La Poste

Year Abroad: Part 14, The Post Office

La Poste

I hate the post office in France. It’s shit. And indeed, you might well ask yourselves how 500 words are going to be dedicated to it, but they will be.

I will begin by introducing the services offered by “La Poste” in Aix-en-Provence. There are three within walking distance, which is just as well seeing as I spend half my life walking to them. Indeed, I do have a post box, albeit it’s rather little, but it’s well marked with my room number in nice black digits on a clean white background, in a font that doesn’t leave much to be desired. To put it into comparison, if it were a word document we’re probably talking around a size 14 Calibri font, nothing too fancy, gets the job done and doesn’t blind you in the process. However, unfortunately, and this is my first point, “La Poste” only employs colour blind postmen and therefore, seeing only a plain white sticker on every letterbox, they resign themselves to returning your post to their bag before dropping it off at post office HQ, leaving a note to tell you where it is.

So obviously, in pursuit of your package, and armed with said note, you make your way to the post office. Are you feeling lucky my friend? Yes? Well, in that case they may have told you which one of the three to go to. Feeling unlucky? More fool you monsieur, jog on, take some headphones and enjoy the walk. With or without luck however, do not forget to check the opening times. Of course, every post office is different, with all shut Sundays, but some open Saturdays, others shut Mondays to scare off the dreaded start-of-the-week blues, but reopen Tuesdays at 9am. But mind, this is only until midday at which point they will go for lunch, having earnt it 3 hours into their working week. Lunch lasts two hours, maybe three, or maybe it just feels like three because when you go in at 2.30 there’s no one in there to help you with anything, so you’re the one left helping Jean-Baptiste try to push an oversized parcel with an unclear address into a letterbox clearly not designed to make such a delivery, knowing full well it’s never going to reach its destination, but way past the point of caring!

However, although the above is perfectly relevant, importantly, it assumes that my address has been acknowledged. Amazon believes me and is willing to send me anything I order, yet that’s not to say it arrives. Instead, on the days leading up to the due-date, you check your emails regularly and dread the inevitable “your delivery was unsuccessful” message. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with my geography, I live in a massive student accommodation area on a road which has basically nothing else on it. And to avoid unnecessary confusion, it’s even named after the road. I just don’t understand how anything is this bad.

And that’s 500 words.

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