Dear Pack-out Diary,
After 15 hours total, the movers/packers wiped their hands clean of dealing with us. All of our possessions, save for those we can carry in our car, are in some remote location, hopefully starting the 2,500 mile journey to Mexico.
I've got a few leftover items that didn't make it into yesterday's post, and a few other observations from our experience to wrap this series up.
First, someone who knows a lot more about etiquette than I needs to put together a comprehensive book on the rules of tipping. I'm at a loss on this topic. There really isn't rhyme or reason to what is a good tip and who you tip.
For example, the first time a gas station attendant pumped my gas, I felt obligated to tip him, so I gave him $2. He looked surprised. I told my dad the story, and he said that is because you don't tip gas station attendants. Why not? We tip bell hops for flagging down a cab or moving our bags on a rolling luggage rack.
So, yesterday morning as the movers/packers were finishing the job, Natalie called Free Studies Inside (FSI) to get their advice (Natalie edit: actually, it was the travel office), because we felt like tipping here seemed appropriate. Plus, as I mentioned yesterday, we liked these guys; even the schmuck was a nice guy. (Though our opinion is subject to change depending on the status of stuff when we get it.)
The word that came down from FSI is that the government doesn't cover tipping the workers, and that often times, people provide food and drink for the workers. That would have been good to know during the first day of packing, but not so helpful during the second day. (And to add insult to injury, not only did we not buy them lunch, we ate our lunch in front of them...we aren't bad people, just ignorant on these matters.)
So we tipped each of the three movers $40 at the end of day yesterday. I have no idea if that what was cheap or overly generous, but I say that compares pretty favorably to a $10 lunch. Though they probably didn't feel that way on the first day of packing.
Also during the first day of packing we had lots of visitors. The State Department sent over an inspector, which was surprising because we didn't ask for one. He was a very nice guy and gave us one good piece of advice. Buy a guest book for our travels. The moving/packing company also sent an inspector.
I don't really have tips for how to prepare for pack-out other than it seems that unless you dedicate an absurd amount of time sorting through every thing, you won't ever be 100% ready. We were ready enough that our air freight shipment (I now consider UAB obsolete) has most of our necessities. Though the ratio ended up something like this: Natalie - 350 pounds; Tiffy - 60 pounds; EF'M - 40 pounds. I guess this was my penance for poorly overseeing Al's pack-out.
If we had this move to do all over again, I suppose I'd spend more time preparing our air freight. That is probably the only good, over-arching piece of advice I can offer.
The thing is is that every one's situation is different. For us, about 80% of our items were going ground/surface/sea (so long to HHE, too). For non-local hires, I'm guessing there is a lot more going into storage.
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