Delivering door-to-door

By Pauline D. Loh ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-11-05 07:12:01

I love Taobao, that all-encompassing online marketplace in China that sells everything from organic vegetables to boyfriends-for-rent-to-take-home during the Spring Festival.

It has saved me distress when I am at a loss to find carpet cleaners, quality ink for pens, organic dog food, curtain hooks, UHU glue and all the tiny necessities that oil the wheels of a two-person household.

Buying online is convenient, allows me the luxury of browsing without apathetic shop girls looking sideways as if I were a creature from another planet, and then immediately looking away if I actually do show any signs of needing help.

The angst comes afterward when it is time to deal with the courier companies that make the deliveries.

First, apart from the professionals that actually have their own planes that ferry goods from one city to another, there are itinerant couriers who operate out of the back of a single over-laden tricycle.

You also have to deal with the inexplicable irrationality that most couriers will only call you when they are at the bottom of your block.

"Hello, are you home? I am downstairs."

"No. Why didn't you call ahead?"

"What? You think I am so free to make so many phone calls?"

"If it's just that one phone call, wouldn't it be better to call ahead and prevent a wasted trip? I cannot stay home every day just to wait for your delivery."

" so, are you home?"

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