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I felt like I was in Seinfeld episode … the one where his car is stolen and he reserves a rental car. Only when he gets there, he has this conversation:

Jerry: I don’t understand, I made a reservation, do you have my reservation?
Agent: Yes, we do, unfortunately we ran out of cars.
Jerry: But the reservation keeps the car here. That’s why you have the reservation.
Agent: I know why we have reservations.
Jerry: I don’t think you do. If you did, I’d have a car. See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to *hold* the reservation and that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.

I forgot my laptop charger at my parents’ place on the long May weekend. I didn’t realize it until Little Guy wore down the battery playing Cookie Clicker (or some other educational online game), and went looking for it.

It’s not the first time I’ve forgotten it there.

My Dad called the next morning and offered to mail it to me since I wasn’t expecting to visit until July, unless some unforeseen or unfortunate event occurred. I said “yes please”…I mean…what could possibly go wrong if you send it ExpressPost through a major, long-standing postal business?

Dad called that evening to say it would arrive at my workplace on Thursday, and he gave me the tracking number.

Nothing arrived on Thursday.

On Friday around noon, I took a moment to track it online. It had arrived in a neighbouring city late Thursday, and arrived in a local distribution centre by 5 a.m. Friday morning. Then it said that delivery had been attempted at 9:44 a.m. and was rescheduled for the next business day. I had been in my office all morning on Friday, and I can see the front door from my desk. I never saw a postal truck. No one ran the doorbell or knocked. No one had left a sticker on the door saying they had been there. I wracked my brain trying to remember just when I “skipped to the loo”…but I knew it was after 11 because I was waiting for Bridezilla’s groom to meet with me (a story for another day).

I called Dad when I got home from work. He called his local post office and was given a 1-800 number to call. They were less than helpful. They had no idea where it might be, and suggested that if it didn’t arrive in a week, call back to lodge a complaint.

On Monday, my Dad called back. He rattled some cages and was assured my package would be waiting for me at the local distribution centre on Tuesday. I took Little Guy with me after school, picking up a cold drink on the way. We were in the middle of a heat wave.

The squat, concrete building was locked up tight; every window blackened. The customer service counter had closed at 1, but there was a sign that said to go to the back depot. So we wandered through the empty parking lots in the back, and past chain link fences, while wisps of dust swirled around our ankles. There were no signs of life. I jumped when a door whisked open as I strolled by it, so we wandered in. A short clerk, who spoke no discernible English, listened to my tale of woe, and disappeared into the interior of the building with my papers: the email with the tracking number and my business card.

Little Guy and I waited 20 minutes in the Postal Graveyard, standing between stacked wire bins loaded with cardboard boxes. The handwritten signs taped to the bins all read “2015”.

Finally, Peaches, a sour-pussed lady, oozing attitude and limping noticeably, sauntered over holding my papers…but no package. She wore thick peach eye shadow, her glossy red lips smacking a piece of gum. But once I calmly explained my sad, sad story, she apologized for the frustration and gave me the name and number of the supervisor for my route. She suggested I leave a voicemail message so the supervisor could start sorting it out when she got in…at 7 a.m. As for my package, it was still MIA.

Oh, I left a message!

I gave Dad the name and number to leave a message too.

Dad called me Wednesday morning, while I was in the shower, to say that my package would arrive in a couple of hours. And almost a week late, it did!

Seinfeld

* * *

And then I drove to my parents’ place the next morning to help prepare for my Grandmother’s funeral.

Canada Post knows how to take the package and assign a tracking number, and they know how to promise to deliver a package the next day…but they can’t actually track a package and deliver it the next day.

* * *

Epilogue: Canada Post does not know why my package did not arrive in my city by Thursday morning, nor does it know where it went between Thursday night and the following Wednesday morning. The package was “undeliverable” because Dad had the wrong postal code…which he got from canada411.ca. He called the administrator for this useful website, who informed him that I would have to contact my telephone service provider to get them to request a change to the website.

 

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