Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Intricacies of the Romanian Postal "System"

When I was a kid, one of my favorite TV shows was Young Riders, an action/drama about the beginnings of the Pony Express with lots of horse riding, show-downs, etc. Let's just say that my experiences with the Romanian Poștă are vaguely reminiscent.

The post office will not deliver international packages to our town; they will only deliver them to the county capital. Our county capital is an hour and a half by train. The post office is only open during the week and only the person whose name is on the package can pick it up. This makes holding down a job and receiving packages a difficult combo. Luckily we have a friend, Melissa, who lives in the capital of a neighboring county. It's also about an hour and a half way. So we have the packages sent to her - WITHOUT our names anywhere on the box. She can pick them up between 8 am and 12 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It's unclear why the postal workers are not able to touch the boxes at other times.

Around the beginning of October, my dad sent us two boxes (yeah!). However, after five weeks they hadn't arrived. I called Melissa every week to check on the packages, but she never received a slip indicating that they had arrived. Finally my dad confirmed that the US Postal Service had delivered them to Romania three weeks ago. Another quirk of the Romanian system is that if packages are not picked up after 10 days, they will be returned to the sender. We were way past this time and figured that the packages were already westbound over the Atlantic. Finally, I begged Melissa to go the the post office and ask about them. She promised to do it the very next day.

The next morning at school, a random student came up to her and told her that she needed to pick up her packages immediately, or her dad (apparently the postman) would be forced to send them back to America. You heard this right; Melissa lives in the capital of her county, a city of 200,000 people, and she was informed about her packages by an eight year old. It's my hunch that the girl had been instructed weeks earlier to tell Melissa about the packages in lieu of the normal slip. Later that afternoon, Melissa was able to pick up the packages and was only charged a small "storage fee." But he drove her and the two boxes to her apartment, so all was good in the end... just like every episode of the Young Riders.

No comments:

Post a Comment