Wednesday, June 25, 2014

It’s a tough life or...

Life on the receiving end of package deliveries.

Now I know that we all buy things from a certain on-line mail-order company: A……com not to mention names: even I do so, usually ordering from the UK as a larger choice in English books and DVDs although I have friends who say that Germany is just as good and if I do a search, my search engine will allocate me to France as that is my normal language.

From the UK my packages (and the last 20 of my son) arrive via our local postal service, which, other than the problem of actually having to go to the village to pick them up (I have a PO box so nothing is delivered), works fairly well. One time in one hundred there are customs and processing fees to pay, but that is rather hit and miss so not a total upset.

The other delivery companies though make my life miserable. They show up, ring the gate bell (or not, I swear) then leave within seconds.  The second time (sometimes one gets lucky and they leave a paper the first time), they arrive at the same time and leave one a message saying that they’ll be back the next day at the same time (like if you weren’t there the first day at that time, you are likely to be there the second day?).

Yes, you can go online and try and change the delivery time and date, but their routes are usually not that variable.  I have been known to get them to tell me where the truck currently is and dash up to get the package myself.

Today, however, none of that was working: the slip was in the mail slot, no date, no time, and no remarks as to a possible delivery, just the notification number (which as it turns out, isn’t even the order number!).

As this is a birthday gift ordered by my housemate for me, it was really in my interest to figure out how to obtain the package!
The telephone number that she had been given was a USA toll-free number, but by going on line and with the info number (remember not the tracking number) I was able to see where it had been: Philadelphia to Cologne, Germany, to Lyon, France to Geneva and the times at which they attempted to deliver it: Monday 12:10, Tues. 12:02 so I opened up the gate and hoped for the best. Of course I only did that when my housemate called at 12:40 and missed the truck which according to later information had been here at 12:35!

But the website also had a Swiss toll-free number: progress is being made. I duly called that and was offered a choice of German, French or Italian as languages. OK, then a choice of 1, 2, 3 or 0 (what they corresponded to I can’t remember). When finally I had a person online he was very disagreeable: amongst others, “you chose how your package would be sent, so you need to contact that company”… so I gave up temporarily.

Waited with open gate (and bated breath) but of course no truck.

After lunch, a couple more telephone calls to other persons (some much more enjoyable) I felt able to re-tackle the problem. Called the number again, went through my language choice, my “problem” choice and got a live person… who was very professional, apologizing profusely for the original contact (profusely, but not in an unprofessional or smarmy manner), and proceeded to try and help me get my package: one line that I recall was “I will help you get your delivery to your home at a time and date that is convenient FOR YOU”!  In the end – and with his lovely attitude – we did settle on a 3-hour period Friday where I will make myself available at home for this delivery.

Didn’t endure me any more to that particular delivery company (Uxx again not to mention names), but at least the second person is to be lauded in his handling of an irate person!

I know that I don’t yet have the package, but I now have a better feeling that I might actually get it before it returns to the USA.

Another positive: my birthday is still 6 weeks away! So we have wiggle time.