A package from Amazon

Or the ‘unpleasant encounter with Correo Argentino in Retiro’.

There should be a manual on “how to receive a package from Amazon”.  I had already heard that it is difficult, if not impossible, to receive package with other things then books  : Import taxes are gigantic (50% or more). On the other hand, there are no taxes on books.

I had ordered books several times before, and each time, they were delivered at my door although always 2 or 3 weeks after the estimated delivery date.

But yesterday I was less lucky. I found a card under my door saying I could get my package in the already famous postoffice in Retiro. As I was really anxious to finally getting the books I had ordered about 2 months ago, I left before opening time to be “first” in the post office. I arrived at 10 am. I got my number, 892. They were at number 830. 60 people before me…. How can that be? Are these the guys that got their number the day before? Or is it open before the 10 o’clock mentioned on the card? Are people arriving long before opening hours to wait in line?

You have to live here to know that waiting in line is like a sport here. You wait in line at the supermarket, at the bank, at the busstop… Argentines are very disciplined in this and always wait in straight lines, at times several blocks long, without cheating. I am used to this. I always have a book in my purse.

Of course there are hardly any chairs so I waited on a strategic place ready to take the first available seat and started reading (unfortunately I brought a boring book). By the time it was my turn to go to the counter, about 2 hours later, the newcomers were getting numbers around the 0. They had more then 100 people waiting before them. As Tolstoy said, patience and time are the two most powerful warriors.

When they call your number you have to go to the counter and show the card you received and your DNI, and they give you a slip back with a number and you are told to go and wait in the other hall. Of course, you shouldn’t forget to put your name and signature on the backside, or they send you off again.

The other hall. Bigger then the first one. Full of people. Again. Wait. At times a series of numbers were called through the microphone, very hard to understand. As the numbers don’t follow up at that time, you have no idea how long you should wait.  Your Spanish must be quite good to understand the exact numbers, and I really had to focus, but after another hour or so my number was finally called and I could go to again, another hall, where they told me and my compatriots to go and wait at the end, where an whole load of similar amazon packages were brought in. And again the numbers were called.

After almost 3 hours I finally had my package in my hands, and on my way out there was a final check up at a counter and I was out. Free. Books under my arm. Starving. In desperate need of a coffee. But with 2 new books. Why on earth didn’t I buy more? What if I finish these books? Do I have to spend another half day in Retiro? Or will I be lucky again next time and will they deliver the package to my door again?

13 responses to “A package from Amazon”

  1. Been there, done that.
    Next time you’re in a panic for a new book to read, let me know.
    I was a librarian (Dance) in my former life, and I have many good books here, which I can lend you. Mostly my taste runs to literary fiction, biography, history.

    • Well in fact I am suffering an addiction : not just a reading addiction, but also a book-buying addiction 🙂 Maybe I should start a library haha (joke).

    • Your description of the experience is exactly what I have been thru as well. No short cuts. What I don’t get it is if they can have someone deliver the damn card (and it appears they used a typewriter to fill out the card) — they why the heck can’t they just deliver the damn books.

      Although I love to have the book to see and touch — I think a KINDLE may be the answer to the Argentina Correro situation.

      My friends in the USA love theirs – especially the ability to enlarge the font, subscribe to newspapers, etc.

      Anyone have experience using one in Argentina? Will I run into ‘not outside the USA’ problems for downloads?

      • the iPad’s book app is great. the problem is that they’re much more expensive than a Kindle

      • I have been using a Kindle that I bought before moving down here earlier this year. It works like a charm as it downloads the bokks over whatever 3G network is at hand and there are no charges whatsoever. The Kindle is also great for reading while alone in cafes or restaurants because it´s not flashy and can lie flat on the table so that no one except the waiter can really see you have an expensive piece of technology with you.

  2. Those are 6 digits numbers! Why the hell would anyone be so god damn stupid to implement a system with 6 digits? I’d hate to have the woman’s job who calls up all those numbers.

    And btw, you should have complained to them. Books are not supposed to go through customs.

  3. Hi. I went to BA in October, what a wonderful place! Anyways, I was wondering if there are fwd services like we have in Costa Rica and many other LA countries. I use Aerocasillas and Jetbox in Costa Rica. It works like this. You sign up (for free) and they give you a mail box and physical address in Miami (actually their warehouse). You buy online, get your stuff to Miami and these companies get them to you the next day. For $3.50 per pound. Very safe and efficient. They get them to your door or you pick them up at their counter. They take care of costums and duties. Everything is insured and you can buy US$500 tax free each 6 months (Costa Rican law). Sounds like it would work in Argentina. I love it, they were actually overflowed with Black Friday stuff. Never missed and item.

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