$100 Fish

With my Alaska Visa card and my MVP status with Alaska Airlines when flying I get the first checked package up to 50 lbs for free, the second is $30, and the third is $40. That worked great because I had 150 lbs of fish fillets. As we were packing our fish, we ran out of “Fish Boxes,” foil-lined, airline-approved boxes for sending frozen fish home that hold precisely 50 lbs. I drove into Soldotna and every store that sold them was sold out, evidently lots of fish were being caught. One store did have boxes that held 25 lbs, and the lady at the store suggested I fill two boxes and duct tape them together so they would count as one 50lb box. I thanked her for the good suggestion, and did just that. When I got to the airport the lady at the check-in counter said that I couldn’t do that, I had to count them as two boxes. The problem for me was that would give me four boxes, and the fourth box was $100. I used my nicest pastoral voice and asked why, and she said that was the rule, two separate boxes couldn’t be taped together. I said, “what if I take the boxes back outside and wrap them with so much duct tape you won’t be able to tell that there are two boxes.” She said, “I will remember your face and tell you that you can’t do that.” In hindsight, that is what I should have done without asking her, and gone to a different counter. I then suggested to her, “Would you let me open up the top of the bottom box, and the bottom of the top box and turn the two into one box?” “No.” So, in my most appealing voice I said, “You know that I thought this would be OK, because I didn’t hide the fact that there were two boxes, so can you let this fourth box go for free, after all, they are half the size?” “No!” I said, “You know, I am a poor pastor with eight kids and 27 grandkids and they will all go hungry this winter if I have to pay that extra $100.” I thought maybe a little humor would help. She did smile at that line. By this time there was a long line forming behind me, and my friendly lady at the counter was fast becoming grumpy, and the people behind me were starting to make snarling noices. At that point I gave up and paid the $100 for the fourth box, and soothed my ego by reminding myself that sockeye salmon was selling for $13 a pound so it wasn’t as bad as it seemed.

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