A little while ago, I received this package in the mail. It contained a birthday present that I had ordered for a friend. That big rip down the centre was already made when I received the package. I’ve no idea how it happened. It looks like it was thoroughly ripped open to see if there was something valuable inside, but perhaps I’m too cynical.
Regardless of how it happened, the contents were damaged and I would have to order the same gift again. This was no big deal as my friend’s birthday was still months away.
Impossible to be my fault, I carefully read the information on the yellow plastic bag that the item had been repackaged in. There was a phone number and an explanation that the bag was placed around the item to avoid further damage. Great!
I called the number and waited. A lady answered and I got as far as saying (in French): “Hello, a received a package that was—” and she hung up. She hung up! She hung up. Thanks, La Poste, for that lovely moment of xenophobia, or mere laziness that comes across as something much worse. My accent is not that strong and I had been the epitome of friendliness on the phone. How demoralising.
The lady at my local post office is much friendlier. She saw the package, the damage and the envelope, but she was, of course, powerless to take any action on behalf of La Poste. She did, however, call the same number and do my dirty work for me. I love this lady. When she’d finished, she was apologetic that La Poste had said they’d do nothing. They wanted me to get back in touch with the sender and ask him to go to his post office and claim damage even though the proof was here at my end of the delivery. “I’m sorry,” she said, shrugging in defeat. I shrugged in defeat too. Customer service fail, La Poste.
I contacted the seller and we both agreed that neither post office would cough up for the meager cost of the replacement items and sending. The result? I paid for the replacement gift and he agreed to pay the postal costs within the UK (sending to France was double the price). No problem: my birthday friend was in the UK that month, so his own present was sent to him without him having a clue what was inside. A month later, he returned with the package. I wrapped it up and handed it back to him. Thankfully, he love the gift!