I recently found myself in the happy position of waiting for several review items at once. This is a first for me, and I celebrated by making a spreadsheet to keep track of my reviewing schedule. Yes, I really am that big of a nerd…I also keep sheets of toy measurements and what paraphernalia I have squirreled away where. Being my overly organized self, I also included the dates when I expected items to arrive. One of those packages, coming from overseas, was due about now.
I checked my P.O. box, no review package. I didn’t sweat it, trans-Atlantic shipping often takes a day or two longer than expected. I went through my work day, thinking nothing more about it… until I got an email from a member of management. The email was forwarded from our company’s contact form online. It was from a DHL representative, stating that they were looking for Ms. Real Name because a package to be delivered to her had a P.O. box address and they can’t deliver there so please call immediately. My first thought was that a customer needed to ship something to us… but nobody I know uses DHL.
At that moment, I remembered the overseas package. My heart raced. I re-read the email several times, scanning for any reference to the origin of the package or its contents. I was dialing DHL a few seconds later. Sure enough, that package held my review items. I gave them my home address, and was assured that my package would be delivered without further mishap. As for the email from management?
I fired off a quick apology for the website contact regarding my package. I (truthfully) explained that I had given my personal post office box, not realizing that the item couldn’t be delivered there, and that DHL had apparently chosen to Google me rather than calling my phone number. Fortunately, the manager found this entertaining… just another weird inquiry that popped up on our site. That was when I finally exhaled.
When the dust settled, I dropped a quick email to the vendor letting them know what had happened. They were polite and appreciative of the note. In my eyes, this was an honest mistake on their part and I don’t have any hard feelings toward them. DHL should have spoken up about the “no P.O. box” rule earlier in the process, or called me at the phone number provided, or contacted the sender to get in touch with me, or you know, anything except emailing my employer. About the only positive thing I can say is that they didn’t disclose package details.
The moral of this story for bloggers: If you’re using a P.O. box, ask how vendors will be shipping your packages. DHL is a big no-go, you will need to provide an alternate physical address. Fed Ex Smartpost and UPS Mail Innovations will deliver to post office boxes, standard Fed Ex and UPS won’t. If there is any doubt, be sure to confirm that the vendor will use Smartpost/Mail Innovations. In my experience, most foreign postal services have no problem with P.O. boxes, but clarifying never hurts. Of course, anything sent through the US Postal Service is fine.
And vendors? This tale illustrates why it is vital to us that you not list our blog name/persona on shipping labels. My story would be considerably less funny if Ninja Sexology or Lunabelle had showed up in my employer’s inbox. I am grateful to all the vendors I have worked with who ship discreetly, with no outward indication of my online identity. The day may come when I decide to take off the ninja mask, but I don’t want it ripped away before I’m ready.