Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Package Drama

Goal: to send 2 packages, 1 to my sister for her birthday and one to Aubree in China as a random cadeau

Level of Difficulty: WAY behind proportion to the goal.

Post office hours here are ridiculously awkward for anyone who has a real job, so I've always used the 'bureau de poste' that is in the lab complex. Apparently, they have recently had a rules change without notifying anyone, because when I took my packages Wednesday morning, the man informed me that they no longer send personal mail. When I told him that I was expecting to pay, not the lab, he didn't care. So then I had to carry my packages with me that evening, when I was planning on hiking up the Bastille. Oh joy. Strike 1!

That evening, I had the bright idea to stop by a real, exterior to lab, post office on the way to the mountain. They were still open (!) but it seems this was surprising to most locals as well because the line was nearly out the door. We hadn't allocated much time for the spur-of-the-moment post office run, so we decided to leave because if we had waited, it would have gotten dark when we were halfway up the hill. Which would have been bad. Uphill in the cold dark, ugh. So I carried the packages uphill and then back home with me. They weren't terribly heavy, but still.

That night, the girl who I climbed the Bastille with, Franziska, offered to take them to the post office the next day with her, when she went for something else. So I took them to work again, and gave them to Franziska after lunch. Today, she comes to the office...handing me back the package to China. She was happy that she had mailed my sister's bday present, because it needs to be there by April 3 (small chance, I know!) but she couldn't mail the other one because she didn't know the contents for the customs declaration. I think if I was AT the post office with a package, I would either make up the contents, or open it and then reseal it...but I dunno. Maybe there were lots of grumbling french people behind her in line,...Strike 2!

So there I was again, at work today, friday, with a package that was supposed to be mailed on Tuesday. I left relatively early today, 5, went to the library to pay a fine, and then raced to make it to the post office. Whew, 5:33, made in the shade!...or so I thought. I got into the post office only to find out that the computers were down and they could not send any packages AT ALL. Mon dieu! Strike 3! (but baseball aside, I was determined at this point to send this blinking package!)

Ok, can I make it to another post office in 20 minutes? This is assuming they don't close the doors early, because they have enough of a line to keep them busy to closing time...entirely possible to occur... I get there at 10 til...and proceed to come THIS close to getting hit by a biker crossing the street. Not a, it obeyed the law and stopped for the pedestrian...but it was a close miss. However, that must have been the last of the bad luck because the post office counter closed just AFTER me instead of before me, at 4:53, and my package is safely INSIDE the post office.
No guarantees it will get to China before August, but hey, its on its way, after the biggest comedy of postal frustration ever. I like France, but the postal service could use some work!

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