I finally landed in Laguna Beach and saw the greatest sight ever, a blue USPS collection box. I happily made the delivery and then realized all that was left to do was ride my bike miles and miles back over the hills to get to my motor home.

Don Jennings from Greensboro, N.C., you have no idea what it took to get you your copy of Cadet Blues. Enjoy!

Chances are right now Rob is riding around looking for another mailbox. You can read more from Rob Krider or contact him at robkrider.com.




Weekly Poll
Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

Yes—the water from the proposed area can't serve as drinking water.
No—oil containments could still pollute usable groundwater.
Additional oil and gas projects can create more jobs.
We need to move away from oil and gas and look at renewable energy projects.

| Poll Results