A package from India.
After hearing our recent stories on India's economy, Planet Money listener Tom O'Brien sent us this picture, and the story that goes with it.
About four years ago I had a checkerboard but no chess pieces.
So I went on eBay and ordered, from the Yiperoo company in Varanasi, India, a set of hand-carved chess pieces.
The packaging is rough-woven cloth, hand stitched, including the shipping information sewn on.
That red stuff on the seams: sealing wax. Originally it had the odor of grass, which tells me that the packing material is not bubble wrap. The package is so amazing that I never opened it.
It is an artifact that’s hard to fathom, Internet commerce by way of the East India Company. My very first thought when I saw this was, “These are the guys who are kicking our ass?”
I have to admit, I wanted chess pieces, but I don’t play chess. You can’t get lucky playing chess. The package itself is more interesting than what I know of its contents. I occasionally wonder what other amusement would be had from the innards of the thing, but I doubt I’ll ever know.