- October 23, 2013
#fail, #lebanon, #libanpost, ...
A question like “what is a postal code?” may seem trivial to people all over the world. But in Lebanon, where postal services are still hanging on to our deep rooted traditions of the pre-1934 era, the answer is not an obvious one. But when a postal services employee asks the question, it becomes a little too much.
A month or so ago, I tried to hunt down my apartment’s postal code. I had a couple of items I purchased returned to sender after LibanPost failed to “find” my address. And I was able to get it from someone who seemed to know what a postal code is at LibanPost customer services. Apparently he was the only one in the company who knew!
This whole post was triggered by a very funny (or not, you decide) telephone call I received in the morning asking me to come collect my parcel from the LibanPost office in downtown Beirut. The guy asked me if it was the first time I got parcels delivered, I said no of course. He said that they couldn’t find the address. So I asked him what was he looking for. He read the address to me and it was perfectly findable on Google maps (after all that’s where I got the names of the streets from). I asked him was there a postal code on the label and he was dumbfounded. I told him it was an 8 digits number. He looked and voila, there it was. Next thing he said made me real sad though, so I laughed. He said: “that’s a long number and it’s not a phone number”. I explained it was a Postal Code, and that I got that from their offices. But that did not ring any bells. He just said in a very forced politeness: “Come get your things from Riad el Solh office, TODAY!” I guess he let go of the “or else” part, thankfully.
I’m pretty sure no one reads my rant blogs. In fact I hope no one is reading this one …
||Item departed to final destination
||Item received at Sorting Center
||LEBANON-BEIRUT SORTING CENTRE
||Item handed over to Customs for clearance
So if you don’t ask about your stuff or track them, they simply get resent to sender without a warning! I never got a notification that the watch was sent to customs for clearance. I had to call LibanPost (hotline: 1577) to find out. Then I had to go to the main office near the Beirut airport to “clear” the watch.
Apparently, the pebble was either a “threat to national security” or “too expensive” according to the guys at the clearance office. That’s why they had to charge me 40$ and print and scribble on 11 different forms (4 of which were in triplicates). I felt I was picked up by a Vogon ship.
Anyway, it’s here now and I’m feeling good about it. 🙂
A few weeks (months?) ago there was a (very low) buzz in the Lebanese social media (twitter, blogosphere) about someone (MP? MoT?) announcing that LibanPost will “finally” be using a post code system for Lebanon. That sounded like great news, in spite of the fact that (as many pointed out) a similar announcement was made almost 10 years before that and no one knew about it (especially at LibanPost!)
I am ordering a couple of nifty items for myself (a Pebble and a MYO). And I am actually considering delivering them home, since I live in Beirut now. So I called up LibanPost hotline (1577) and asked if they have a way to tell me what my postal code is. The very nice lady at the other end took a couple of minute and asked me the same question a few times before it dawned on her that I’m actually asking for my own address’ postal code. I’m not too good at explaining things on the phone (or verbally in general), so I’m not blaming her. But when she knew what I was asking for she was very kind to point me to the next step:
Call 01629629 and ask for Mr. Mouhammad Hashash
I am assuming that’s public information, so I’m posting here so people searching for the same info might have a trail to follow. I called the number and Mr. Hashash was indeed the person to call. But since it was (almost) 13:00PM, he was on his lunch break. No one was there to replace him unfortunately. But the good people (3) at his office were kind enough to take my phone numbers and my address (I thought they were going to give me the postal code finally, but it was only for the note they took). So now I wait for the call. Hopefully we’ll get a Postal Code soon (and that the delivery men at LibanPost would be able to use it!)
UPDATE: at ~15:30 the kind Mr Hashash called and simply gave me the Postal Code for my building. I’m going to test it out real soon.