Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Please, Mr. Postman

I've been known to rant about the absurdities of living in Vienna to friends and strangers alike.  This is not shocking to anyone who knows me.  I'm going to generalize here:  people in Austria relish making the obviously simple task into a difficult, if not damn near impossible, task.  Just follow expats posting on the internet about living in Vienna and trying to get something accomplished, from banking to housing to registering their educational degree.

Side note:  You read that last part right, Austrians are really into "titles".  For example, If you have a Masters Degree, you can use the title Mag. (Magister) in front of your name.  Officially, you must go through some kind of process to get your degree registered with the government.  I think I am just going to start using Hag. in front of my name and let them wonder what it means.

Living in Vienna means you frequently deal with the party of "NO"- I don't mean the USA Democrats or Republicans (depending on your politics).  The attitude of "Yes, we can!" or "Si se puedes!" does not translate.

That being said, last week I experienced something so amazing in its simplicity and ease, I nearly jumped for joy.  At the Post Office.

Note:  Closed on Saturdays

In the past, the Austrian Post and I have not been friends.  Customs is fanatical, searching (yes, opening) packages looking for something to tax.  Oh, say, like a vintage (used) luxury item purchased at a charity auction and mailed to Vienna, only to be taxed by customs as if it were brand new.  Fighting City Hall is not worth the effort, so one must pay Mag. Tax Man to get the goods out of jail.

For that reason, I don't purchase many items that require shipping, just in case I break some rule and have to pay.  However, the time comes when ordering something from Amazon is critical to one's very existence.  I missed the delivery, took my slip to the Post for pick-up and encountered this:  Automated Package Pick-up.

Hag. Johnson, Your Package is Available for Pick Up
Here is the long and short of it:  stand in front of a bank of cabinets with your package slip, scan the barcode at the computer (directions available in English), sign your name on the touch screen and Holy Strauss! somewhere along the bank of happy yellow cabinets a door pops open and your package is ready for the taking.  When you close the door, the next person can use the system.

Note the Different Sized Cabinets and Sunny Color!

So Easy, Even an English Speaking ExPat Can Do It!!

This can only mean one thing.  When living here frustrates the hell out of me,  Amazon to the rescue.


  1. I moved to Vienna two years ago to be with my then fiance, now husband.. even took the dog! ;) No matter how hard I tried I just couldn't adjust. I wish I found your blog posts while I was still living there! We left two months ago and retuened to the states.. now he gets to do the adjusting ;) I left a lot of great memories there bad ones too.. but overall its a beautiful city. I just wanted to say I enjoy your blogs and reading the frustrations you have at times.. I can relate!!

    1. Forgot to add that I had my daughter while living there too. I kept a diary and plan on giving it to her In the future. Please keep writing, I'm sure your kids will love to look back at all your experiences. So well written, I can't stop laughing about the grocery stores. Billa made me appreciate walmart a lot more! ;)

    2. Thanks for your comments-we could probably sit for a coffee - at Starbucks :) and share our tales of woe! It is hurtful AND funny and not easy to deal with, my 10 year old can relate every time he sits on an ubahn full of stone faced, angry looking people. We enjoy the beauty, the mostly safe streets and the ease of travel to places we never thought we would see. I hope you are enjoying being home again and the adjustment for your husband has not been as difficult as your adjustment to Vienna. It can't truly be gotta live it!! Best to you and your family and thanks for reading-

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  3. Dear LAH,

    I just came across your blog. What a wonderful read! We are planning to move to Vienna next year, would it be possible to contact you via email for advice? Thank you very much!