How to Receive a Package in France

1.  Notice sticker on your mailbox stating that your package was unable to be delivered because:
– You were not home, and/or
– It is too large for your mailbox, and/or
– There are three codes to enter your building

2.  You go to the URL on the sticker, and it gives you 3 options:
– Pick up the package from a warehouse that is in the suburbs of Paris and not convenient to get to
– Request a new date of delivery at your home. You cannot specify a time so you have to plan to be at home all day
– Request a new date of delivery at another address

3.  You choose the third option. It is Thursday, and the earliest delivery date available is Monday, 2 business days from then.

4.  On Friday, there is a sticker on your mailbox, the same type as the initial one. Strange because you already asked that the package be delivered to another address the following Monday.

5.  Monday passes, and you are at the address all day but no package arrives.

6.  On Tuesday you call the delivery service company, who says that you must pick up the package from the address on the sticker. You respond that there was no address on the sticker. They call you back and leave a message with the address, which is completely different from the address that was online, but it’s near where you live so that’s good. The only thing is that the pick-up place is closed that week so you’ll have to go next week.

7.  Monday of the next week arrives, and you go to the address. There is only an apartment building there. You listen to the voicemail from the delivery service again, and you realize that the address is 66, not 63. (Okay, this time that’s your fault.)  You look across the street hopefully, but number 66 is not there. It is a couple of streets down.

8.  You reach the correct address and are a bit confused when you see that it is an optical shop. As in they sell eyeglasses there.

9.  You enter the shop and notice that there are also piles of packages on the floor. You didn’t order eyeglasses so you know that the shop’s function as a pick-up point is separate from its optical business. The employee asks for your name and then gives you your package. “So you’re a shop but also receive packages…?” you ask. “Yes, they deliver packages here when people aren’t home,” she responds, but doesn’t explain more.

10. At the bus stop waiting to go home, you open the package and see crumpled brown paper inside. You dig around and see nothing and think that this must be a joke. Then you feel something small wrapped in the paper.

11. At home, you open the package. It is a birthday gift, only three and a half weeks after your birthday.  You realize that in spite of the fact that you are going to the States in a few days and your friend lives a few towns away in the same state and so could have given you the gift then, you will never ask people to stop sending you packages because it is awesome to open a box and find a pretty navy blue and silver headband that happens to match the dress you’re wearing that day.

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6 thoughts on “How to Receive a Package in France

  1. Who can’t relate to this saga? Thanks for verbalizing a scenario that captures a universal lament about ‘customer service.’ Envisioning it in Paris makes it seem more tolerable somehow:-)

    • The person from the delivery service whom I had spoken with just called me to ask if I had successfully picked up the package. That was surprising! It’s like a mind game, where they alternate between good and poor customer service so you’re never quite sure what to expect.

      About Paris– yes, that is what I try to tell myself when I am trekking around looking for optical shops that double as package centers…

  2. It is always awesome to get packages! The last one I got (cat food, not quite so fun), they left it with a neighbour. Which would be fine but I went and knocked on their door at least 5 times, he put a note in my letter box, I put a note in his letter box… Eventually he appeared at my door with the cat food about a week later. Luckily poor kitty wasn’t starving to death by then!

    • Funny how your neighbor was home to receive the package but never when you were there to pick it up! Maybe next time take a picture of your kitty with a sad face and leave it in his mailbox to speed things up.

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