lee shipping and globe bath+kitchen stink. the worst.
so our 111 boxes (22 of books; library listed, at long last) finally arrived from d.c., and i was too glad because my rainyseason shoes all in boxes, not having expected the shit to take so long. my feet been wet for weeks. it was supposed to take a month; we left april10 and boxes didn't arrive until june23, which told me something about lee shipping (out of baltimore) but i was too damn happy to think about all that, and since we ent buy no house to put our shit in yet anyway i wasn't worried about it taking long to reach. it going straight into storage, minus the few items we pulling out, like shoes, a few books, etc.
but the shit start before we even leave d.c. grims called lee repeatedly to set up the process. he asked during more than 1 phone call about pickup of boxes and what we had to do; they said just call and tell us when you'll be ready and how many and we'll pick it up, any day. we buy plane tickets for a thursday, call them the week before to schedule a wednesday pickup, to find out they only collect from d.c. on thursdays and didn't bother to say so any previous time he asked. we were almost screwed- told them we had tickets for thursday lunchtime so they agreed to collect bright+early thursday morning, hopefully leaving us enough time to clean up, grab luggage, and ride out (although i was mentally prepared to go to the airport stink, if necessary; leaving is leaving).
then wednesday, noonish, they call to say they can't pick up on thursday after all, and will be by in 4hours to collect our boxes. needless to say, we'd planned on finishing packing overnight and were nowhere near ready for this shit. grims managed to put them off until 6pm instead, giving us all of 6hours to pack all the clothes+kitchen+sundries. luckily we have unemployed friends, easily bribed with alcohol+grass. we all packed like fiends and luckily (for us) their truck broke down en route; they still pulled up with us still packing. we had enough boxes that grims+crew started loading while i finished the packing, and just barely got everything out in time, although we went from completely itemising every box (thankfully the books were among the 1st things packed so they got done) to just labelling boxes "clothes" and "dishes". but it got done and they drove away with our stuff, leaving us with the night to clean house, ourselves and ditch the last furniture pieces.
since we reach, we been calling to find out when our boxes will reach. after originally (while still in d.c.) saying that we'd fill a container, they then said while we called for weeks from trini that we almost filled a container so they were waiting for smaller loads to add, to fill it before shipping. i was vex that we were waiting because they didn't organise properly on their end, but since we don't have a house i couldn't really bend+screw too much. i even started to hope they'd take long enough that we'd have a house by the time the boxes reach, and only have to move that shit once from port to house, instead of twice, with a stay in storage somewhere in between. but they eventually said (not that they called us; we called them until we got an answer) june23.
then some random chick calls the house to ask about her container being shipped, and i realise lee shipping's sloppy enough that they accidentally(?) put my name+contact on some other client's shipment paperwork, instead of the receiving company's info. i spent the next couple weeks worrying how many other people out there have my name+address+digits, plus whether she'd actually get her shit or mine, and vice-versa...but i let that go to focus on june23...
now everybody in trini telling me that port authority will take forever and be unnecessarily difficult, so i preparing myself long time. i told my boss @ trinidad theatre workshop(ttw) that i'd miss a couple days work sometime shortly after june23, depending on when they said i could collect my boxes from the port. i called the receiving company on the morning of june23- not the one we were originally told it would be whose info was on our shipment documents, but some other company whose info was only given to me when i made the last call and they finally said it would arrive june23; no reason given by lee for the sudden switch- and they said the container wasn't yet "unstuffed" and they'd call when it was. i decided to call every morning until i got the answer i wanted, because by now, i lacked faith in anybody's competence. thursday morning they finally said it was unstuffed. we were to go to the receiving company that day, port on friday. since i'd had my boss, the friend with the truck and the friend who's storing our boxes on notice since monday, i was thrilled that we'd get it done by friday evening.
we went to the receiving company and were informed that we had to pay (after already paying for the shipping in u$) for the "unstuffing". they gave us a receipt and said to go to the port the next day. i asked whether i needed a broker and what i should take with me, if anything, and was told all i had to do was take the paperwork they gave me, and a broker wouldn't be necessary since it's all used household goods.
