Complaints are common about the Italian postal service, but I thought things were getting better. And maybe they are, measured strictly against la posta’s own previous service levels, which have always been dire.
But consider these events:
I needed to mail two packages from the US this summer, one to Ross in India, one to myself in Italy (too much luggage!). I was staying with friends in San Francisco’s Mission District, so I went to a nearby shop that specialized in sending packages, money orders, etc. to south American countries.
The woman at the counter took the box for India without comment. Then she looked at the box for Italy.
“Do you want insurance on this? ‘Cause the postal service there is really bad.”
(The package did arrive safely in about two weeks, Ross’ got to India a little faster. Can you see where this is going?)
Just now I was on Amazon, ordering a book and a DVD that I want to share with Ross when I get to Mussoorie (a hill station in India’s Himalayas). I’m leaving in 14 days. Should I have them shipped to Italy or India? I looked at both options. Amazon’s “Standard International Shipping” from the US to Italy was estimated to take “9-36 business days”. Recent experience shows that this is about right – some books I ordered from Amazon ~Sept 14th arrived in Lecco ~Oct 18th (and I was charged â‚¬6 customs duty, the calculation of which is probably what held up the package).
Far too long for me to get these items before my departure, but the 2-4 day courier service would cost $40. Not worth it.
So I put in Woodstock’s address. “Standard international shipping, estimated 10-16 business days”.
A package from the US will get to a remote hill station in India almost three times faster than to Lecco.
Welcome to Italy, third-world country.
Jan 4, 2008 – Both Amazon packages, plus my new Moo cards, arrived in Mussoorie on time and intact.