Kokua Line ‘Finders keepers’ applies to unsolicited merchandise By June Watanabe Jan. 30, 2014 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Question: I received a mysterious package that says “Return service requested. Open immediately. Package one of one.” I don’t recall any outstanding order. I’m afraid to open it because there’s no return address and I might be responsible for any payment due. Can you give me some advice? Answer: In this case, you can open the package and can keep anything in it you might want, without any obligation. That’s the word from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which is the federal law enforcement arm of the Postal Service. Brian Shaughnessy, the U.S. postal inspector in Honolulu, explained you have three options if you receive any unsolicited merchandise (or mail) and don’t wish to pay for it: >> If you haven’t opened the package, you may mark it “Return to Sender” and the Postal Service will return it with no additional postage charges. >> If there is no return address, it will be sent to the Postal Service’s Mail Recovery Center on the mainland. >> If you open the package and don’t like what you find, you may throw it away. If you like what you find, you may keep it for free. “Finders keepers” applies unconditionally in a case like this. “It is against the law for the sender of any illegally mailed unordered merchandise to mail a bill to the recipient of that merchandise,” Shaughnessy said. He also pointed out that as a consumer, you may legally be sent only two types of merchandise through the mail without your consent or agreement: free samples clearly and conspicuously marked as such and merchandise mailed by a charity soliciting contributions. Sakura Viewing You don’t have to travel to Japan — or Washington, D.C. — to enjoy the sight of myriad cherry trees in bloom. On Oahu, Wahiawa is the unofficial “Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Town,” where more than 500 cherry trees dating back to the 1950s have thrived in the area’s cool climate. The Wahiawa Nikkei Civic Association is offering two 90-minute “Sakura Safari” trolley rides through the community at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Saturday. At last check, 20 seats were available on each trolley. Tickets are $18; special bentos can be purchased for $5. Reservations are required. Call Rene Mansho, the association’s secretary, at 291-6151 for tickets and information. First come, first served. Although anyone can drive through Wahiawa and view the trees on their own, the trees don’t all bloom at the same time. So if you’re unfamiliar with the area, it may take awhile to find the blossoms beyond the main street of California Avenue. The trolley tours also are “historical tours of Wahiawa, where you get to see the history of places” as well as where the trees are in bloom, Mansho said. She also explained that the cherry blossoms in Wahiawa are small and dark pink, originating from Naha, Okinawa, and not the “big, white, fluffy pink ones” found in Tokyo and Washington, D.C., where the National Cherry Blossom Festival is held annually to celebrate the gift of cherry blossom trees from Japan. And while the peak blooming period for the D.C. trees is in April, for Wahiawa, the period is December to the end of February, Mansho said. The Wahiawa Nikkei Civic Association was founded in 1953 to promote Japanese cultural heritage and good will between Japan and the United States, as well as to perpetuate “the hope of transforming Wahiawa as a Sakura City of Oahu.” Mahalo To a kind woman. After attending a trade show at the Neal Blaisdell Center on Saturday, Jan. 11, we walked up Ward Avenue alongside Thomas Square when it began to rain. A woman in her car rolled her window down, called to us and offered to drive us to our car, wherever it was. She asked several times, but we declined as we were wet and had several packages. We want to acknowledge her extremely generous offer. — Two Grandmas ——— Write to “Kokua Line” at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email email@example.com. Previous Story Waipahu teacher welcomes greeting cards of all types Next Story Closing offramps for Pro Bowl done only 'when necessary'