How to Courier a Package in Italy
Print out pre-paid UPS label from the internet, and affix on said package.
Take UPS package to 'edicola' (newsagent) in Chianciano for drop off and eventual collection by UPS representative.
Get warm, fuzzy feeling that maybe, just maybe, this will be easy.
Get imaginary slap on face with an order to 'Snap out of it!' by The Gods of All Things Difficult in Italy.
Face rejection by 20-something year old at edicola who, after getting an 'error message' on screen refuses to take package, while saying 'what if the A4 white manila envelope contains scarves?'.
Engage in frantic calls with UPS customer service centre in Milan, to resolve situation.
Sweet-talk customer service representative, in Italian, to speak to power-hungry 20-something year old, to convince him to accept package, all the while denying the existence of scarves (!).
Wait (im)patiently for final verdict on matter.
--------------6 minutes later-----------------
Return to car with package in hand, and intense feeling of being dejected and defeated ....but also strangely determined.
With hope in heart of having found easier method, organise 'package collection from home service' on UPS website.
Save confirmation of booking, and keep package by door, ready to be collected next day.
Wait next day for saviour in blue truck to arrive.
Any minute now.
Between 9 am - 2.30 pm.
That is what they said.
Wait a bit more.
Spend full day waiting. And doing other stuff too. But mainly waiting.
Call UPS customer service to check whether saviour in blue truck will come.
Receive confirmation that reservation for saviour is on UPS' system.
Look outside window.
Confirm no saviour on the horizon.
Find alternate edicola in Sinalunga (further away), after coming to conclusion that there is no truck, no saviour and no hope.
Go to alternate edicola at 3.30 pm after checking opening hours.
Find notice on door of edicola stating afternoon hours start at 4 pm.
Wait on steps of church in piazza for 30 minutes, watching vendors set up for 'street food fair'. Start dreaming about street food.
Call friend in NYC and share episode. Make his day, week and month.
Go to edicola at 4 pm to find it closed.
Wait by door. Greet shopkeeper of edicola at 4.02 pm when she arrives, out of breath.
Leave package, with assurance that the label would be scanned and text message confirmation will be sent.
Arrive at supermarket in Sinalunga and receive call from out of breath shopkeeper, regarding 'error message' on system. Gladly accept offer for her to call UPS to resolve situation.
Receive text message confirming acceptance of package from UPS while shopping for dairy products in supermarket.
Do an Irish-Indian victory dance in middle of aisle, making bystanders think they are in presence of lottery winners.
Acknowledge that of 7 items on 'To Do List', one has been achieved. Buy supermarket sushi to celebrate and go home.
Paari & Niall