Finally both the sea and air shipments for my move to Seattle are on their way. There is an hardly belivable chain of contractors for this move, and additionally to thus be terribly bureaucratic, unflexible and chaotic, it has to be also terribly expensive for Microsoft.
From Cendant and Graebels in USA, to Grospiron, VagLio, NaviLand and Hanjin Shipping France, everyone has to take its ‘tax’ on the way.
The shipment of wine failed. Although even when reduce from the initial 40 foot to a 20 foot container, it was still only filled to a third, adding wine to the empty space would have costed no less than over 1 200 USD for "shipping cost" according to Cendant & Graebels, but they were additionally unable to say how much would cost the custom, and warned they will even add a not-yet valuated "transport cost" (someone tells me the difference with the shipment…) and further ridicilous justification for more ‘tax’. I guess these vultures hoped to tear some cash out of me based on the emotional value attached to product from my country. So much for them, I’ve removed the wine from the shipment. Now I can sit on bottle packs…
I hope the giant mountain bike steering will not be damaged upon arrival – I was quite worried by the handling of the packer who packed it. I have a pack of kitchen-ware misrooted to the sea shipment, but as the temporary housing is now for 2 months, I hope I’ll get anyway the sea shipment when I move in a more definitive housing. I expect some damage to my cafe-macchiato glasses as the same packer piled the glasses without a protection layer between the glasses. A screw of the 3 door cupboard was forgotten by the packers, but my mother noticed it in time and it got re-added to the packages. She mentionned some scratches to one of the table, but it should not be too important. It would had being a good idea however to take everything in picture before the packers came, so there is no doubt on what scratch was done by who.
The air shipment was under-valuated for the insurance, while the sea shipment was over-valuated. I’ve transmitted my inventory to the contact responsible for the insurance, but couldn’t respect the delay of 48 hours prior to packing given that the evaluations were themselves already given at around 18 hours from packing…
Beside the shipment itself, I got instruction how to get to the key of my temporary housing. The said keys are in Redmond just next to MS’ campus, but the apartment is in Kirkland and I’ll take now the time to find online an itineary. I already saw that the extra fee for the internet connection at ‘Aboda’ corporate housing is ridiculously high ($30 self-activation fee, plus $45.95 per month). I won’t pay this, no way, I’ll have to find alternate way to get connected.
I can’t get a Social Security number until I am physically in USA, so all other formalities such as the very basic opening of a bank account are blocked. The quote that you’re nothing without a SS number in US is absolutely through. Yet you can’t do anything to get one before you’ve moved in and I guess are overdrawn by more bureaucraty. I’ve already being announced to expect from 10 to 30 days of delay before I get my number. I’ll have to rely on cash from distant citibank ATM and the german citibank’s visa in the meantime – with change cost at each payement or witdhdraw, it is not so good; yet I am lucky to be on a bank well present in US, and not to have to rely on traveler checks or so. Men, where is it that I’m moving?
I am tired by the amount of contact and advisor who all claim to organize stuff and care about your move, while most of their letter are pre-written forms where they just add your name and don’t give a damn whether the contained information is really relevant to your specific move or not. I also got a couple of contradictory or simply wrong informations. For instance, I was said that the shipment will go through Anvers (and needed the information for the US custom form), while the shipment will actually go to Strasbourg and le Havre (the connection is performed by train).
I’ll flight there on Sunday, leaving on an european morning to land in the evening in Tacoma. My luggage is almost already completed as I needed to separate what goes immediately with me from the sea and air shipments. We shall see…