Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Brown Paper Packages Wrapped up in String...

These are a few of my favorite things!

I'm was very excited with what arrived in the mail yesterday.  Okay, it wasn't really "mail" as in the postman from the Philippine post office. It was the delivery person of my door-to-door balikbayan service from San Francisco who delivered this package. When I order things from Amazon and other websites, I have it delivered straight to Bayanihan Cargo in San Francisco and they just throw it into the next container that's leaving. I get it about three weeks later, delivered directly to my kitchen table, freight collect. Now that's what I call service deluxe!

I hate to sound unpatriotic, but I'm scared to use the post office for books and other online purchases.
I have friends who regularly order books from Amazon using regular mail. Sometimes they could pick up their books with no hassle, other times, they were told they had to pay duty on them, often costing more than the books themselves!

And then that "Florence agreement" brouhaha in 2009 happened, when all of a sudden, Philippine customs was trying to charge duty on books because of one person's (mis)interpretation of the Florence agreement. Refresh your memory with Manuel Quezon's article in the papers back then.

Aha, so the Florence agreement was one of the reasons books in the Philippines are generally cheaper than in some other countries! When I'd go on trips without the kids,  I'd buy books to take home to them. Then realized I always ended up paying much more than what I would've paid here! Well, at that time, local bookstores didn't have the titles I wanted -- but happily in the past couple of years, the buyers of children's books of National Bookstore, Powerbooks and Fully Booked are quite with it. So I shop here for the girls' books.

I mentioned in this blogpost that I was foolish to buy the Domino design book online because I read it was going out of print and panicked, only to find stacks of it in National Bookstore at one fourth the price. Grr!  So now my philosophy is to look in local bookstores first before ordering online. I guess the guys in customs finally figured out how to interpret that Florence agreement.

But this particular book, I just had to buy online, at full price, because it's fresh-off-the-press from one of my favorite design bloggers. I totally love Brooke Gianetti's blog. I'm endlessly inspired by her design philosophy, her projects, her family values, her down-to-earth personality, her handsome husband...

I only had time to browse the first few pages and it looks like I could've written the text myself because it's exactly how I feel about design too. But I need to block off a couple of quiet hours just to immerse my soul in this book--a quick browse won't do it justice.

So this was a supposed to be a post about the book, but it ended up about the post office system and the importation of books. Oh well, will try again in another post!

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