Customs of the Chinese Post


By far, one of the more laughable things about living in China is the postal system. People tootle around in little bicycle trucks with China Post or EMS or Amazon on the sides, delivering packages and letters to their destinations. Once they get there, they call your phone and you go collect your package. It’s really rather a smart system, for things within China. For things coming outside of China, though, they don’t do so well. The number of packages and letters that they’ve lost for us amounts to nearly half of the packages and letters that have been sent here. Maybe they like the poor Americans to feel even lonelier amid their thousands of people. Or maybe we just don’t know enough Chinese to get our address right.

The latest edition in the silliness of Chinese Customs, however, was just recently. My parents sent a small box a couple days ago (full of stuff that I’m too much of a cheapskate to buy, like clothes–seriously, everything nice here I’ve seen has cost around 600-800 RMB. No thanks!), and FedEx customs wanted to know every detail. Could I send them my passport? Done. Could I fill out a form with my name and address and passport number, signing away my rights to inspect the package? Done. Could I tell them, in minute detail, what the contents of the package were? Not really. But I tried, using my stereoscopic X-ray vision that can zoom in on a package I’ve never seen that’s somewhere in the middle of Beijing and determine what EXACTLY was put into it back in America. I’m cool like that.

Actually, I just made it up, based on my rudimentary knowledge of what I was expecting to see in the package. So Mom, you better not have stashed anything illegal in it. May I suggest, oh dearest of dear Customs people, that you think up a slightly smarter system for finding out what’s in people’s packages? Like, I don’t know, maybe asking the person who PACKED the package, instead of the recipient? Except they do that too. Maybe they like playing mind games with people.

Other than spending time obsessing over when (or if) I will get a letter or a package or some reminder that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth and become one of your dear departed, I’ve just been up to the usual craziness. Eight classes. Midterms. Biking. And taking pictures of spring flowers, with which I will leave you:

DSC_0733 DSC_0781 DSC_0786 DSC_0789

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9 thoughts on “Customs of the Chinese Post

  1. Pingback: 2015: Year in Review | Milk and Pickles

  2. KJ

    Yes,each time the US postal person is familiar with what you are receiving as I show the contents and we get to know each other during the time it takes to fill in the form-listing in detail each item, the weight of each item and the value of each item. Including listing the note card that was included. I was quite glad that I did not put in something I was thinking of since it would have been a little embarrassing.

    1. I’m sure it takes a long time on both sides! And they have the form that has everything filled out on it, so I don’t know why they need it again. Probably to test my superpowers, I’m thinking. 🙂

  3. RC

    In other words I should wait until you’re in London where the lettering is familiar and the words are essentially the same before I send you a package? That’s hilarious that they ask you what’s in it! 😀

    1. Just don’t forget those British spellings when sending to London. They might not know what a “Center” is or how to “Color” something in, and we wouldn’t want to confuse them.

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