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Friday, April 20, 2007

Your Mail and Homeland Security

I recently ordered 200 feet of quality line for my new catamaran. I didn't pay much attention to where the guy was located: I simply paid for it and waited. And waited. And waited.

Although it's been a week and a half, I still haven't received my line. Good thing that I decided against taking it out on its maiden voyage this weekend!

It turns out that the package was coming from Canada. The U.S. Postal Service was able to track it all the way until it hit Homeland Security. Apparently Homeland Security is where everything stops at a screeching halt.

The local Postmaster says that once a package arrives at Homeland Security, it can take up to three weeks to clear. Three weeks?! I can't imagine what they're doing that takes so long! Don't they just put the packages on a conveyer belt and run them through Xray? At this rate, they must have a pack of trained monkeys that fall on the packages and chew the tape off, slowly, before they poke around inside.

If Homeland Security now screens all our mail, we should be warned that they also delay it. And worse, we have no idea where it is if even the U.S. Post Office can't find it. Where is the accountability? We need to set a system in place that causes Homeland Security to be more accountable. The more they do and the less we know about it, the more I grow uneasy.

17 comments:

Senor Caiman said...

Saur,

Oh snap, I love Hobie catting. Please describe the cat, catalog picture. Now a days I just rent them at the beach. Fast sailboats are a blast.

Hans said...

Do you have any idea of the volume of stuff that crosses the borders to get into this county?

The wait is the price of the security that you want. If it's too much to pay buy the rope domestically next time and consider this a lesson learned.

The Lazy Iguana said...

You should have just ordered it from China. It would cross the ocean on a large ship and speed through Customs. Or it would arrive on a jet and clear the airport in a day.

By the way, did you know that domestic air cargo is not screened? If you do not want to bother taking your shoes off, just mail yourself your shoes. They will probably go on the same plane as you.

I hope you got some polyester/darcon line for that cat! Nylon stretches up to 50% of its length, where as polyester does not. You want nylon for anchor line and dock lines, but not for sheets (lines that support sails). You can also use wire rope (nylon with a stainless steel wire core) but this line tends to be stiffer and harder to tie into knots. For a small cat I would just go with polyester myself.

All the lines on my powerboat are nylon or polypropylene. The nylon is for the anchor and dock lines, the poly is tied to my type IV throwable PFD. Poly line floats, so it is good for a tow line or for attaching to throwable PFDs. You use it for towing because line that sinks can and will get tangled up in your prop.

Ellen said...

I'm always amazed at the length of time some things take in the mail system. I've sent some packages up to New England that arrived in two days, and others that took over a week. All at the same parcel post/ priority rate. Makes me wonder if the banana bread I'm mailing doesn't get opened and eaten by those monkeys you described, because I never get a confirmation call that the packages arrived.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Ellen, ;o) I think you're on to something! No monkey can resist banana bread. Hmmm. That means that I would be wise to include a loaf with every package as a bribe...

Lazy Iguana & Senor Caiman, It's a Nacra 5.8, got the racing harnesses, etc. The line is double braid nylon and float line. It was an incredible price... but, what a nuisance! The last one I had was a SuperCat 20: SCARY fast.

Hans, but it's NOT the price we have to pay. They could be more accountable. We have NO idea where the package is, when it's getting here, and no way of knowing. What if it was for a business and I owned a sailing academy? Or what if it were important documents? And what is Homeland Security doing with the packages that takes so long? Are they a typical government bureaucracy that gets away with poor service with no checks and balances?

Hans said...

Apparently you’re new to the way that government organizations work. By which I mean they don’t. In this instance you’re dealing with 2 huge government bureaucracies, Homeland Security (Customs and Immigration) and the U.S. Postal Service. Have you ever stood in line at the Post Office? 87 people with one window open and 15 people wandering around behind the counter. Customer service is not a priority. I’ve dealt with Homeland Security (Customs) through work. Most of the time, no issues. Just shuffling some paper work. If they want to take a look at it. Into the black hole and you get charged extra fees for the honor. If you really needed it in a timely don’t use the Postal Service. UPS or Fed-Ex do a decent job of sheparding small packages through that maze.

Senor Caiman said...

Saur,

Wow, that is very nice. One of the times I almost died was sailing so be careful but have fun.

The Lazy Iguana said...

So it is double braid nylon over polypropylene? This would make it float. And it would also limit stretch.

I still think that 100% polyester would be better for sails. Maybe this is something that is only an issue for larger heavier sailboats?

Bryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saur♥Kraut said...

Lazy Iguana, it's Spectra floatline: It's a different type. Spectra's prestretched to where it doesn't give and won't work it's way loose but you gotta be careful because if you put a knot in it you will NEVER get it out.

Senor, I don't doubt it. Sailing isn't all sweetness and light and 70s music, is it? It's a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I swore I wouldn't buy another one, because after my neck surgery... well, it didn't seem like a lot of fun anymore. But I've missed it so much. One thing's for sure: You can't do it alone and I won't. I have a friend who's going in on it with me.

Hans, *sigh* So very true. :P

Emma Sometimes said...

Saur,

You'd think they'd make good rope here in the US.

My last stint was in a small Laser but I don't know much about sailing, other than I love it. It's addictive.

The Columbia River here in the NW is a great place to boat, especially in good weather. You can see so many specs of color from sails up and down the river. Last time I was at the dock I got a peek at Tiger Woods home away from home, all 155 feet of her glorious yacht-ness. Dear Santa...

The Lazy Iguana said...

Spectra! Why didn't you just say that in the first place. Spectra is some good stuff. I use it on my downrigger because it will not rust. A thin thread is rated to some insane test. The downrigger uses a 20 pound lead weight, and the Spectra line that hauls it up is about as thick as 15 pound test nylon monofilament fishing line.

You are right about knots in Spectra. It is so thin that knots are hard to untie.

The Lazy Iguana said...

I want a Hobie Cat too. Let me know if you ever sell her.

Ba Doozie said...

I would just want a boat with a motor...it's what americans love...hot, badass, nasty speed

Meow said...

Ah, the notorious postal system. I have a parcel (somewhere) sent to me from a blogger in Newfoundland before Christmas, which hasn't arrived yet. The last one she sent me took almost 4 months ... apparently our Victorian Customs had it sitting there for ages !!! That must be where the current one is.
Hope your line turns up soon.
Take care, hugs, Meow

Hans said...

Was the line made of hemp? That could cause a problem.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Hans, :D Nope.

Meow, what about x-stitch materials? Do you want any?

Ba Doozie, you'd be surprised! My last cat went 30 mph, roughly. This one will, too, once it's ready. But Lazy Iguana has a nice little power boat for cruising Miami (as I've blogged about before). I just don't like the diesel and noise... of course it's nice to have the best of both worlds: A sailboat with a motor.

Lazy, I sure will! But by the time this baby is ready to get resold in the fall, it will be tricked out and valued at around $3 grand. That's what I like to do: Buy them, get them fixed up, make a profit. :D With YOUR skills, you could easily do the same and should do that, instead. Check out Craig's List. Yeah, Spectra's awesome stuff, isn't it?! You know what I've seen lately? Kiteboarding on the water. When I get well, I'd seriously like to learn it, despite my broken neck.

Emma, I'm sure they make (and sell) great rope/line here, but it was SO CHEAP, you see. I had NO idea that it would take forever to get here! :P I hope you'll take some pics of the Columbia River. My parents know it and I'd really like to see it, since you're such a good photographer...