It would seem that getting a parcel from the UK to France is a very tricky affair, especially if the sender has paid extra to ensure it’s arrival. I am beginning to think that the French customs at Roissy ( goodness knows where that is), see a package that is marked “suivi” and they clap their hands in glee …”allez on va s’amuser” as they twirl their moustaches!
Last year “dear friend” sent me an innocent package : a book and a lilac scented candle, knowing how much I love the smell of lilac trees in spring. It was posted in April using a superior and what I imagine to be an expensive courier system. I finally got to open my parcel in June after many visits to La Poste, phone calls and emails- grrr!
This time it’s a case of having left my toothbrush charger in London at my daughter’s flat. Good daughter posted it immediately by recorded delivery on July 9th . It arrived in Rouissy again (the home of all confiscated parcels) on July 12th. How the hands of the customs men must smart after all their glee clapping and twirling of moustaches! So last week, realising that my toothbrush was fast running out of juice, I decided to chase up my package. Many hours on the phone ensued: answering various automated options and surprise, surprise, I was actually understood; only to reach a message telling me that there were no available representatives to help me at the moment. They were obviously all off dancing with the twirling moustachioed customs men! I persevered as is my wont when faced with a challenge like this, knowing all too well that I will end up red faced, cross and having achieved little else during the day.
Finally, I got through to a very charming lady of probably African decent and with both of us having foreign accents, it took us a while before she could track my package . Success it was in the system! Failure it was not a package but a letter after all and so she could not help me! How can a toothbrush charger be classed as a letter? I would have to telephone the same number again and repeat the process. Bonkers! And of course all lines were too busy to deal with my call. No doubt by this time, all phones were off the hook and every one was having a very merry time indeed! The next option was to send an email outlining my plight. I cannot tell you how hard it was to find the email link, so deeply buried was it in the website but years of watching detective series proved to be very useful indeed. A couple of days later, a reply pinged its way into my mailbox. A loose translation was “dear Madame” if you feel that your letter has been lost then please get in touch with the Royal Mail. Double grr and shaking of fists! A very apologetic and” I know this is ridiculous but” message to Royal Mail was sent and a very swift reply arrived. Basically if there is no sign of my toothbrush charger after 20 days after the day it should have been received, then a number of steps can be taken by the sender to get compensation from the UK. All very clear ,so hat’s off Royal Mail or “chapeau” as we say in France. Some translations are almost exact but not many!
So reader, if anyone has actually lasted this long, I gave in and bought another electric tooth brush – a basic one with no timer but the charger works on my slightly more flashy one. Toothy pegs are shiny and squeaky clean but I have not given up. August 20th is the day when a claims process can be put in motion, funnily enough my daughter’s birthday. Sorry, I will double check not to leave anything behind next visit.
In the meantime, “dear friend” has sent me another “tracked parcel. I might just have to invest in some moustache wax, a bottle or two of decent wine, don my dancing shoes and pay a visit to the depot in Roissy. A bientôt!