The Void is Full, but My Blog is Not

With the general collapse of one of the more popular social media sites, and other new sites popping up that I don’t quite have a rhythm for yet… I can just scream into the void of ye olde urbanbohemian dotte comme, and that works, right?

It’s true, tho…

Yesterday was… not a great day. It started out normally, not wanting to get up on time, grudgingly throwing on house clothes, making coffee, having a granola bar instead of the croissant or doughnut that I really wanted, and settling down to remote work for the day.

After dealing with the morning’s tasks and the morning meeting, I decided to pursue something that had been bugging me for a little while. My building recently started using a package locker system. Not all packages go into it, but most deliveries do. And since it was put in place, I haven’t had a notification of a single delivery.

Admittedly, the amount of shopping I’ve done has gone way down. With significantly reducing my debt and trying to minimalize the amount of stuff in my apartment, I’m being way more careful about what I buy and what comes into the house. Except that there was one thing I treated myself to, and one other thing I was expecting. Both of which were showing the accurate-but-vague delivery status of: delivered to front desk/mailroom.

Neither of the packages were the traditional, “I ordered something, and therefore have an order number, receipt, tracking status, etc.” One was a PR/review item, and the other was something I redeemed through the “award points” system at work. They’d given bonus points to people for their work anniversaries and I decided to put it towards something fun and cute instead of a plaque or wall clock.

So… I knew things were on the way, I knew that I hadn’t gotten notifications, and I knew that there was a new system in place. I started digging.

I confirmed that the items had been shipped, delivered and received, so where were they? I checked in with the front desk staff and they were–honestly–a little dismissive. “You should have gotten a notice from the system.” Which–again, to be honest–I can’t really fault them for too much, since our building gets a lot of packages and they’re probably very happy to have that taken out of their hands in favor of a self-service method.

Unfortunately this was after I’d confirmed that things had arrived. And if they’d arrived, where were they? Finally after exhausting other possibilities in my mind, looking up the package company, seeing how they explained it worked, etc. over the weekend, I checked to make sure that my building had my correct information, email and phone number. Email was correct, but the phone number, which the package system uses to send notifications, was going to my landline, not my cell phone.

I’m pretty sure the other half is “extreme violence”.

Did you know that landlines pretty much can’t get text messages? And before you come for me over having a landline, I’ve lived in DC through major emergency events when not a single cell signal was getting through to anyone, and decided to never give up my landline since. Even if I don’t use it. But when I moved in here, it was at time when you gave out a “home” and “work” number, not a “cell” number.

They never even asked for my cell phone number, but when they moved the building’s residents over to the new package system, they just put in whatever numbers they had without checking in with us first. C’est la vie!

So now I knew, and I think G.I. Joe was a little off on their numbers. Knowing isn’t half the battle, when you’re dealing with bureaucracy, knowing is like barely one-tenth of the battle. The rest of it is convincing people to get off their butts and actually try to help you fix the issue.

I confirmed that they had the wrong number. I went to correct it with management. I asked if there was any way to know if any packages had come in at all for my unit and not been picked up. Basically asking them to check the logs or run a system audit. There was a bit of urgency to my asking because building management has insisted that if packages aren’t picked up in a timely fashion, they’ll send them back. But here’s where I ran into a very frustrating wall.

Trying to explain that a situation is an outlier when the people you’re talking to refuse to believe such a thing can exist is… difficult. I explained that they had the incorrect phone number, but was still asked if I got a notification. I told them I never got any notifications, but was still asked which number locker the notification said my package was in. I showed them the delivery confirmations, saying that the items arrived and must be here somewhere, only to get confused looks as they started asking the same set of questions all over again.

I don’t often outwardly lose my patience, especially with people who I know are only doing their job, but lemme tell ya, I was close to screaming. Eventually I was able to use the right string of words to make them understand what happened, where the breakdown was, and what steps I’d like them to follow to find a solution. But that was multiple conversations and check-ins over 3-4 hours.

It was pure “Seinfeld Rental Car Reservation” vibes.

One knock at the door, “We found it, it was in a locker. Here you go.” I thanked him and said, “Great, but there’s one more. Please do whatever you did, and try to find that one.” He walked away with a confused look, but my friendly glare prompted him to action.

A few minutes later, one more knock at the door, “Is this it? Turns out there’s another resident with the same last name and there was no first name on the packaging, so they realized that it didn’t belong to them and returned it to the front desk.” I accepted the package, said thank you, and again, if I hadn’t had to get ready to be on a podcast shortly, I would have screamed.

Still, at the end of it all, I have my stuff and a kinda-maybe reassurance that it probably won’t happen again, so we’ll see what happens when I next order something to be delivered. It’s just the utter frustration of saying, “Something unexpected happened,” and getting a variety of unhelpful responses that are mostly disbelief that something unexpected could ever possibly happen. Even with a system that they had only just installed and barely have any experience with themselves.

I suppose this could have been a thread, or a reel, or a TikTok, but honestly, trying to write/record, and then edit these thoughts down into easily-digestible chunks? Nah. As one friend who is actually a writer tells me, I’m a writer. So, if you’ve made it this far… congrats! Though I wouldn’t blame you if you TL;DR’d out at least two-thirds of the way up. I am known to go on at times.

I hope that this closer finds you having a far less frustrating day than the one I had yesterday and I promise the next post will be about something fun and cool. Really, I mean it. I’ve already started the draft! 💖

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