Martha Siegling Luke was mailing a package to relatives in Las Vegas, New Mexico, when the postal clerk advised that she had the wrong state on her label. Las Vegas is in Nevada, the clerk explained. “I advised her that I was mailing the package to New Mexico, home of the first Las Vegas,” Luke says. And, we might add, the best Vegas.

In 2016, Thom Andrewz of Rio Rancho had a Christmas visitor from Chicago who mailed a birthday card from his place, in plenty of time—she thought—for a friend’s December 30 birthday. She later called him to report that the friend hadn’t received the card until February 6, 2017. No telling how far it had traveled, but the mailman wouldn’t let go of it until the belated-birthday girl paid $2.16 in international postage.

During a family cruise vacation in Alaska, Jack Busch of Santa Fe found a piece of art he liked in an onboard silent auction. An eager attendant informed him that the price included free shipping within the United States. When Busch said he lived in Santa Fe, the attendant did a double take, then said, “Oh, then there will be a small charge for shipping.”

Ellen Romero of Tijeras was shaken last Fall when she called the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, to buy a gift and was told, “I’m sorry, we have suspended shipping to Mexico because of the earthquake.”  Romero patiently explained her location in the 47th state. She waited on hold for several minutes until the salesperson could confirm New Mexico’s placement with a supervisor. “The Met store has distinctive gifts that span 5,000 years of art and culture,” Romero says. “Maybe they should consider giving their employees a modern geography lesson.”

Victor Aguirre:
At an NMSU career fair in the 1990s, a recruiter from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (near Washington, D.C.) told me how her travel had been seamless. “The drive from El Paso wasn’t bad,” she said. Later she told me that I spoke English well. “Ummm, thanks! I try hard,” I said. She made other comments before I realized she thought she was in Mexico!

Anna Larson: My hubby was in the Army in Georgia, and his command refused to grant him leave to visit me in a “foreign” country.

Gil Gallegos: One time while I was working at a regional office in Philadelphia for my company, a human resources manager said, “Gil, where are you from?” I replied “Albuquerque” and she said, “Isn’t that near Acapulco?” I said, “Yes, it’s right down the road!”

Zia Williams McKean: I went to visit my family for Thanksgiving and I mentioned to several people at work that I was traveling to New Mexico. When I got home, the rumor mill had turned that into me visiting Mexico with my family, and I guess there was some animosity that my last-minute schedule change was for an international vacation. The most exciting thing I actually did was eat some turkey!

Jennifer Jones: When I was studying at the University of Houston, they asked for my green card, even though my transcripts were from UNM and I had a New Mexico driver’s license. Clearly, I chose not to take a geography class while there! I’m glad I had the sense to finish up my degree back in New Mexico.

Mario Vigil: When renting a car in Orlando, we showed our New Mexico driver’s licenses and then were asked for our passports because, the clerk said, “Yeah, it’s a state but not part of the United States.” I asked, “What do you think is between Texas and Arizona?” Her manager set her straight, and when we finally got our car, she asked, “Do you need a map?” To which I replied, “No, but you do.”

Sheri VanMeter Rawlings: I ordered online through a large popular vendor. My address was correctly written in my order and on the shipping label, but our furniture went to Mexico!

Jim Cornelison: As a kid I remember that Christmas presents arriving from relatives were always labeled with our address, followed by “U.S.A.”

Scott Ferguson: I saw an ad for a car on the Lexus website. I clicked on the “build your own” option and put in the Angel Fire zip code. The message that popped up said, “We’re sorry. Lexus.com only has information about vehicles in the continental U.S. Change to a continental zip code.” I’m pretty sure Angel Fire is in the continental U.S. 

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