Usually we spend the third week of January skiing in Europe. Many years ago Martin Luther King had a dream, and now we have a day off on the third Monday in January. Take four more days off, and you get a nine-day vacation. Seven hour flight New York-Geneva, a short bus ride to France and you “ll find yourself in one of the beautiful ski villages . This year our friend, dedicated skier and a travel agent Dora (718) 875-5012 brought with her a group of forty six tourists.
Our ski vacation was going to start on Sunday, but some people arrived to Geneva on Saturday morning to spend an extra day in this nice city. Since seeing stores that sell watches, coo-coo clocks and Swiss knives one every block does not impress me anymore, our family and a small group of other people arrived to Geneva on Sunday. The bus picked us up in the airport and then went to Geneva to pick the rest of the tourists in the hotel.
Shortly after crossing the Swiss-French border (the bus just slowed down a little), Larry one of the skiers, came to the front of the bus saying that he left his passport in the safe deposit room in the hotel. Dora called the hotel, they opened the box and found the passport. Larry asked the hotel manager to mail the passports overnight to our French skiing resort located in 55 miles from Geneva.
Larry filled out all online forms on the DHL site, picked up “One day in transit rdquo; as a method of delivery and paid for it $150. This was on Sunday and DHL started the delivery process. The package went to Italy, the next day to Belgium, then it was delayed for a day for something called “clearance rdquo;. All these days Larry was tracking the package online, was making phone calls and sending emails. By Thursday, the package reached the city of Lyon in France. DHL “s representative explained that on Friday, the package will rich the town located in 50 miles from our resort, but since they do not deliver on the weekend, Larry would be better off to pick up the packed in that town on Friday (Larry “s plane is leaving on Sunday).
Today, Larry did not go skiing. In the morning, he rented a small car with a manual transmission in the closest Europe Rent a car (the only rental company available). The process took 50 minutes and the price was about $180+gas. He arrived to the DHL office at 12:10PM. Oops hellip;lunch time till 2PM. In Europe, lunchtime is a sacred as cows in India. At 2:10PM he “s got his passport, then a short 90 min drive back and another 50 min spent on the process of returning the car.
The bottom line. God bless America where overnight means exactly this, where there is no lunch breaks in customer facing businesses, where for $190 you can rent a luxury car and both the rental process and the return take 10 minutes each, where people “s mistakes are not punished as severely as in Europe.
The lesson learned. When Larry will leave his passport in this hotel ‘s room, he ‘ll just call the hotel manager to keep it in a safe place and will pick it up in a week on the way back. It ‘s easy to be smart afterward…