Going Postal

Being from “Away” and living in the Geneva countryside means that the local post office holds a special place in my life.  The newspapers, the magazines, the parcels, the jugs of maple syrup and the occasional letter reflect moments of pleasant daily diversion. Usually.

The postman is cheerful and helpful and friendly. He will attempt a second delivery if the gate is shut early in the morning and happily heaves heavy wine boxes inside the door. We sometimes help to get his car started, and always give him a Christmas card and tip. It’s an old-fashioned relationship based on genial humanity and weather conversations.

But the other day my relationship with Swiss Poste took a turn for the worse and the following letter has been sent to Bern:

Dear Swiss Poste,

Yesterday (Feb 28, 2023) I had an unsettling experience in one of your post office affiliates.

As you took the Chancy village post office away some years ago, we have had to go to a neighbouring village (Avully) to send our parcels and deal with bills, letters, etc.  When you shut down that post office a year or two back, we now have to go to the little shop/post office in the village.

Yesterday when I arrived there (16h30) with two small international parcels (each under a kilo and accompanied with the Customs barcode print-outs) I was told the following:

  • The Swiss Poste parcel system had changed in January 2023.
  • The type of Customs Declaration barcodes that I had generated from your Swiss Poste web site as usual, were no longer valid.
  • I needed another SORT of barcode and had to print out in its entirety the contents etc. of each parcel as there was a new Swiss Poste rule that this information had to be attached to each package in a plastic pouch.
  • She could not help me in this process.

I left the post office, returned home and investigated thoroughly your Swiss Poste international parcel information web site and could not find any confirmation of your agent’s information. Nor could I print out the details of the form I filled in to get the bar codes!

Faced with the impossibility of my task, I drove the 12 km to the Lancy/Onex Post office in Lancy Centre, arriving just before closure at 18:00.  There your agent routinely, efficiently processed my parcels with the customs declaration barcodes that the Avully Swiss Poste agent had rejected with all the above explanations.

Can you please explain to me what is going on? Was your agent in Avully some sort of imposter? Had she received a Swiss Poste training course that she had badly misunderstood? She was entirely credible in her detailed lies, but wasted a huge chunk of my time as I had to drive back home the second time in the big evening rush hour.

I would like an explanation. And, needless to say, I will never use that particular Swiss Poste agency again, so you might as well shut it down too.

Yours sincerely,

Joy Kündig

Joy Kundig

Joy Kündig-Manning est née en Angleterre et a vécu au Canada. Spécialisée dans la littérature anglaise du XVIIIe siècle, elle a travaillé comme traductrice, enseignante, et écrivaine. Mariée à un Suisse, elle est venue à Genève en 1977. Elle est très contente de tenir le premier blog du Temps en anglais!

One thought on “Going Postal

  1. Hi!
    I was reminded of the incidents in the post office in Ali Smith’s “Summer”. Have you read it? Really great and the character says all the things you’ve ever dreamed of saying to a postal worker!

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