In the last week I’ve had reason to notice two specific instances of door-to-door service, both of which have caused me a lot of thinking.
The first example was of delivery service. My husband has registered with a company called Shun Feng which is the Chinese equivalent of UPS or FedEx (and is actually more dependable than both of them in China). Because his phone number is registered, he only has to call when he has a package and someone automatically comes to our door.
The delivery man will bring the box or envelope you need and any packing material to your door – with a promise of a visit within 2 hours. This particular time, the delivery man arrived within 20 minutes, padded envelope in hand. I was truly stunned.
This type of service is only practical in a large city with the density of Shanghai. I can’t imagine this in a rural area or smaller city, but the convenience just takes my breath away.
The second example was also of door-to-door service, but not quite as favorable. I was getting ready for bed one night and there was a loud knock on the door. My husband went to answer it. At the door were three policemen (two men and a woman) and one of the security guards from our building. They insisted on seeing my husband’s ID card. They talked to him for a while and then started asking more questions – who else lives here?
He replied back that his wife lived there as well. I stayed in the bedroom. They then started asking for my paperwork. He showed them my passport, they asked another couple of questions and then left. It was obvious they were checking in on me – the foreigner – not him.
This kind of thing hasn’t happened in a long time, since right before the Beijing Olympics. All of my paperwork is correct, there was nothing they could have done – but this door-to-door service just made me feel incredibly uncomfortable. I don’t want or need visits from the police at my door.
China is a place of contradictions. One moment I can be enjoying the convenience and the next shivering at the efficiency. I know that I am welcomed here – to a point, but there are limits.
Have you ever had door to door service? Was it a positive or a negative? Any thoughts?
Apologies for the scarcity of posts recently. More travel and I have been feeling a bit under the weather. May and June will continue to be busy, but let’s see how much I can fit in!