You’ve Got Mail – Not!

I can get used to lots of things I find a bit odd or even disturbing, but one thing I simply cannot stand is disorganization. It has, in the almost four months I’ve lived in Hoosierville now, occurred to me more than once that the system of transporting out of state mail to Hoosierville is rivaled in efficiency only by the German railway system (otherwise known as Deutsche Bahn). Apparently, foreign parcel post must, for some mysterious reason, be sent via Chicago. That’s in Illinois, which makes it practically around the corner from us. Since leaving Germany, we have sent four parcels to ourselves, and every single one – let me repeat that so you can see what I mean: EVERY. SINGLE. ONE!- arrived at our post office damaged! I would very much enjoy blaming the APO system for this, if the horribly overpriced package I mailed whilst on holiday had not suffered the same fate. That particular box was never touched by the grubby little hands of undertrained postal employees on the military side of things. So, I ask you: WTF?!

Items ordered from elsewhere within the United States do arrive unharmed, but with such delay that one should begin planning for next year’s holiday activities now in order to ensure everything gets here on time. A week or so before Christmas, we ordered a set of fitness DVDs and a raclette maker. They were shipped from different sellers. The DVDs were here within a week. The raclette maker, required utensil for making, well, raclette, on New Year’s, is nowhere to be seen. The delivery date was three days ago. Since then, it seems to be stuck in Michigan.

Which brings me to Michigan… it is the state directly north of Hoosierville. You can get there in under two hours. Unfortunately, Michgonians seem to never quite have picked up on what to do when it snows, which in the roughly 500 years since one Christopher Columbus arrived from warmer regions, it has probably done with fair frequency. It snows up there. A lot. I have friends who have been left without power for weeks twice since October. That’s ridiculous. But then, I don’t expect my snowed in friends to deliver my mail, I expect the US Postal Service to do so. You know, those people who run those wonderfully diversified commercials in which dedicated actors look you straight in the eye and lie to your face about braving tornadoes, ice storms, monsoon season and any other weather you might call “inclement” in order to make sure your mail gets to you. I’m guessing none of these people have ever been to Michigan, just as none of the writers for this propaganda drivel have ever been to Michigan. My mail has. It’s still there.

Then, of course, I don’t really understand why everything must go up north in the first place. Perhaps if stuff gets flown in. Snazzy Detroit does, after all, have an international airport which probably pretends to be equipped to handle cargo of all sorts. But when an order originates in Ohio (one state over to the east of us, again, you can get there in less than two hours by car) and it STILL goes to Detroit before being driven down by an elderly snail with poor eyesight, I do wonder just a little who came up with that splendid idea. Someone who loves driving? Has no reason to go home at the end of the day? Secretly loathes being stuck in a service job?

Foreigners frequently tell me they regard Germans as “efficient” (not necessarily a compliment, I assure you). Possibly I’ve heard that enough times to have started believing it myself, which makes it so damned difficult to deal with inefficiency. I would love to sit down and write someone a letter detailing a few ideas about how to run things better. But I’m afraid that letter would never make it past Detroit…


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