How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (Author: Tara Hunt)
Oh reader, your faithful narrator just doesn’t have it in her today to tell you about her year’s travels. I feel as if I’ve already kicked that dead horse a couple of times too many for our beloved Reverb10. However, being as yesterday was my BEST DAY YET (!!) for readership, I have a feeling that many of you are new to my corner of the blogosphere. If “Yes! I am!” is your response, then I encourage you to look HERE, and HERE (or even HERE if you like pictures) so you’ll know that I really have already answered and am not just copping out to suit my own needs.
That said, fret not. I shan’t leave you with a metaphorical hard-on or a reader’s equivalent of blue balls. Instead of re-answering today’s prompt, I shall regale you with a tale of my latest runaround with that Testament to Inefficiency: The United States Postal Service.
The scene opens around about the beginning of November, when I was scouring the interwebz for a dress suitable for a semi-formal Holiday party. Dancing with a whim, I got it into my mind that what I really wanted was something with LOTS OF SEQUINS. A couple of days search lead me to the PERFECT DRESS on my favorite website for all things vintage and neat-o: Ebay. My first clue that this particular buying experience was going to go gloriously awry appeared at the outset. Upon viewing my Paypal account, I was dismayed to find that I was charged a significant amount more than I’d bid for this item (a beautiful Tory Birch minidress covered in chocolate colored sequins). It was a split second before I hit “send” on a terse letter to the seller that I realized that the Idiot Award would actually be going to me: I had not realized that I’d been bidding in British pounds and not my own native currency. BLAST! (For the record, pulling the trigger before actually reading the fine print is a classic bit-o-Jen.)
The damage done, I paid my bill and let the seller know that I’d need the item for a Holiday party three and a half weeks into the future. She assured me that she’d have it out the next day. ”Right-o”, she said (no, really, she actually typed “Right-O”) and I began my eager wait. Well, as you may have already guessed, three and a half weeks IS NOT EVEN CLOSE to enough time to allow for the USPS, holiday traffic, the Royal Mail Service and International Customs. The Christmas party came and went (with me relegated, sadly, to a previously worn, assuredly NOT AWESOME and NOT SEQUINED holiday frock) and so did my move to another apartment.
About a week ago, I began an inquiry into its progress. Now please, follow closely, but don’t expect to understand. I certainly don’t:
I tracked the package with the USPS, whose representatives told me that they hadn’t received it yet, please contact the seller. I contacted the seller, who contacted the Royal Mail service whose representative said that the USPS definitely had it, please contact the recipient (that’s me). I followed up with the USPS who told me that they couldn’t give me any information (on MY package!) until the seller opened an “Official Inquiry”. I contacted the seller, who had already done that, who recontacted the Royal mail, whose representative then said that the package had been signed for in the States, but they couldn’t say by who for “Security Purposes.” I recontacted the USPS, who said that yes, the package HAD INDEED arrived, but they couldn’t tell me where, or who signed for it for “Security Purposes”, that the seller would need to open an “Official Inquiry”. Sound familiar yet?
Well, after the second “Official Inquiry” we were told that the package had arrived in a neighboring city. Fast forward to today, when I visited the post office in that city to pick up my package. It took an hour for me to find out the following: Somehow, my package was sent to a very old address in the city we moved from early last spring. From there, the package was forwarded to a PO box that we’d opened pending finding a place to live. When the package arrived at the PO box, it was discovered that we no longer had that PO Box and it was forwarded to the address of the place we moved to. There, the USPS discovered that there were no occupants, so instead of forwarding it to the new (my current) address, they sent it back to the post office where the PO box WAS. The staff there realized that we had a forwarding address, so they started the forwarding process.
The best part about this? All of the above is a GUESS. No one actually KNOWS where my package is at this very moment. We have to “wait and let the process play out.” (?!?!?!?!?!)
Well, “What about those tracking numbers and scans that the post office does for certified, tracked mail?” you ask. ”There must be a central database that uploads a package’s location when it’s scanned.” Yes, that would make sense. But, NO, THERE ISN’T. No central database, no way to contact the carriers, no estimate when there COULD be an answer. Somewhere, floating around in the Postal Ether, travels a lone sequin minidress crying out for an owner, its arms limply crumpled in a useless ball. And here I sit, blogging out my frustration, wondering what the cuss a tracking number is for if not for TRACKING A CUSSING PACKAGE. In the spot-on verbiage of the train wreck that is Amy Winehouse, I’m wondering: Whaaaaaat kind of fuckery is this????
And, Iceland. I think I want to travel to Iceland this coming year.