At the beginning of October my wife and I took a trip to Belgium (which I’m in the process of writing up in a post for here). She was there on business while I was flying out to meet her after her work was finished and we were going to spend the next week traveling around the country.
I will not lie: my main reason for going was the beer.
I love Belgian beer. I’ve been a fan of it since my friend Brian handed me a tankard full of Maudite (yes, I know Maudite is from Canada but it’s a Belgian-style) one night after a day working a faire. Since then I’ve tried Chimay and other trappist brews, lambics (which I’m not that fond of), and all other manner of Belgian and Belgian-styled beer. Being able to go to the country and try it there, plus trying beers from Belgium that I’d never have a chance to get in the US, was really appealing to me.
Most appealing of all was the chance to try Westvelerten. Westvelerten is a trappist monastery that brews and has been called “the best beer in the world” by many. Now, whether or not that’s due to Westvelerten’s rarity, as it’s primarily sold in very limited places (mostly in Belgium) in very limited amounts (to buy it you pretty much have to call ahead of time to order it), or because it is actually that good I don’t know, but trying this beer was one of the five main things I wanted to do while on this trip.
And I did. And it was good. And I bought beer. One hundred and sixty-seven euros worth of beer. And then paid that much in shipping to send it back.
And now two of my three boxes of beer, including the one with my bottles of Westvelerten, are lost in limbo.
This displeases me.
One box made it to me just fine, flying through customs and arriving in California in about a week and change.
From what I can tell one box made it into Customs and then made it through. Then USPS took control of it and promptly screwed up in a fit of incompetence that I find a little startling. They somehow managed to misspell a six-letter street name, which of course was returned as an invalid address in their system, and then some jack ass said my contact information was incorrect despite the woman I spoke to on the phone reading my phone number back to me perfectly. I’ve had to open two investigations with them to find out where the hell that box of beer is and I have to wonder if some tool took it, drank it, and they’re covering it up in the system by making it unfindable.
The third box is stuck in Customs somewhere and the ever helpful US Customs has ZERO way for a normal citizen to call them and find out what the hell is going on. I had to spend half an hour on the phone with the Belgian post office (who have been nothing but polite, professional, and helpful, not to mention very patient with the fact I only speak English) to have THEM contact US Customs to open a “WTF mate” investigation.
All I want is my beer. Give me back my beer, you beer stealing* jerks.
*I don’t actually know if someone stole my beer but, considering my luck, it wouldn’t surprise me.