Nothing To Do With Brexit – Dutch Can’t Deliver Cardboard Boxes Either

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Frustrating, isn’t it? How a tiny little virus gets the better of a cardboard box containing a pair of tennis shoes. The problem is that the sports shop only worked online and there was no possibility for me to drive there, park my car in a non-viral parking space, and collect the parcel whilst wearing something resembling a spacesuit. Of course, if the owner of the shop had really valued my custom, he would have brought the tennis shoes right up to my front door.

I patiently waited for Post-NL to answer my call and take me off “hold” before I died. Time was ticking as I heard that “all our receptionists are busy doing other things and not bothering about your bloody tennis shoes.” Well, I couldn’t blame them because I don’t even play tennis. My son does, and by the time he received the shoes he nearly grew out of them. I wondered if the prolonged waiting time had something to do with me not wanting to answer their questionnaire at the beginning of the call. Yes, I understood that there’s increased pressure on delivery services because of a surge in demand. But was this reason for my brown box containing tennis shoes to go backwards? On the Wednesday I got confirmation from Track and Trace that they would deliver the parcel on the Thursday. On the Friday, the aforementioned Track and Trace told me that Post-NL hadn’t received the goods. On the Sunday, the shoes were probably back where they belonged – in the shop window.

The parcel arrived, eventually. An ordinary brown cardboard box, travelling in extraordinary times. My son got his brand new tennis shoes just in time for storm Darcy; the colour of the shoes a perfect match for the thick snow that covered the tennis court. Well, there’s always summer to look forward to; and lockdown number 4.

But my thoughts go to my UK friends who not only have to put up with the remarkable efficiency of delivery services, but must also face the aftermath of having signed a contract they didn’t read, following a vote they didn’t understand.

Brexit. The word sends shivers through every delivery centre in the UK, every port that lies beneath a cliff. It sends a false message of hope when you click on the “confirm” icon in your favourite online store. It signifies an eight-week wait for your explosive package from Amsterdam, sent as a plain-looking parcel. By the time you receive it, you’ve gone off sex.

Any comments will help us improve our service, they ask. Yes; what I ordered seemed so small and insignificant. Why the hundreds of A4’s piled on top of the doll’s face, telling me something I already knew? The doll conformed to all the warped imagination of desperate young men who followed the lockdown rules, as specified in the EU regulations that only exist because somebody wrote them.

At least my son’s tennis shoes didn’t cost more than I initially paid. I’ve read stories of customers in the UK having to pay more that £100 extra handling costs. They could count themselves lucky for receiving the cardboard box. Some deliveries returned to the EU before being redirected to their original destination.

Some cardboard boxes are so close, and yet so far. A bit like my son’s tennis shoes.