Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Modern technology vs. jobs

Recently we ordered some books on Amazon.de. After my exhausting German language class today I returned home and checked my mail box. Inside was this green postcard from DHL. It listed an address for a Packstation on my street. If you're now wondering, "What is a Packstation?" I am about to explain. I had no idea either until today.

I entered the address on Yahoo.de under Routenplanner (map) so I could figure out where in relation to my apartment I had to go. Thankfully it was only two short blocks away. I schlepted out in the cold with my notice and my camera. I knew I had arrived when I saw there were two large yellow, metal machines that looked like a futuristic vending machines. I stood numbfounded in front of these two machines for about 10 minutes hitting every button and even realizing there was a barcode reader about the level of my belt. I placed my card in front of this reader, nothing happened. I looked at the screen and realized through the glare from the sunglight that their were fingerprints all over the screen. In that flash of conciousness, shivering in the cold, I decided to touch the screen. Presto! Like magic the screen had newly illuminated instructions, however in German of course--I guess that makes sense because after all, I am in Germany. Luckily, once again, the Germans have provided instructions in English by simply pressing the large British flag on the screen. Now I knew what to do. The on-screen instructions asked me to place my delivery notice in front of the barcode reader, check. Then it instructed me to type in my first and last name, check. Suprisingly it instructed me to sign for the package using my finger on the screen, just like you do at the check-out counter with the stylus at say, for example, Trader Joes. I scrolled my signature with my finger, check. Pressed confirm, check. Then off to my right I heard a click a door began to open very slowly and there was our Amazon package. I retrieved the package and the soon thereafter, the door closed. It was an interesting way to retrieve a package.....

I can see some day UPS, DHL and Fedex installing these machines in central locations and you will have to retrieve your packages this way. If you do not, you will have to pay extra for delivery to your door. Considering the high costs of fuel, the congestion in major cities and in the interest of reducing air pollution, maybe they should implement this system sooner rather than later.

I remember at the end of the process the on-screen guide suggested if I liked this system to log online to enroll in the service. For more info, click here.

I will upload photos as soon as blogger is able to do so....


Blogger Lisa said...

In the future we'll all get our babies this way. :D

10:06 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Wait. You mean babies come some other way? Is there something my mama didn't tell me?

I mentioned the Packstations on my blog a couple weeks ago. The idea of picking up my package whenever I want it great and I like that I don't have to deal with normal post office hours but our nearest Packstation is in a very inconvenient place a long mother scratching way from the streetcar stop.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Kim/Thomas said...

wowowowo that is soooo futuristic!!! I cannot wait to see the pictures...
I'm sure it inspires plenty of questions from kids..like how do the packages get inside, and all that...oh the stories you could tell to mess with them:)
oh, the stork will soo be out of business with these things..

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for describing this process. I'm in Berlin and recently placed an order on Amazon.de which failed to reach my apartment mailbox. I will try the Packstation method next time.

3:45 PM  

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