How to thoroughly mess up a convenience of China 

I enjoy limited conveniences now that I live in a country that is not my own. One that is available to me, though, I managed to screw up. 

The Chinese eBay is called Taobao. This website offers ridiculous deals on various products and I’m convinced most of my students buy every stitch of clothing they own in this manner. 

For those of us who don’t know enough Chinese to use Taobao, there is Baopals, which is run by expats for expats. 

I created a Baopals account and skeptically looked for products. I say “skeptically” because I was wary of the delivery process, product quality, and price points. I decided to order two items of little consequence for my first “trial” order. I bought a three-pack of Listerine and a canister of Morton iodized salt. These are two things that are a bit difficult to find in stores. 

A week passed and I hadn’t received my items. I contacted the good folks at Baopals about my order via WeChat. They responded and explained that part of my order was refunded because they couldn’t fulfill the order. (I learned that I would not be receiving a canister of Morton salt.) I asked where my Listerine is. 

The delivery option, which I thought I understood, I evidently did not understand. The delivery option I chose was “convenient pickup.” I chose this because sometimes people still can’t find our apartment… 

The convenient delivery, however, involves a text message (in Chinese) from the delivery company. 

Great. 

I tend to delete the texts I get that are all Chinese because I receive a number of spam texts and don’t have time (or energy) to translate all of them. 
I said I hadn’t received the text. (In reality, I thought I had deleted it without knowing.) Then I found out there is no way to resend the text. I quickly fessed up that I probably deleted it because I thought it was spam, to which the Baopals agent replied that I should’ve read their blog post about delivery options. 

Really. I’m expected to have read your blog in order to understand your options? Sigh. 

Okay. So I followed the agent’s directions to file a claim for my missing Listerine. I made my claim and waited. 

Still no Listerine. Still no response. 

Okay. I’m trying again. New delivery option. Send it to me at my university. They have a mailroom to to handle this kind of crap. Turns out “convenient pickup” isn’t so convenient. 

I miss the days of official, trackable delivery already. It may be inexpensive, but I’d pay for traceability… oh, China. 

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