While my son likes to build things, my daughter likes Minecraft so she can take care of all the animals. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

While my son likes to build things, my daughter likes Minecraft so she can take care of all the animals. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Sarah Simpson column: The many benefits of receiving the wrong package

Don’t mess with my sister.

This is a story about two glorious 20-second walks and a $5 coupon.

Last week I walked from the newspaper office in Downtown Duncan to the post office, and back. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, I ran into a man and his friendly and ever-so-sweet husky puppy… it was the highlight of my day — to that point in my day, anyway.

Why the post office? Minecraft of course.

My children are into Minecraft. It’s a computer/video game in which you create a world out of blocks. There are various modes you can play but given the age of my kids, we tend to stay in “creative” mode, which means they have all of the world’s resources available to them and they are not required to mine or forage or build or battle anything, and best of all, their characters can’t die. They can just create. It’s a cool game and we often like to play it together, or online with the kids’ cousins.

Of course, though, nothing aimed at children can be a single product anymore. Children as consumers are way too valuable for that. The creators of Minecraft know this and that’s why their game is now complemented by all sorts of merchandise or, as my kids like to call it, ‘merch’.

As parents, we try to stay away from buying the supplementary products as best we can because you can really spend a lot of money in a hurry on a theme that your children will either grow out of, or get bored with in short order. There are obviously some exceptions: the odd hoodie on sale, a stuffy of a favourite character, but nothing major. Except, that is, for the one major exception: Lego. We love Lego. Even themed Lego can be broken down and built into other things. It’s a bit of a win-win.

So, when a Minecraft Lego set my daughter has been asking for for Christmas for the last three months was on sale, her adoring auntie bought it and had it delivered to my house to stash away for her for the holiday as we likely won’t be together this year.

The package arrived at my home a few days later and when I opened it, it was not the Lego Minecraft pig house (yes, it’s a thing) my sister ordered. It was some other kind of Minecraft structure.

My sister was furious. Not because the sender messed it up. Hey, accidents happen. But because when she called them, they told her they did it on purpose!

Whoever she talked to at customer service told her the order picker realized they were out of stock so they just picked something different and mailed that instead and would she like to just keep the set they sent instead or return it, and oh, they’d love to give her a $5 coupon for her trouble.

Seeing red, she told the clerk that the five-year-old wants the darn pig, we’ll be returning it and getting the pig from a competitor.

Don’t mess with my sister.

Feeling terrible for putting me out, she sent me the return shipping label and apologized profusely for making me to go the post office, as if it was her fault there was an error. I told her it wasn’t that big of a deal, the shipping for returns is free and my office is very close to the post office.

So, last Friday, it was a beauty of a day. I had my package and wandered over to the post office. I met the tiny husky pup, and within seconds I was at the post office.

I had a lovely, albeit brief, chat with the woman working at the desk, as I watched another postal employee carry a large muffler to the back room for processing.

“People sure do mail weird stuff,” I said. She agreed, saying they’d mailed an entire front bumper once and even an axe!

I laughed, and fondly remembered how much I love to get mail and tried to think about what the coolest package I ever received was.

I wandered back to the office, with the sun in my face and another job checked off my to-do list. The sun was warm, I was still grinning from my encounter with the postal worker, and I felt accomplished to have made the return and unburdened my sister of the guilt. I got back to the office and was further buoyed by a quick chat about Lego with our sales crew. I got back to my desk after my three-minute errand and sat down to write this very column no worse for the wear. In fact, a little bit better off.

Don’t worry, my daughter will get her pig house Lego for Christmas. Perhaps not from that particular retailer, but Auntie will make sure of it.

Sometimes it takes a silly inconvenience like this to make you stop and recognize the things in life that are truly special: my children’s love of Lego, my sister’s love for my children, my two glorious 20-second walks, and, of course, my sister’s new $5-off coupon.

It’s the little things…

ColumnistComedy and Humour