I am pretty sure there is an entire level of hell reserved for Poczta Polska (Polish Post). A very special level of hell, no doubt. And even then, I can imagine the devils in charge “going postal” when they’re told who its for.
Yes, it’s time for another Poczta Polska rant. No surprise here, after all it’s difficult to do anything other than rant when talking about this institution. Because no two other Polish words inspire so much conflicting emotions as “Poczta Polska”, not even “Doda Elektroda”.
As most of you know, I don’t live in Poland. But every so often, as most Poles away from the motherland, I require a little something to remind me of the old country.
Sometimes it’s instant barszcz czerwony, sometimes a box of ptasie mleczko, nothing big, and nothing special, just the usual stuff.
Enter Poczta Polska.
There are no words to describe just how much I despise this institution, so I am not going to even try. And besides, it raises my blood pressure and high blood pressure is bad for my health.
You see, when I was in Poland last year, I sent several small packages (pakiecik, noun, masc., plural: pakieciki) to myself. As a test of sorts. Some I sent via airmail (these days called “Priorytet” – Priority) and some using the fancy-schmancy, supposedly fast and very expensive EMS – express mail service, called Pocztex.
Pocztex costs a lot but gives you a tracking number, which you can actually try to track even when your item leaves Poland. I say “try to track” because the results may vary. Sometimes you can, and sometimes you can’t. But the good thing is that someone has to sign for a Pocztex package (or a Pocztex letter) upon delivery and the signature is (supposed to be) stored electronically. So, at least in theory, you can check when your stuff was delivered and who accepted the delivery.
In that respect, it’s similar to the “polecony” (registered) option, but speaking from experience, 9 out of 10 post offices will tell you that you can’t send a polecony abroad. Instead, they will try to convince you to use either Pocztex or some other certifiably certified gizmo. And even if you manage to send an overseas polecony, it won’t do you any good – polecony is worth only the paper your receipt is printed on. In reality, once the mailing leaves Poland is as good as gone.
And then, there’s the good old airmail. Oh, sorry, priorytet. No tracking numbers, no nothing, just the good will of Poczta Polska that your pakiecik will, at the very least, leave the borders of the country.
And here are the results of my very informal pakiecik sending and receiving experiment.
Out of 5 packets sent via airmail (priorytet), some registered and some not, I’ve received exactly zero. Zip, zilch, nada.
Out of 2 packets sent via Pocztex, I’ve received both. One 4 days later, one 2 months later, but hey, at least they got here.
I hate to say it, but the problem seems to be limited to Poland. I get packets and packages of various shapes and sizes from the US, Canada, Korea (South) and a few other, assorted countries more or less regularly and without any hassles. But from Poland – nothing. If it’s not sent via EMS, oh pardon me – Pocztex, it’s as good as gone forever.
Now, by all means, if you have a good Poczta Polska story, please do share. Because it seems that good Poczta Polska stories are nothing but urban legends. Or like a UFO sighting. (Though personally, I’m more inclined to believe someone saw a UFO than had a good Poczta Polska experience).