An early Christmas present was agreed in the form of a pair of boots.
Nothing ordinary, of course.
No, they had to be Courteney Boots made in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, of finest Cape buffalo hide. (No elephants were used in their construction)
In particular, a pair of Selous boots, named after legendary big game hunter, adventurer, explorer, pioneer and scout Frederick Courteney Selous (1851-1917).
A quick website check and phone call revealed a company in New Zealand which used to be agents no longer were.
Amid a range of distributors from LLC Gun Store Arsenal in Moscow to Pan African Ammunition Manufacturers in Gaborone, Botswana, the firm of Pimlico Heath in Ballina, New South Wales, was chosen for geographic closeness.
Feet were duly measured at T. Clark Men’s Shoes in Auckland’s Queen’s Arcade to be size 8.5 and details emailed to Malcolm Nott at Pimlico Heath.
There was return confirmation a pair was expected “any day” from Zimbabwe.
Payment was made by international money transfer, an exercise which ran up about $50 in trans-Tasman bank charges.
Notification followed that the Selous were entrusted to Australia Post’s Express Post International on October 29 with their own individual tracking code.
Allowing a few days to reach Auckland, the tracking process began, showing over several days the Selous were “in transit”.
Chasing the tracking code revealed they arrived in New Zealand on November 5, but getting no further word as to their whereabouts, phone inquiries began.
A call to a nice Ocker at Express Post International in Australia elicited the news that once the Selous were in New Zealand, they were the responsibility of NZ Post.
A call to NZ Post revealed that because the parcel weighed more than 2kg it had been sent to DX Mail for delivery.
A call to DX Mail was met with a claim the Selous were being held by NZ Customs for clearance.
A call to NZ Customs – answered in Dunedin – was met with the news the Selous were at the Customhouse building in Anzac Ave, Auckland, where they could be picked up after various duties and taxes paid.
Not so, the patient officer explained at the Customhouse. “You can pay here but we do not hold any goods. They will be at DX Mail.”
So why would DX Mail say Customs had them? It seems DX Mail should not have said that.
An eye-watering payment of import duty, GST, import transaction fee, GST on import transaction fee, biosecurity levy and GST on biosecurity levy came to $169.80.
So the boots were at DX Mail, the corner of George Bolt and Tom Pearce Drive at Auckland airport.
“I can fax them to show you have paid and they can be released,” said Mr Customs.
“Can I go and pick them up myself to avoid any more extra handling and delay?”
“I’ll give them a call,” said Mr Customs.
After a few minutes he came back. “They closed at 2 o’clock.” It was by now about 3.15 pm.
Back at the office a call to DX Mail disclosed they were open only between 10am and 2pm. And they were at Auckland airport.
“Now that you have paid Customs we will give them to NZ Couriers for delivery… ”
“NO YOU WON’T. I will come out and collect them in person… ”
Now firmly laced around my feet, the Selous – as indicated above, an early Christmas present – are here to stay.
“Would it not have been cheaper to get them sent one at a time?” suggested Girlfriend.
Which brings me to Girlfriend’s Christmas present – a mail-order worm farm.
Watch this space…