We exist. I swear. But couriers from, so far, Amazon and our insurance company, don’t seem to know that. Take a look at this map satellite view. This is a screenshot of Google Maps, which I suspect is the problem. You can see our house, the shed and the pool. You can see the coordinates elsewhere on the map. But Google doesn’t see our address. By the way, Apple Maps has no problem whatsoever. If I call up the weather on my iPhone, our address appears at the bottom of the app’s window.)
I’ll admit, addresses in the country here are problematic. The same street could be called a couple of things But, and this is a big but, the couriers don’t even bother to follow explicit instructions. Or, even, to call for directions.
It all started with a simple order. We use the same account for Amazon Italia as we do in New York. We don’t try to replicate our life in the U.S. except for a couple of things. We like popcorn, and over the past few months when we were basically confined to the house, we used an exercise bike. So, stupid us, we ordered a popcorn maker and a bike from Amazon, thinking they’ll come within a couple of days and that’ll be it.
The first adventure was with the small package, the popcorn machine. Tracking said that a courier service allied to the post office here was the designated courier. Within a couple of days, after the shipping alert came, I saw that a courier tried to deliver the thing but couldn’t find us. Hmmm. I looked through my amazon.it account info. There was my name, my credit card, my address, my….oops, wrong—old—phone number. So I went through the steps and gave Amazon directions and my phone number just in case.
You’d think that would be it. You would be wrong. The courier kept courier-ing, we kept waiting. Nothing. Worried about the bigger shipment, the bike, I got on amazon.it’s chat function. We had a nice exchange in Italian—I am so happy I worked for an Italian company for a couple of years and learned to type as fast in Italian as I do in English. Mahmoud assured me that the vendor and courier for the bike would get the directions and my phone number. And he reimbursed us for the popcorn machine.
A couple of days later, a bedraggled delivery guy showed up with, yes, the popcorn machine. He and the box looked a little worse for wear and tear. “I tried calling you [on the old, wrong number] but finally I went to the post office and asked them. They told me where you are. It’s so easy to get here, I don’t know what the problem is,” he said. “Do you use Google Maps?” “Yeah.”
This is getting tired, I thought. But like someone who thinks that if you keep at it, you’ll get your just reward, I kept contacting the bike’s third-party vendor and leaving messages for the DHL courier service. I’d get responses asking me to be patient. The vendor mysteriously signed its messages with the admontion, in Italian, “have a nice life.”
The bike never came. I gave up this morning and asked for a refund. My request was not polite. Italian business correspondence is usually fogged with lots of polite stuff and a little sarcasm. I didn’t bother. I called DHL a bunch of imbeciles and strongly suggested that amazon.it find other partners, both as sellers and delivery services. At least I’ll get my money back.
Oh, and I went onto Google Maps, went to the “hamburger” menu and added the address to our location pin. With any luck, Sergey and company will add it to everyone’s Google Map, and deliveries by drivers with Android phones may start up again.
This is not the first time Google’s vaunted service has failed us here. Well, not really us but houseguests who I guess put their faith in the data-mining company. They set out for dinner. Us lazybones weren’t in the mood or were too sunburned and Prosecco-ed to want to go out. They went up the road, where Google said a local restaurant was open. We told our friends that we had our doubts, but Google insisted.
It was closed. So was another allegedly open eatery.
So, my friends, as you can see, life here in the Umbrian hills isn’t all Aperol spritz sunsets. (Hmm, I haven’t had one yet and it’s almost three weeks. Must work on that.) Our global life means that our quotidian frustrations have a way of following us around. And just maybe The Great Google has a bit of that man behind the curtain thing going on.
But then we take a walk in the these hills and see this:
And then our neighbor Luciano shows up with this, freshly made sheep’s milk ricotta:
And maybe the universe knows that we’re missing our joint custody pup, Lola. We get almost nightly visits from Lapo, the wonder dog. And during our morning walks up the road and back, we’re escorted by these little fellows, Bandito and Rocky (say the latter with an Italian accent; if you say it in English he doesn’t respond.)