I have yet to meet an expat in Paris who has not had problems with the international postal service. Among the tales of woe are : boxes sent by relatives which (finally) arrived empty or with some contents missing or eaten. Birthday cards which never arrived (presumably targeted as they may conceivably contain hard cash) and magazine subscriptions which had to be cancelled because it was just not worth all the hassle. Thankfully most internet retailers seem to be aware of the problem and Amazon have resent several of my orders by courrier and free of charge.
The problem is that there is incompetence and dishonesty at every link in the delivery chain. Expat fingers were long pointed at the Royal Mail owned international service GLS, who had an appalling delivery record and a unique approach to customer service. Their contract with La Poste has thankfully not been renewed. However, your average package still has to survive inspection by customs workers who might just be feeling a bit peckish when they chance upon your emergency supply of Crunchie bars.
If and when your parcel makes it into the light-fingered hands of the French postal service, it has the minimum wage slaves in the sorting offices to contend with, followed by the army of teenage postie temps (a different youngster delivers our mail almost every day). Finally, there is the ‘courrier volumineux‘ mailbox in the hall of my appartment building which everyone and his dog has a key to. It’s a miracle anything ever arrives unscathed.
Luckily Mr Frog’s baaing fluffy sheep thong was spared.