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North Saanich woman dismayed as Christmas package zigzags across country

Dec 22 2011

Kelly Albucz just wanted her mother to have something nice for Christmas. Now she wonders if her gift will arrive at all.

Albucz, of North Saanich, said her parents, who live in Callander outside North Bay, Ont., rarely travel far afield and have limited shopping options. So she spent ages looking for clothes that her 71-year-old mother could wear over the Christmas holidays.

"It's not of big value," Albucz said. "But it took me months to find them and alter them and to have them prepared so they're ready to wear for her, so she can thrill to have these little outfits for her Christmas get-togethers with her church buddies."

Albucz mailed the gift on Dec. 1, then watched in dismay as Canada Post's online tracking service showed the present making five trips across the country without ever getting near her parents' house.

"I just desperately wanted my mother to have something," she said.

Albucz complained twice to Canada Post, but got no response until the Times Colonist began asking questions Wednesday.

Canada Post spokeswoman Anick Losier said she would give the case top priority, and later reported that a coding error had resulted in the package looping from Richmond, B.C., to Mississauga, Ont., and back again. She said Canada Post employees are now pulling out the stops to find the parcel in the system and get it to Callander before Christmas.

"This is not the type of service we want to give to anybody," Losier said. "We want to make sure everybody gets a Merry Christmas, so let us try to find a solution to this."

Albucz received a telephone call from Canada Post later Wednesday to say they were still searching for her parents' present. She said it appears the postal code on her package was correct, but the machine coding that was applied at the post office was the problem.

"So it was the coding that the machine reads that kept looping it back," Albucz said.

It's still unclear whether the present will be found and delivered in time for Christmas, but Albucz said it's encouraging to know the problem is being taken seriously.

"You know, it's such a small thing, but it isn't," she said.

lkines@timescolonist.com

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