Do you remember Kathy's friend B. who met us at the airport in Banjul? He's also a math major who sometimes comes to her for tutoring. I'm certain that Kathy and I arrived at this plan independently, even though we were both math majors and roommates at the University of Rochester, but it turns out we each sweeten our tutoring sessions with cookies. We even have a particular kind designated as "math cookies"!
Having enjoyed Kathy's math cookies when we visited, I thought it would be a good idea to send B. a package of my own math cookies. You know, to see whose work best. :) But apparently our cookies are doomed to avoid that head-to-head contest.
I knew it would cost much more than the cookies are worth to mail them to the Gambia. But for years I've been mailing care packages to college students and Hallowe'en candy and other trinkets to our Swiss grandchildren; I don't mind occasionally paying more in postage than the value of the items sent. But the cost to send the wonderful Priority Mail Large Video Box is now $33.95! Sadly, this is still the least expensive way to send cookies, by a considerable margin. And that's not just because it's more expensive to mail something to Africa; the cost to send the box to Switzerland is exactly the same. When I wrote about it in November of 2011, I could use that box to send up to four pounds of goodies overseas for $13.25.
This is crazy. What else has gone up over 150% in less than five years? Are you making 150% more than you did in 2011? Does gas cost 150% more? Bread? Houses? Anything? Apparently the IRS is not the only Federal agency to have a grudge against ex-pats.
So dear B. will not be getting his cookies, unless I can persuade Kathy to use precious luggage space to bring some home with her next time she visits the U.S. Even dearer grandchildren will also suffer from this USPS outrage, I'm afraid. It's still cheaper to mail packages than to visit in person—but a lot less fun.