The mystery of my missing, time travelling parcel…

I’d been told by TNT that I filled in the forms wrong for the Next Day Delivery that, four days after I sent it, still hadn’t been delivered. Apparently I should have ticked the ‘Express Delivery’ box, the ‘Next Day Delivery’ I’d ticked does get there the next day but after 12 noon. Express delivery is for a before 10am delivery.

Easy to do I guess and I appreciate them coming back to tell me this even though I suggested to them that four days is a fair way off Next Day or Express. But it fails to answer my original query that started this whole affair in the first place, the question of where exactly is my parcel?

You see, I’d taken advantage of their flashy online tracking service. Go to their website, type in your tracking number and you can see the route, times and status of your parcel. The wonders of modern technology. Now, according to this nifty little tool, my parcel, destined for a client in Switzerland via road, had somehow been taken off the truck, put on a plane and flown to Johor Bahru, then it spent 7 hours in Kuala Lumpur before arriving on some island off the coast of Taiwan at a place called Baisha Shan where it was signed-for by a person I don’t know, whose name I struggled to pronounce. Oddly enough, the delivery was at 9.30am. But more surprisingly, it managed to arrive 3 months before I even sent it!

I checked my dates. It’s November, not April, so this couldn’t be some mad cap April Fools stunt. Had it been, I would have been the first to laugh my socks off at the brilliance of the joke, marketeers the world over would be envious at such a great idea. TNT and their creative team would have jumped for joy at the oodles of publicity generated by them ‘supposedly’ screwing up everyone’s deliveries and sending them off to countries no-one has ever heard of with dates all mixed up. What a funny lot they are we’d all be saying. But it’s not funny because it’s not April and my parcel really hasn’t been delivered and they are telling me that this is all my fault.

So just what mistake did I make when I filled out the form for Next Day Delivery..? They had said I should have ticked the ‘Express Delivery’ box, but did they really mean the ‘Pot Friggin Luck’ one?

I explained that the time frame is now not a major concern, that I ticked either the before 10am or the after 12 noon box is somewhat irrelevant. It must simply be an error as TNT, I am assuming, do not yet have the ability to bend the Space-Time Continuum and unless they print it really small, the ‘Delivery before you’ve even sent it’ box is not on any of the transit forms I’ve filled in. No, I guess they just have a few too many lackwit bumpkin idiots in their IT department or some disgruntled member of the team was recently made redundant and decided to give TNT the ‘digital’ finger before he packed his desk into a box, handed in his pass card and was escorted off the premises.

They agreed time travel wasn’t an option they were aware of, they would look into things and call me back shortly.

2 hours later I get the call, they’ve found my parcel. It’s stuck at Customs in Geneva. The paperwork I sent with the parcel is wrong and until that is dealt with, there it will be staying. That being the paperwork for passing through the Swiss Customs that they helped me fill in when I called them four days ago. Did I tick a wrong box again I ask..? No, the commercial value of the goods declared was wrong. I told them the goods had no commercial value, it’s only brochures, they are not for sale, they will be given away. So I had written 0.00 just as they had told me too when I phoned them to ask what the ‘Please declare the commercial value’ box meant.

They agreed that company brochures have no commercial value and the forms should have been acceptable for customs, they would look into things and call me back shortly.

An hour passes and I get the call back. The commercial value declared is correct but the Swiss Customs office refused entry and the parcel is now making its way back to the UK.

Why is the parcel going to the UK, I asked? I sent it from Spain. They agreed that sending the parcel to the UK when it originated from Spain seemed a little strange, they would look into things and call me back shortly.

I settle down with a coffee and see an email has come in from the client in Switzerland. They’d been trying to call me but the line was engaged. Good news, the parcel was delivered and they have the brochures. Minutes later I get a call from TNT in Geneva. They had been contacted by my client and wanted to apologise for the delay. Bad weather and a strike by French Partridge farmers unhappy about the reduced EU funding budget was to blame.

The puzzle solved, matter closed. At least I thought it was until the Spanish office called me back. They told me they had managed to change the return delivery and it would now be coming back to Spain. I explained that the delivery had been made and TNT in Geneva had been in touch to explain the delay and apologise. Confused, they said they would look into things and call me back shortly.

I cancel my bank instruction with TNT and open an account with DHL. A day passes and TNT UK call me. They’ve received the letter of complaint I had sent to their Spanish office, which the Spanish office couldn’t be bothered to read as I couldn’t be bothered to write it in Spanish. They understood why I had decided to cancel my account but asked me to reconsider. I explained I now had an account with DHL and so far things were good. I asked for confirmation that my TNT account was clear bearing in mind I felt there was no reason I should be paying for the mess-up they had caused. They confirmed my account was clear, nothing owing. Thank you very much and good bye.

A week or so passes and I get a call from TNT Spain yet again. This time chasing me for payment! They are now looking into things and will call me back shortly.

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