chronicles of a misdelivered package

October 11th, 2007

Dutch people like to have things sent to their house. The concept of a post office isn't very strong, in the sense of a place where you do your business. I'm used to the post office, at times I've gone there so much I practically know the people who work there. The post office is where I would pick up computer hardware (and with the amount of bad hardware I've seen there would be plenty of returns too), merchandise, ebay purchases, the whole shebang. I'm not saying it's ideal, I certainly don't feel much like running that errand at times. But it's sort of *safe*. If you get a package that doesn't fit in your mailbox they store it at the post office for you, and drop off a note saying they have it. You know where it is, you can go and get it.

But it's a brave new world here down south. There is a post office, but they apparently don't get much business. Instead, any shipment with your name on it is supposedly delivered to your house. The post office does this, and all the commercial package delivery companies do this. Now, I have no problem with home package delivery in principle. But in practice it just doesn't effin work. And it's been so many years that it's time for someone to friggin realize that already.

Here in Holland the delivery people supposedly deliver it to your house. What this actually means is that they give it to the neighbor. Now, why the hell would I want my neighbor to have my package? Why not give it to whoever is on the street closest to my door just as well? The package is for _me_, not some other person. If your head is spinning right now, that's normal. If *I* order a shipment, then *I'm* supposed to get it, not my bus driver, my gardener or some random person in my neighborhood.

So now people get packages that aren't for them. Talk about a problem I never saw coming. Housing in the cities is so dense that if all you know is that "your neighbor" has your package, that could easily be anyone in about 50 addresses. And in each one of those there may or may not be some person who knows something about your package. What a fantastic system.

A long time ago I walked in to see a package in the corridor in our house. That was like a month ago. Everyday I open the front door and the package is still there. It's not for us, it's for the neighbor. It's been there all this time and no one has come to claim it. The packaging was also fairly crap so it started actually falling apart from being moved out of the way a bunch of times. Inside there was some shampoo bottles or something. Finally I got sick of looking at it and I put it outside the door of the address written on the box. They open the front door, they see it, problem solved. The following day the neighbor (apparently) comes knocking, looking for the package.

When I say I put it outside their door that's not what she wanted to hear. Apparently despite the location they didn't get it, and most likely someone made away with it. And for some reason now I'm the bad guy. "Why didn't you come and get it?" "I didn't know where it was." "So why didn't you find out until now, it's been there a month." "Not a month! Three weeks." Yeah, huge difference. "There was 100 euro in there."

I am not the post office. I am not responsible for storing or delivering packages. Least of all on behalf of people I don't know, never seen, don't even know the existence of. The package was kept for 3 weeks, or a month, whatever. That's friggin ample time to claim a package you care about. I have no idea who this person is, whether they even live at that address or it's misaddressed, when they might show up or if they ever will. I might as well have kept it there for a year, what's the difference? From the looks of the content, it might as well be some kind of promotional gift that someone ordered and forgot about, useless junk. If it were something valuable then yes I would have more patience. In Norway if you don't claim your package from the post office within 3 weeks, they send it back to the sender. I have never had a problem with this, and with all the packages I've received I've never lost one because I took too long to claim it.

This is friggin ridiculous. If my package gets delivered to the wrong place I don't expect a strange person to store it in perpetuity on the chance that I may one day show up. It's not their responsibility. If my package is misplaced, that's *my* problem. And it has been, I've gotten packages here while I wasn't home. I claimed them immediately.

"It isn't very social." What the hell does social have to do with anything? I have never seen this woman before. I have never even seen that door open. Not even once. In 18 months. I have no idea who does or doesn't live there. So if I decline to serve as a safety deposit box without a time limit, that makes me "not social". So be it.

My other neighbor came calling a couple of weeks ago looking for a package. I said I haven't seen it. She looked very concerned about it. I sympathized with her, I wouldn't want my package lost. I wrote a note to the people in this house to inform them of the situation. Later on she dropped off a note herself, asking us to please give her the package if we have it. This is how you go about finding your valuables. Pro-actively. If I had a package addressed to her I would be "social", because I know who she is. But that's rather different from expecting favors from a person you've never even met. You expect me to be "social" after leaving your package here for weeks on end and all this time it doesn't even occur to you to ask the next door neighbor? Well excuse me for thinking you don't care about it. And if you don't care about it, I definitely don't.

"That's not how we do things in Holland." Maybe it isn't. Or maybe it's more like the other neighbor did.

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3 Responses to "chronicles of a misdelivered package"

  1. erik says:

    Delivering a package to the neighbor just sounds too 1950s, I don't know who's dumb enough to think you can get away with it, especially in cities.

    No mailman in the Hague would dream of it, but then again I did live an awful neighborhood so maybe my experiences aren't completely representative of the truth. Either way, the procedure saw the package delivered to your house and in case of no answer, to the post office. Any package I ever received at my apartment in the Hague I had to go and collect at the post office after finding a note in my mailbox saying the postman hadn't found me at home. As far as I'm concerned, that's the only proper way of doing things.

  2. numerodix says:

    Yeah, I get the feeling TNT (what fun to be associated with an explosive) are more consistent about this than the dozen other delivery companies that have their own rules.

  3. jack says:

    jesus christ you are a dumb dick