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Earlier in the day I was talking with Craig Cmehil saying that my SAP Mentor bag had arrived. Finally. As it’s a gift  from the SAP community I really shouldn’t complain but the journey it took was little short of…incredible. Or rather the difficulty in getting it the 45 km from Jaen to my home.

It all started when I received a letter from DHL telling me there was a hold up in delivering and that I needed to get in touch. I call them up. They give me a case number and tell me they’ll call back. When they returned the call this is how the conversation went (with a little poetic license)

“We have this package for you and we need to know what’s inside it.”

“Who’s it from?”

“Someone called SAP. Do you know what’s inside?”

“I’ve no idea.”

“Hang on…it says something about a bag.”

“Right. So what do you need to call me for?”

“We need your NIE number.”

“Why?”

“It’s something to do with customs. Do you know what’s in the bag?”

“I’ve no idea – but here’s my NIE number.”

“OK – we’ll deliver it shortly. By the way, here’s a reference number you need should you want to call us.”

“I’ve got a different reference number on the letter.”

“Please use the number I just gave you.”

Several days pass and I get another call:

“You know that NIE number? It’s no good because your a foreigner and it says you don’t pay Spanish taxes. Can you fax over your passport?”

“Uh? Are you kidding me? Why do you need my passport?”

“Something to do with customs. By the way, do you work for SAP?”

“Errr…no, SAP isn’t my employer. I don’t have an employer.”

So I then take a JPEG of the passport and send a fax via my computer to the person concerned. Days pass and I get another call:

“Did you fax over the passport?”

“Yes, and I got a note saying you received it.”

“Oh, hang on.”

A few minutes pass and the caller returns.

“We don’t have it. Did you put the case number on the fax?”

“Yes, I used the number you gave me”

“Which number was that?”

…and I then reel off the number.

“That’s the wrong number. We probably didn’t recognize it so it’s probably in the bin. We get a lot of fexes.”

“Well which number do you want me to use?”

…and I am given the original reference number that was on the letter.

“Can I email this to you instead as it seems your fax handling system isn’t that great.”

“Sure it’s to be sent to XXX@dhl.com…hang on, no, its YYY.ZZZ@dhl.com

“OK”

…and I duly email according to the instructions. Time passes and I forget about the bag. This morning I received a call telling me that DHL would be coming to deliver a package and could I confirm the address (which they had wrong.) Asked when the package would arrive, I was told later in the morning.

It arrived at 5.30pm or thereabouts, some 20 days after I received the original letter. DHL? I think they may have some process and control issues. My friend Vinnie Mirchandani calls processes that go wrong in this way as in need of process angioplasty. Hopefully BPX’ers will have some good suggestions. 

Craig asked if that’s ‘normal’ behavior in Spain. I’m afraid it is all too common although I have to say that Spanish folk are nearly always quick off the mark when it comes to fiestas. 

PS – The SAP Mentor bag plus the goodies it contains is well worth the effort of posting into the forums, blogs, wiki etc and taking that extra little bit of time to stand by fellow community people when they need help. I shall see about road testing it on my forthcoming trip to TechEd.

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    1. Dennis Howlett Post author
      I was fortunate Eddie. They didn’t crimp me for customs duty. I genuinely didn’t know (or had forgotten) what SAP was sending me so I could hardly say: “It’s a bunch of schwag.” I reckon the: “I don’t work for SAP” plus being a foreigner tipped the balance. -:)
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  1. Alvaro Tejada Galindo
    Dennis:

    Too bad you had to get through that…At least, you got you Mentor Bag…Which is awesome by the way -;)

    Anyway…DHL is not a pearl here at Perú…After my small interview at TechEd Vegas 2007, Keith Elliot send me a nice shirt…This is the story…

    “I got a DHL paper telling me that I have received a package and I needed to pay $25 to get it…So I call them…

    Blag: Hi, I had received a package, but the paper says that I have to pay to pay $25…Why? It’s supposed to be already payed and even without that the price is very high.

    DHL Girl: Ok…Let’s see…You had received a T-Shirt from SAP, you have to pay $25.

    Blag: I know that I had to pay…But why? I didn’t even bough that T-Shirt…It’s a gift…

    DHL Girl: One second please…You had to pay for the storage

    Blag: Nice…But still…Why I had to pay? It’s a T-Shirt not a Television…I have received free stuff from SAP before and I haven’t pay a dime…I don’t even think that T-Shirt cost is $25

    DHL Girl: One second please…Ok…You can pay $12.5 and get the T-Shirt

    Blag: Ok…You can keep the T-Shirt, sold it, use it, I don’t care…

    DHL Girl: One second please…Ok…You don’t have to pay…Just wait till I called you again…”

    And they never called me… -:(

    Greetings,

    Blag.

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    1. Dennis Howlett Post author
      @Blag – I guess the Spanish culture really does travel well. It’s a total bummer I know. That business of folk not calling back or just not turning up when they say they will royally annoys me.
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  2. Natascha Thomson
    Dennis, thanks for sharing this hilarious story. It reminds me a bit of customs in Germany. Only, they make you go and pick up your “foreign” parcel in a far away city, so you can pay taxes (nobody knows calcuated based on what) right here and there. I have stopped sending my family parcels from the US.
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