Wednesday, October 10, 2018

gimme a "d"

Love can blind us our true affection.

I have written several times about Amazon's penetration into the Mexican general merchandise market. Living here used to mean living with what Mexico had to offer. And we did.

But, as my Mexico City amiga Maria the Modernist likes to point out, that version of  Mexico is swiftly disappearing. Once an insular society, Mexico (with its economy 15th largest in the world) is becoming a major player in global trade. We can thank NAFTA for the psychological shift.

Amazon has long offered merchandise to customers in Mexico. But the online system that worked like a Cook County Democrat ward heeler in The States tended to get a little clunky in shipping across borders. Taxes. Customs duties. The full panoply of bureaucratic barriers.

Then, Amazon christened Amazon.Mx -- its Mexican manifestation -- a couple of years ago. What could be better?

Well, I thought it was all Amazon. It turns out the miracle of transforming a book in a Kentucky warehouse or an instant pot in a Mexico City bodega into something in my house requites more than just Amazon. It requires a delivery service.

Now, it would be nice if a liveried footman would fetch my goods directly from Amazon. But, all of mine have been hired away by Downton Abbey and The Crown.

I have long been reluctant to order products online for delivery at the house because I am so seldom there -- and the delivery windows, often ranged over a full week.

I thought I had maneuvered around that by using my postal box for deliveries -- until a new postmaster declared that private carriers could not use the post office as a drop-off point. Without paying a fee.

I should have known technology would come to the rescue. And DHL, our local service, is a paragon of efficiency. Not only do the drivers find my house on the first try with GPS, but the company keeps me informed about the exact delivery date of my orders.

Yesterday, I received an email that my Ecco shoes would be delivered this afternoon. In the morning, a second email updated the delivery to today. I also received a text message informing me of the good news.

I was sitting next to the swimming pool finishing up the last chapter of Testimony, when I heard tires crunching on the gravel in front of the house. A flash of yellow through the crack in the garage door removed all doubt. DHL was here with my package.

With a quickly scrawled signature on the screen of the driver's telephone, I had my package. And within 10 minutes, my smart phone informed me my package had been delivered.

Let me compare that with a not-so-successful system. I like the Mexican postal system. But no one will ever compare it successfully with DHL.

I bought a pair of pajamas from an Amazon vendor in Mexico City. Rather than place the package in the hands of DHL, the vendor dropped it into the postal maw.

Amazon has a usually-informative on-line delivery status for each order. For over a week, it showed my pajamas with only the last action -- "delivered to postal service." T
hen another week. No change.

On a whim, I stopped by the post office in Barra de Navidad. When I asked about my package, the clerk dug through piles of packages and letters. And there it was. It had been sitting unsorted for 10 days. To this day, the Amazon system has not been informed the package was delivered.

So, as much as I celebrate what Amazon now offers to customers in Mexico, it is the DHL delivery system that has won me over with its efficiency.

And that is not just talk. In the midst of this essay, I ordered four books and a DVD from Amazon, and an instant pot from Amazon. Mx. And I am confident that I will soon be scribbling on the DHL driver's telephone after being informed exactly when I need to be home.

It is a great life.

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