I needed to mail a document quickly to a friend of mine in the U.S., and I went down to the post office yesterday to get it done. Dutch mail has been privatized, and the former monopolist is now a corporation called "TNT Post."
Leaving aside the somewhat odd name (why not "Anthrax Mail," one wonders), the company has a pretty good reputation.
Here was the conversation (abridged) I had with the guy behind the counter, which was good-humored throughout. I felt like I was in a Monty Python skit:
TS: I'd like to mail this with your fastest service.
TNT: I'm sorry meneer (=sir), our express service is closed for the day.
TS: Oh. Well, let's just get it ready so you can post it first thing
TNT: I'm sorry meneer, we can't do that.
TS: You can't just put it in your pouch for tomorrow's mail?
TS: Oh. Well what are my other options?
TNT: Where are you sending it?
TS: The United States
TNT: I'm sorry, we don't have anything but regular mail service to the
TS: Priority mail? Can it be sent registered mail?
TS: Okay, let's do that.
TNT: How do you want to send it?
TS: (pause) I was thinking _ in an envelope.
TNT: Okay. (Very long pause).
TS: Can I buy an envelope?
TNT: I'm sorry, we don't sell envelopes.
TS: (Looks around shop, notices all manner of bric a brac, but no envelopes. Laughs).
TNT: Yeah, we find it funny too, meneer. We get a lot of complaints
TS: How much for a box?
TNT: It depends on what size.
TS: Smallest size.
TNT: I don't know, it's written on the display.
TS: (retrieves small box for EUR1.70). Okay, let's send this.
TNT: Can you take it over there to fill out the address information?
Then I can help other customers.
TS: (returns after waiting in line again). Okay. Here it is.
TNT: (takes box). The United States...that'll be 11 euros.
TS: So it will be there in what, 3-5 days?
TNT: (Laughs). That's optimistic.
TS: So what's pessimistic?
TNT: Where's it going?
TS: The. United. States.
TNT: It will arrive within 5 days, but it may take longer than that to be delivered.
TS: Come again?
TNT: Everything has to be sniffed nowadays, meneer.
TS: What's the worst case scenario?
According to TNT's web site, it should take 5-7 business days to arrive. We shall see...
Thursday, March 20, 2008