Do you remember how in love the duck and I were with Japan Post and how they redeliver your missed parcel to a location and within a time slot of your choosing (even more than once, if you are a complete failure)? Well, the same can’t be said for our experiences with the German equivalent, unfortunately.
See, the duck and I are huge fans of old-fashioned mail (but not telegrams – they were such a hassle back in our childhood days). There’s almost nothing that beats a nice little postcard or a cute personal letter; they just have so much more character than a conversation on your favorite messaging app, and last much longer than a video chat. That is why the duck and I used our first visit to a Berlin post office earlier this year to grab a couple of those ten-packs of self-adhesive stamps (because you never know when you’ll have a sudden urge to send a postcard but are too lazy to go to the nearest post office to buy a single stamp – also, how dare those stupid water-activated pieces of paper call themselves stamps?!).
Doesn’t the duck look happy with all those stamps? Well, we both were! Did I mention how much the duck and I love mail? This year, however, Deutsche Post has tried very hard to shake our belief in snail mail:
#1 This one isn’t entirely on Deutsche Post/DHL, we have to admit, because this change was dictated globally. It still sucks, though. See, before January, if you wanted to send things (all kinds of goods) internationally, you could send them as a letter if certain dimensions and weight restrictions were met. Now, however, if it’s not a letter or documents, your parcel has to go as a package, which, in some cases, means an insane increase in postage (for the parcel that we sent earlier this year, the duck and I paid more than double the postage we would have paid last year). This postage change really hit us hard, as, though we love writing letters, we never got close to sending 500g worth of them internationally. Gosh! I don’t think we ever got past the 20g that an average envelope is allowed to weigh for it to be sent as a normal letter!
#2 Speaking of normal letters… the duck and I were still recovering from how much we had had to pay for the last parcel we sent when we found out that the postage for letters and postcards would be raised in summer. “That’s great!” we thought. “Now our ten-packs of stamps are useless, until we waddle to the post office again to get a few sets of add-on stamps!” And that’s exactly what we did, except, we didn’t waddle to just one post office, but to more than a handful because, of course, every Berliner (no, not the donuts) had the exact same idea, so that those who were less lazy than us and made it to the post office before the change would take place, got hold of those popular stamps, whereas the duck and I had to search for over a month to finally be able to add on to our stamps. Nothing beats a little challenge, right? Even though having to pay more sucks, the duck and I understand that, with electronic communication becoming increasingly popular, not only by environmentalists, Deutsche Post needs to increase the postage and cause chaos for ambitious stamp-seekers from time to time.
#3 This is what we don’t get: Why do you suggest we send birthday cards as registered mail – we’re not that rich, Deutsche Post!? Okay, we do understand that, if you want certainty, you have to pay more. But that didn’t change how amused we were by a letter we received in the mail recently: See, a while ago the duck and I sent out a homemade birthday card that never arrived (it was part of a present that otherwise didn’t make any sense). So, we waited 7 working days and then filled out an online investigation request form. The aforementioned letter was the result of that investigation and said something along the lines of: “We’re sorry that your mail didn’t arrive and that we couldn’t find it. How about registering it next time, for only a little bit more than double the cost of your stamp and the material cost of your homemade postcard and envelope if, at least, you want a refund on exactly that, but only up to €20 (not on the time you spent planning and executing your idea for a nice personal birthday greeting – because… it sucks to be you)?” Why, thanks, what a great idea! We’ll make sure to do exactly that next time!
We called customer service twice, hoping to at least get a refund on our stamps (because we are cheap like that), but to no avail. “Why did we expect to get a refund?” you might wonder. See, last Christmas the duck and I were lucky to get a set of yellow Deutsche Post themed replacement stamps after we had called Customer Service when some of our Christmas mail was returned to us after the water-activated stamps (ugh, those) we had gotten at the post office had probably fallen off in the mailbox (because the duck’s spit and my bottled water were inferior to the stamp moistening cushion things they have at the post office) and we now had to pay again for postage we had already paid for. So, there was some hope in our two calls to Customer Service, okay?!
Now the duck and I sit, sulking, in front of all the letters and postcards we have been planning to send… and all the blog posts we were planning to write… trying to figure out if we can get over how much work went into a card never delivered and whether we want to take on the financial risk of sticking stamps onto uncertain envelopes yet again (but for now, we don’t trust you Deutsche Post).
So, if you’re expecting mail from us, that’s exactly the reason why you’re probably still waiting. This has nothing to do with the duck and my incredible laziness, I promise!