Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015


Internet shopping is great. I want a new book, Kindle. Fifty seconds later I can start reading. Present for someone in the UK? Piece of cake. The problem comes when I want something that exists, something that has form and bulk, for myself.

Sometimes Amazon, or any of the other people I shop with, choose to send the thing to our PO box. Easier than easy. Often the Post Office even sends me a text message to say the package has arrived.

Sometimes, too often, the Internet seller uses a carrier - DHL, MRW, FedEx, UPS, SEUR, Tourline Express or any number of firms which claim to be the modern embodiment ot Herodutus "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds". They are all the same. Most of them can't find the house, I suspect that most of them don't even try.

Sometimes the carrier can't find the village. They take it back to San Juan or Alicante or wherever they have their local depot. They telephone me from their offices to suggest that I should move to a larger town with streets. I wonder why the driver didn't phone me when they were closer? I get to wait a couple of days more and still I have to meet them in the village.

I've got a new one though this time. They don't believe my address. I've talked about this before. No street, just numbers in our village. Obviously the people at DHL, MRW, FedEx, UPS, SEUR and Tourline Express don't believe this is possible. Some idiotic robotic voice calls to ask me to confirm my address. I confirm my address. Ten minutes later I get an email asking if I can confirm my address. The last package required about five minutes to order and pay. The "next day" delivery took nine days and required two robot voice questionings, one email, one phone call and one customer contact form.

When I was a boy I often holidayed in the Lake District. In Keswick there was a climbing shop. In the window they had a display of envelopes that were addressed to the shop in the most outlandish ways - the shop up from the pub, the shop with red boots in the window and the like. Someone, in the Post Office, a person who knew Keswick would read the envelope, use a bit of gumption and deliver the letters. I suspect that nobody actually reads  my address; some machine turns it into an unintelligible barcode and the fun begins.


M said...

>>They telephone me from their offices to suggest that I should move to a larger town with streets.


Have you tried giving them the gps coordinates?

Chris Thompson said...

It's a strange thing you know. The local police had the idea of using GPS co-ordinates to identify individual houses out in the sticks. It turned out to be much more difficult than they expected. The co-ordinates on Google maps for instance don't tie in with the TomTom co-ordinates. I have no idea why.