Nothing says to a sick friend, “I’m thinking of you,” like homemade cookies.
My friend Wayne, a big buttered cookie fan, was treated in a big city away from home. In order for him to know that we care about him and think about him, during this time I prepared and sent him several batches of cookies.
You may have read the usual tips for sending cookies: bars and cookies move better than delicate ones; prefer hard biscuits to crumbly ones.
I’ve never done this, but thought it might be difficult?
When cookies are sent by mail, learning curves are used and you will be taken to the United States Postal Service first. Before mailing a single cookie, I went online to find the best way to do it. Priority Mail Express, the fastest shipping method, is expensive. I used regular Priority Mail, which takes up to three days.
One of the benefits of using Priority Mail is that you can bring the box home before you’re ready to ship. You don’t have to look for the box, and you don’t even pay for it until you’re ready to mail it in.
I chose a small, flat rate box, just over 8 “by 5” and about an inch and a half thick. This could hold about two dozen small to medium biscuits. Then I went home to the oven.
I baked early in the morning, packed and delivered to the post office as soon as they cooled down to keep them as fresh as possible when they left.
The first batch was drip cookies with white and dark chocolate chunks, dried cranberries and cashews. They arrived safely; I was happy to see a photograph of Wayne holding one in the hospital with a smile on his face.
Several more batches were released, and since the weather was chilly, I decided to make buttered sandwiches with chocolate and jam.
I sent Wayne pictures of the entire cookie baking process: imported butter softened on the counter; cooling biscuits; ready-made cookies in chocolate; packed and addressed box.
Then I headed to the post office, mailed them and mailed a copy of the receipt with the tracking number.
The cookie never came. I put the tracking number on the USPS website and found my package was officially missing. I could fill out a claim if I wanted to, as there was some insurance in the box.
Step one: You can file a claim after 15 days, but before 60 days. Receipt.
Step two: collect the documents. Receipt: check. Proof of value: sales receipt, credit card statement, bill paid, etc. Wait, how do you rate homemade cookies?
And so I got stuck. As a curmudgeon, I have been able to issue checks for the past 10 years. I might appreciate the flour, butter, and chocolate, but did Wayne make the homemade apricot jam that I used to fill the biscuits? Or the cost of making these ingredients something special? You cannot put a price on it.
It turned out that at this time Wayne was moved to a new apartment at the medical center. And the concierge at the previous location “didn’t help,” Wayne said in his typically polite manner.
Six weeks later, a package arrived at my home with the words “send back to sender” in bold marker. One end was opened and then taped over.
The weather turned hot and the chocolate melted. The cookie was messy.
I was disappointed, but the squirrels were thrilled.
Since then, there have been several batches of cookies, all of which I brought by car to Wayne’s house when he was already at home.
I really don’t blame the postal service; I suspect the concierge in the previous building sat on the package for a while, even though he knew Wayne’s forwarding address.
The concierge felt a stab of guilt and sent the package back after a while, or he or she was motivated by the fact that if a person steals packages or letters from the USPS and is caught and charged with a crime, they (from the USPS website in bold) “Can serve up to three years in prison”?
We will never know.
Wayne is feeling better and still getting the biscuits. But from now on, I’ll take care of it myself.
He is at home now, and he is feeling better.
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Categories: Food, Life & Art