Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A thoroughly Mexican delivery

It occurs to me that I have become quite used to the “norm” of life here. I called UPS yesterday afternoon to check on our missing brake controller; I was actually surprised to find it had left customs after checking the UPS website. I was told that everything was in order; that it should arrive yesterday and if not, to call in the morning. Of course, it didn’t arrive yesterday; the UPS status still showed “origin scan” in Leon (and, to this moment STILL shows that same, exact status). So, down I drive to the social security department outside Guanajauto (the closest phone) and call UPS. I am told that today is too late to persue anything; that the person I spoke with yesterday should have tried to find the package in Leon, but today is too late; I need to have the sender start a trace process. I ask to speak with management and ask why, oh why, can’t they just call Leon and find out where the package is, but until I ask for management, they simply say it is too late to call Leon; that only could have been done yesterday. So, while I’m getting a nice tan, waiting in the hot sun at the phone, the clerk puts me on hold for about 5 hours. She comes back and says that she called Leon; they say the package is lost and then asks to confirm the postal code. The postal code is incredibly important to her. Honestly, I have NO CLUE what it should be, but since it seems like this is something that can help, I run to the office I’m standing in front of and am told that the CP here, some 5km from the RV Park, is 36250. So I tell Ms. UPS that and it seems to make all the difference to her; she opens this and notes that and says that she’ll send a message to Leon and they’ll deliver the package tomorrow. But hey, I thought it was LOST? She declines to address this question. So, I figure I should just go with the flow and tell her that I’m going back to the campestre to verify the CP and will call her back later. I drive back to find the CP is just what I’d told her, but just to ensure that she puts this new magic CP which is turning a “lost” package into a package which will be delivered tomorrow, I figure I should let UPS know the CP I gave them is correct. So, back to find a public phone; I have to go a bit further this time, and now I get a new Ms. UPS who says that they will send a new message to Leon (is there noone who can simply CALL Leon?) and that the package will not arrive for at least 3 days. To call back tomorrow and see what Leon’s response was to the message.

So, I come back to the trailer to let Jamie know all this and I am really wanting to go to Leon (it is 56km away) and talk to the people in Leon personally, as I know that generally you really can’t get anything done unless you talk face to face. So we load up the kids, the car and head to Leon. On the way to finding the UPS facility, we pass Nirvana on Earth for Jamie, an AutoZone. Well, to be specific, we don’t pass it, but pull into the parking lot and stop there. We find a gato (in addition to ‘cat’, ‘gato’ also means jack, as in car jack or bottle jack or something to make the car go up so you can take the tire off). And the price is excellent for Mexico. Jamie loads up on some $100+ of needed items and off we head to UPS. Our $100 stop at AutoZone has placed us at UPS almost immediately after their lunch (2pm to 4pm) break, so I quiz the drivers arriving and leaving and they both promise (one in a VW bus painted ala UPS) they don’t have my package. The clerk comes back and listens to my tale of woe and is adamant that the package is NOT lost. As a matter of fact, he contracted out the package to an agency as the RV park was outside the limits of Guanajuato centro and UPS does not personally deliver outside the center. Just wait at the campestre, he advises, it will come. Not only that, he says, but the package left Leon UPS YESTERDAY. No, they didn’t update the computer system; that would only serve to inform me. Well, this is all news to me, as DF UPS said that Leon UPS said the package was lost. So, I ask him if he can call the agency. I’m a bit suspicious as the only reason that an agency could be involved would be if UPS knew that the CP was wrong; that the CP should have been something different. And they didn’t know that until a few hours earlier; not yesterday. So, something was wrong; either in DF or with this guy. He asks me to give him 10 minutes to eat. I’m shocked, as he just came back from a 2 hour lunch break, but I figure he is looking for a way to find the package, or knows where it is and doesn’t want me to know he knows or he needs to get it out of pawn. Who knows.

So we sit at the car with the kids and wait. Quickly he comes out of the office and says he has (SURPRISE) located the package! And it is in Leon! And we can pick it up! And it turns out to be the weirdest deal of all; he gives us directions to a Pemex station where we’ll meet the driver of the agency truck who will hand over our package. At this point, I don’t really care who was doing what with whom and I just want the damn brake controller so we can get to Zacatecas. As we’re leaving, he stresses, “don’t pay them anything!”. All I can do is laugh at this point, the retrieval of the package has become so comical. So, we head to the Pemex and whaddayaknow, just as we pull in, a guy flags us down and brings us the package. All is fine and I even signed what might be a log-book.  The only surprising part to me?  That someone actually showed up at the Pemex station.

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