It’s the most wonderful time of the year – for some. For others, the Christmas season can be a real headache, particularly when living away from your home country. Receiving packages from loved ones is of course a nice treat, and ordering the things you like online from familiar shops you know and love can cure any homesickness for a short while. But, living as an expat in a city like Berlin, you’re likely to be receiving more items on average than the locals do, and that means waiting for multiple deliveries around this time of year. We thought it might be a good idea to give you a heads up about situations that often come up so you can plan in advance and avoid the hassle.
In fact, we were super happy when our friends at Paypal invited us to collaborate this winter by giving you some understanding of the challenges of shopping online and actually receiving your packages in Berlin. Plus there is a cool tip in the end of this article…if you decide, after all, to return your packages.
Experiences can include: racing to the intercom to answer the buzzer in a VERY quick fashion before the delivery person writes you up a card and magically disappears, taking the day off work only to find that A) nobody turns up to deliver your parcel or B), they leave you a card to say you weren’t at home, even though you were in the WHOLE day (which means you then have to take off more time to go pick them up) or, trying to decipher the name & address on the card. Then, there’s queueing at your local post office with 100 other customers eagerly awaiting their gifts…
Plus it is very common, in Berlin at least, for the delivery service to leave your parcels with your neighbors if you are not at home. Which can be convenient but also adds a whole other level of complexity. Your neighbor might be never at home, so getting the package (hopefully not perishable) can take a while, sometimes weeks!!! In fact, if you live in a building without a lift, many delivery service personnel will deliver your parcels to your neighbors without even ringing. Even if you are at home! They just can’t bother climbing all those stairs to deliver your precious purchase or gift!
One neighbor of ours actually received a card the other day with no name on it all, nada. She had to go to all of the neighbours in the building to ask if they had it, eventually finding it with a neighbour in another building behind her apartment!
It’s not all bad though, parcels do sometimes arrive on time and in one piece delivered by friendly staff – just make sure your name is written clearly on your buzzer and make sure it actually works (otherwise you might miss that annual knitted sweater from grandma). Online shopping is also the perfect means for those wanting a taste of home. It’s fast, convenient and easy to pay – though make sure you buy from reputable sites to avoid any risks. I often use services like PayPal, which lowers the risks of online shopping by allowing you to pay securely for your items and keeping your account details private. So, at least one thing will be guaranteed to go smoothly this Christmas!
This holiday season, Paypal (a service we have been using for years and completely trust) came up with a great promotion. If you buy your items online using your Paypal account, you can return them at no cost, for whatever reason!
*This article has been graciously sponsored by our friends at Paypal and Awesome Berlin was given full freedom in creating the content.