22 December 2006

Postal Wanderings

My sister sent me a package for Christmas. When it arrived, I wasn't home, so the postman left a note in my mailbox, informing me that I could pick it up at the post office. So I went to my local post office, which is where I've picked up every single package I've received in the last 3 years.

Unsurprisingly for this time of year, there was a fairly long line. After waiting about 20 minutes, I took a closer look at the note from the postman, and noticed something strange. In the place where they write the address of the post office where the package is being held, he hadn't written the address of my local post office, but an address about 15 minutes away, in a different apartment complex. So I stepped out of line, and went to find that post office. (No, I didn't bother to wonder why my package wasn't at my local post office, this is Poland.)

After some wandering, and asking a shopkeeper, I found the second post office. Again, a long line, which I stood in for 30 minutes before reaching the front. I handed the woman my note from the postman. She looked at it for a minute or two, then informed me that I was at the wrong post office. My package was being held at the "big" post office over on the main street, on the other side of my apartment complex. Again, there was no point in asking why, I merely thanked her and left. And then realized I didn't have time to go wait in another line, since the post office would be closing in 15 minutes. Oh well.

The next day, I took a stroll to the "big" post office. Oh look, an even bigger line! 45 minutes later, I made it to the window, handed over my note, and crossed my fingers for luck. Amazingly, I was at the right office, and my package was retrieved from the back room. As soon as I got it home, I opened it and treated myself to some Kraft mac & cheese, as a reward for successfully navigating the maze that is the Polish postal system.

This was just one more reminder of why the post office is my least favorite place in Poland, and has been since my very first day in this country, more than 11 years ago. But I do enjoy receiving packages! :)


Kimberly said...

i just sent a package to a friend in germany, and he wasn't home when his package arrived either. he also got a note. why can't the postman just leave the package? that is the common practice here (in new york). what a burden for you!

The Wendy Lady said...

If they left the package, there's a very good chance it wouldn't be there by the time I got home. I'd much rather wander the town to find my package than not get it at all. It's Poland.

Anonymous said...

I remember my first introduction to the Polish post office over 13 years ago. I had just arrived in Lodz a few weeks previous, wrote a postcard to send to my family. I mustered up the courage to buy a postcard stamp from the mean Poczta Panis - and, in what turned out to be true Polish post office style, they gave me 5 extremely large stamps to put on my small postcard. The stamps covered the entire postcard! I never did bother mailing that one.
-Laura (the previous Kleczew resident)

hanna said...

HaHaHa!! Hey, I can only tell you - NOW I get to really understand you, sis: hey, Eire is even worse! Check this out: when I'm not at home (and the postman doesn't feel like leaving a package with the elderly neighbor next door, who's a sweetheart that way serving as a doorkeeper for the whole cul-de-sack) they leave me a slip and I have to get my package from... the neighboring town!! The post office in our town, apparently, is too small to handle packages... and it's - IN a supermarket, yep! In Dublin it was even worse: they never bothered checking if somebody was in the apartment and finding the package place (yes, this is NOT a post office, which by the way, is huge in the city), a tiny, 1980s-Poland-like looking shed, was a real challenge! So, enjoy your post office experiences in Poland, Ireland would give you a real headache ;-)