Door to door service

10 May

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!




15 Responses to “Door to door service”

  1. sarahinguangzhou May 10, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

    They used to do this a lot in the blocks where lots of foreigners lived in GZ. I think it’s mainly a source of income for them, it was 100RMB fine if you hadn’t registered with police.

    • gkm2011 May 11, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

      I had thought of this, but still, the fact there were three policemen struck me as weird. Just hope it doesn’t become a regular occurrence.

  2. expatlingo May 10, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    Like the sound of that delivery service. Really don’t like the sound of the late visit from the police. Never had that happen in Zhuhai, but my neighbour had a visit because of a long staying guest who hadn’t registered.

    • gkm2011 May 11, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

      I think with China relaxing some of its visa policies (48-96 hour visa free periods), they are getting more paranoid. It is one of the differences when just by looking at you they can see that you are different. Sometimes I miss the US!

  3. Every Day Adventures in Asia May 10, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

    Our local courier service is generally extremely helpful, cheap and I love that many of their delivery guys are deaf – would otherwise not have such employment. Again – all possible within a city that has more people many countries.

    However your late night police visit is SUPER uncomfortable! We are in the midst of elections in India and there is a distinct possibility the new government will have a… less than friendly approach to us longer term firangis.

    So far no visits to our doorstep (heck I was the one who felt guilty and initiated giving the police my current doorstep address – they weren’t fussed!).

    My last evening in Mumbai was a pop by visit from friends of several nationalities all grappling with the confounding paperwork and cumbersome online visa application processes. Some things are indeed tightening here in India…

    • gkm2011 May 11, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

      That really makes me sad, getting an Indian visa wasn’t a smooth process when I went there 8 years ago. More complicated – sheesh!

      • Every Day Adventures in Asia May 12, 2014 at 2:35 am #

        Well.. these aren’t ordinary garden variety visas. The infuriating days of dependency on a faulty website is the bane of academics and folks working in India. Not fun stuff at all. I dread when my PIO expires!!!

  4. CrazyChineseFamily May 11, 2014 at 6:14 am #

    In Xi’an I have positive experience with the delivery services as well with the police, but then again I dont live there but I am there only for a short time each year. Each time I visit the police station they are rather friendly (always with talkative mother in law!) so I hope it will stay like that

    • gkm2011 May 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

      I have had pretty decent experience at the police station itself. They are normally pretty nice and as I follow the rules, no issues. It was the invasion of my perceived privacy that made me uncomfortable. I go to the police station and don’t need it to come to me!

  5. simpletravelourway May 11, 2014 at 7:08 am #

    Very interesting post! Hope your upcoming summer load lightens up and health blooms.

    • gkm2011 May 11, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

      Thanks – me too! Where are you heading after being down under next?

      • simpletravelourway May 11, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

        Heading north to Daintree, Port Douglas, Cairns for a month. Then off to Tanzania.

      • gkm2011 May 11, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

        Wow! I will continue to follow along.

  6. Naomi Baltuck May 21, 2014 at 4:17 am #

    That kind of visit is scary. I’m glad it worked out and they went away. I hope your travel is for pleasure, and that you feel better soon!
    Warm wishes,


  1. The eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth quarter review | 中国 Jumble - October 22, 2014

    […] Door to door service – talked about the convenience of a big city – the good and the bad.  I’ve had even more things delivered since this post – not having to carry them and getting lower prices is a strong incentive, but luckily I have not had any more visits from the police recently. […]

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