Boxes with all my shipment

Boxes with all my shipment

Just over a week ago I was unpacking over half a dozen boxes, it felt as I was just moving into my apartment for the first time. Obviously this was not true,  not least because I had no problems with keys and opening locks on this occasion. What I was unpacking was in fact all my stuff which didn’t make over with me when I first moved (considering I had two suitcases, a laptop and a badminton racket – this was a not an insignificant cubic feet worth of belongings). For those unfamiliar with this story and are currently double checking when I started this blog, yes it did indeed take a rather long time to arrive.

I will explain more about this here, although this wasn’t the only occasion where a little patience was required..

Back at the beginning of August, I (with the parents help!) started putting a list together of what I was going to ship over. Having already done the move, I was recommended  a shipping company by Judy. It sounded fairly straight forward, aside from a few forms to fill in the company would package everything up, ship it, then deliver it to my apartment. Door to door would take about 2 months.

I may have procrastinated a little bit but by the second week of September everything was picked up. The first possible hint or trouble came in trying to get a receipt (aside from just an email with confirmation) of my payment. I wasn’t getting any reply from their e-mail address. I also hadn’t had confirmation of when the shipment would be delivered.

Eventually contact was made and it was confirmed delivery would be 15th November, give or take a couple of days. Then on the 13th of November I received an e-mail from Global Moving Systems (the company I used)

“I am sorry to say that due to financial issues we are not able to pay the shipping company below till we get our investment in place. I believe next week we will be in a good position to start paying all our bills. If you wish to pay them direct please do so. For refund issues please contact…”

Considering my shipment was supposed to arrive in 2 days, this e-mail made about as much sense as the concept of a chocolate teapot. It was also signed from a company called GB Liners. After further communication it transpired GMS was on the brink of bankruptcy. That chocolate teapot soon melted, leaving me with what was generously described as an option – pay this other BAR appointed shipping company to ship my stuff instead. So option A – pay twice get stuff, option B – pay once, have my stuff stuck in a warehouse.

That was November. Now possibly I’ve forgotten about that time, on a Friday the 13th, when a black cat crossed my path inside a house, startling me so much I forgot where I was momentarily and opened my umbrella inside which was a stupid thing to do given how small a space I was in at time time – thereby knocking a horseshoe upside down which in turn knocked a mirror off the shelf. Cue the smashing of the mirror into tiny pieces, subsequently forcing me to walk under the ladder which had inconveniently been placed next to the shelf which had the mirror balanced on it and the horseshoe hanging  above it. All this distracted me from responding to that chain letter which had been sitting in my inbox. It is possible. It could all have been done in a drunken haze perhaps?

List of shipped items

Finally ticking the shipment off the list

This is at the least the explanation I have arrived at. Once a legitimate company, who were not based out of a shed in East Sussex, was in charge I thought the pain was over. First, bad weather delays the shipment leaving the port in the UK. Then the shipment gets pulled aside for a customs check. Finally it sets sail. It arrives in Philly. Whole shipment is randomly selected for x-ray and deep inspection by US customs. Eventually released. Fix up day for delivery. Client then puts meeting in my diary for in-person at Jersey City on the same day delivery is due. I persist with delivery day and hope it doesn’t arrive while I’m in the meeting.

Walk the Lines and Only in America books were the first unwrapped

First books unwrapped, rather apt

I had by this point forgotten for the most part what was being shipped. Except I can remember it consisting of a lot of winter clothes (extremely useful now the worst part of winter has passed!). Thankfully it arrived after the client meeting. It felt a lot like Christmas, unpacking everything. The excitement of ‘oh what could this shape possibly be?’. And the ‘is that the end of the presents? Well the unwrapping was exciting and I’m sad I’ve unwrapped everything now but at least I have lots of new toys (for toys read: books, dvds, clothes, bookshelf, art, clocks, music keyboard – for which I intend to learn more than just a few chords to Silent Night or Yellow Submarine, my previous musical achievements. Oh and another can opener, as a backup to the one I’d bought a few days previous).

Funnily enough to cap it off, my landlord was due to come around while I was at work the day after.  I can only imagine seeing all these boxes, he was left extremely confused as to whether he had a new tenant.

Other things I have had to be VERY patient for:

  • Social Security number. Having initially gone to the social security building on a Friday afternoon, I found the building to actually be a building site. Genuinely having to walk through a building site to the elevator to the office. Then finding the place so crowded people were actually sitting by the elevators as all the chairs had been taken. After several hours I found myself in a line of people which hilariously (to me) reminded me of the line in the Post Office in the Full Monty – to the extent I put the song on Spotify while I was waiting in queue (I didn’t put the moves on though). The card took so long to arrive I actually had to go back to the office and queue again.
  • Internet. Time Warner. Not having a social security number at the time (see above), I couldn’t apply as standard through the website. I used their live chat feature and the person confirmed I could get it without a social security number at the time. After much back and forth I had an installation date confirmed. No one turned up. I phoned up and apparently someone already had an open account at the address so there was no way a new account could have been opened (what the live chat operator was doing I have no idea). They just required proof of address I lived there. They also required it to be faxed. FAXED? In 2014?! I had never until that day used a fax machine and have not used it since.

As I’ve said before, Americans always trying to out do people even when it comes to queuing and testing your patience.