So I wrote about grocery shopping recently and now I have something to share about the postal system in Russia.
I just completed an experiment in which I ordered some books online to see how long they would take to get here. I'm not sure about big cities in the U.S., but here it's like being back in college: you get a package slip in your mailbox and have to go to the pick-up window. Kind of exciting but a let-down at the same time because you have an extra errand to do before getting your package.
Post offices are pretty easy to find and ours is practically visible from our kitchen window (if you kind of crane your neck a bit). I've written before about how the hours can be confusing, but it turns out that the pick-up window doesn't have a lunch break.
A few weeks ago, the first part of my order came in. It had been shipped separately from Great Britain. The pick-up window is open until 8pm and it was around 6, so I grabbed my passport, threw on a coat, and headed over. I went around the corner thinking I had been sent there before to pick something up. Waited in line only to be told I needed to go to the other window on the other side of the building. Once at the front of the line, it turned out I was supposed to actually copy my passport info onto the back of the package slip, along with the date.
That was to receive one book, which had taken a month or so.
Earlier this week, I got the second package slip, marked Urgent. I hustled over, but when I opened the door, the room was filled with people and I didn't have that kind of time to wait in line. :( Everyone always complains about the lines at the post office, but I don't usually mind...must have come at a particularly busy time, though. I went back home feeling rather disappointed.