The Allure of a Package

A package delivered to one’s doorstep is a cause of great excitement, even if we know what the contents are. More often than not, we are the ones responsible for initiating the delivery process in the first place. We open the package, check out the contents and are either pleased or displeased.  In my house, after the box is emptied it is taken over by my pride of cats that use it as a secret hideout to nap inside or use it as home base for a game of danger kitten.

With the start of school looming ahead, it was time to start placing some on-line orders for my daughter. She is tall for her age and finding clothing that is age appropriate can be difficult. I have found two companies that make clothes that stand up to the test of my kindergartener who plays hard, loves to look girly, and views ketchup as another food group (and often wears it as well). One company is based in Freeport, Maine. The other company is based in San Francisco, California.  These two companies provide tracking information on the packages that we looking forward to receiving.  I admit that more often than not I am more concerned about when the delivery day will be. However, I also see this as another simple exercise in teaching my daughter about geography. Where did these packages travel from and through to get to our front doorstep?

I printed off the tracking information for both of the packages that we received. Each company used a different delivery service. One service was very general in their tracking information. The other was very detailed. This was a job for Google Maps!  I created a route citing the city of origin and destination for the package that came from California. It started off in Sacramento, California and ended up in Alabama by way of Atlanta, Georgia (just a little back tracking). Based on the route and time table listed, I can safely assume that it was transported by a semi. To keep the geography lesson simple, I made a list of the 9 states that the truck would have driven through: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Mileage wise just to get from Sacramento, CA to Atlanta, GA is 2,479 miles! I ended getting my shipping for free, but their normal rate of $5 is still quite a steal.

The other route that I plotted was more detailed, so I was able to incorporate that in the destination options. The detailed list showed: Freeport, Maine; Laurel, Maryland; Charlottesville, Virginia, Doraville, Georgia; Montgomery, Alabama; and Birmingham, Alabama. This other package traveled by way of semi through 13 states: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. The approximate mileage ended up being 1,442 miles. Again this one was a free shipping deal.

When I showed my little one the computer generated route, she was not impressed. She pressed for the globe. Why? It lights up and she considers it to be more fun. I traced both routes for her. What did she think about them? Not much. She was too busy checking out Russia, China, Brazil and New Guinea on the globe. Oh well! Such is life…

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