Jan gave us a ride into the city of Wroclaw in the morning and gave us some advice on what to see. The city was really beautiful, we spent the first half of the day sightseeing.
The second half of Saturday was spent running around from post office to the DHL Office in a frantic race against the clock to collect our replacement gear before everything closed for the weekend. We needed to pick up our replacement sleeping pads from REI as well as two replacement tent poles from Mountain Hardware. First we visited the post office for our mats - they were not there yet. We were really frustrated because they’d been shipped 14 days ago and were supposed to arrive within 10. This delay meant we’d have to stay in Wroclaw until Monday to make another attempt at pick-up.
Next we needed to visit DHL to pick up the tent poles. First we tried to call the offices to make sure they were open and the tent poles were there. Only the fax picked up. We decided to hop on the bus and ride to the offices to try our luck. This turned out to be an unwise decision. After a 40 minute bus ride deep into the suburbs we arrived at the completely deserted offices of DHL. We crossed the street and sat and the bus station and waited for 1/2 hr for a bus returning to the city. During this wait I had to go to the bathroom so badly that I was reduced to peeing behind the bus station shelter. Obviously this trip has really blurred the lines between human and animal behavior for us - I would have never done something like this before the trip!
We spent one last evening with Jan eating his delicious food and watching Abba videos together. The next morning we set off for a campsite to wait out Sunday. On Monday morning we resumed our mission to claim our replacement gear. First stop was the DHL office. We rode our bicycles rather than the bus this time, but were met with bad news again. Our packages weren’t there. The DHL guy was really helpful and called his friend at FedEx, who looked up the tracking number and gave us a phone number to call so we could find the address our package was actually sent to. This address turned out to be the Post Office’s - same place our mats were supposed to be!
Considering the one week of back and forth we’d had with Mountain Hardware where they insisted they would not ship to a Post Office, this was more than I could take. I was officially infuriated and turned into a raving maniac about poor customer service for the rest of the day. We went to the post office next. Once again they didn’t have our mats or our tent poles, but this time they told us that the Post Office address we were looking for wasn’t them. Thanks guys, wish you would have let us know this last time we visited you! Some might say this is our fault for not matching the addresses correctly, but I was not expecting for there to be literally three post offices on the same street within 3km of each other! Anyhow, raving aside, at the post office 1 km down the road we were able to pick up our packages. Turns out the Mountain Hardware tent poles were accidentally FedEx’d to the office building next door which is where some very kind person signed for them and then walked them down the street to the Post Office where we picked them up. Talk about a lucky break (thanks five leaf clover!) - if this small delivery accident hadn’t happened we’d have never gotten our tent poles.
To top it all off, Mountain Hardware forgot to send us two poles like they’d promised. We just got one. I’d like to dedicate a few final words to a customer service stank rank:
#1. DHL - our package wasn’t shipped through them and it wasn’t delivered to their warehouse, either. The employee helped us out anyway by calling FedEx and pointing us in the right direction.
#2. REI - responded to our email about the defective sleeping mats within 24 hours, and sent replacements to us 24 hours after we gave them an address!
#3. Mountain Hardware - took one full week to respond to our email about the defective tent pole. Took another week of back and forth to agree on where the pole would be sent. Conversations went exactly like this:
Me: Filled out a “Contact Us” form
M.H.: Please contact someone else, I’m on maternity leave.
Me: WTF?! …sent another email to a sales address from the website.
M.H.: Um, sorry about that. How can I help you?
Me: Our tent pole broke. The other was hit by a car. Can you send us new poles to this Post Office address.
M.H.: FedEx can’t ship to the Post Office, sorry.
Me: OK, here are the three options I came up with. 1) FedEx the poles to a Mountain Hardware retailer in Wroclaw. 2) send the poles via DHL to this specific DHL address in Wroclaw. 3) don’t use FedEx and send the poles via regular mail to the Post Office.
M.H.: OK I will do the DHL option.
End result: Mountain Hardware went with a bizarre ‘hybrid’ option previously stated as impossible - using FedEx to ship to the Post Office - WTF. My final assessment is that they meant well and did replace our tent pole for free, but the execution needs some work.
All griping aside we were really happy to get our new gear. We left Wroclaw the next day with a new tent pole and new sleeping mats to get us through the colder autumn months!