friday morning we were @ port authority by 7.15am. there was nobody to tell us where to go, and if i didn't ask some bredren we'd still be standing there like mooks, holding our paperwork, confused (not that getting the info actually helped, but i getting to that). bredren tell us we need to go to shed #10, and how to get there. we go, hand in our paperwork, sit in the room and wait. our name gets called by 10am and i start to get hopeful. they give us a receipt and tell us to wait to be called again. while we waiting, some sweaty dude with no uniform/identification to reassure us that he actually works there and isn't a hustler, tells us to come with him if we the ones with the 108boxes (yes 108, lee can't even count- our paperwork says 108 instead of 111, except for some pages which say 75, crossed out and replaced with 118- not a single page has the right number of boxes, in spite of their having tried 3 different totals). so we hesitantly go with sweaty dude, who hands us over to 'lance' and some customs officer who say they'll have us organised by about 2pm with the boxes gathered in 1 place to be checked by customs, but no, we can't leave in the meanwhile and come back, just in case. now, we hear they close for lunch from 11am-noon and customs closes for the day @ 2pm, so we suspicious one time. we anxiously wait back in the room like lance instructed, then sweaty dude comes back to say why we not waiting out by the cargo, and lance done forget us, so we should go to the cargo area and check for our stuff. we go back out, see our boxes, and decide to start our personal count since part of what port authority checks is that you have everything you should so you don't come back crying about missing shit later. they kick us out for lunch before we get all the way through, but we break, come back for noon and finish our count, happy to find everything there, although some dishes seem broken.
the bulk of the afternoon was waiting around for forklift dudes to move our 9palettes from the middle of the room to 1 end to get checked by customs. we finally get that done before 2pm so i go back to the customs officer and say we ready and he says "by 2pm" while others still telling me they close @ 2pm. so i board some other customs officer already on the floor and convince him to come to us next. he says go ahead and open all the boxes, he coming just now. i don't want to open them until we sure he'll get to us before he done for the day, so that our shit doesn't sit open in the port whole weekend. he comes back in about 15minutes and says yes, he'll get to us, so open everything. we open every box. we wait. he comes back and says, "alright, 1st i need your passport..."
you remember me asking the fucking receiving company what i needed to do/take to the port, right? well, i was/am livid. and i been home over 2months, of course, i don't walk around with my passport when i'm home. i offered my drivers license, dude said no. and we didn't have enough time to go home and bring it back. we'd been there since 7.15am, and nobody ever mentioned a passport. when he told us to open all the boxes, if he'd said "have your passport ready" i woulda run home for it while grims opened boxes. we waited around whole fucking day for him to need something nobody told me i needed to bring, even though i asked. but what really infuriated me was that while we were opening our 111boxes, several port authority dudes came by to maco, and each asked why we didn't get our own container. we said that lee shipping packed us into a container with others. when we told what we paid they said we got robbed, because lee charged us the cost of a full container, then squeezed in others who woulda paid lee something too. and since we had so many boxes, lee was supposed to tell us that we could pay for a 20' container all to ourselves, which woulda been delivered to our door without us ever having to go to port authority. so they took our $ for a full container, still collected $ from others they squeezed in while making us wait to ship our shit until the container was "full", plus inconvenienced us when we coulda skipped the waiting around whole day @ port authority bullshit, just to be told i have to wait until monday because of a damn passport nobody told me i needed to bring! i mean, i vex with the receiving company bitch who didn't tell me to carry a passport to the port, but more vex with lee who seem to have fucked us over repeatedly and not told us the truth about our options. i coulda had my shit come to my door, skipped the port and avoided the terror of knowing whole weekend that our opened boxes are sitting in port authority with the lcd tv and other items just waiting for somebody to walk away with them. yes, the port dudes locked them up, but really, should i trust anything right now?
lee shipping is the worst. don't ever use them. if you think you have no other options, drive a uhaul with your shit to some other place where you have options other than lee shipping.
and in keeping with the point of this post (telling everybody i know not to fuck around with lee shipping) i'ma finally do something i meant to do back in 2005- (for those still in the usa) globe bath and kitchen is also the worst. do not use gbk remodelling- they are horrible and incompetent. they were supposed to redo our bathroom during the last week of september 2005 while me+grims were both away and wouldn't be inconvenienced. instead, they never started the project while we were gone and didn't bother to call and let us know that. then, even though they were originally supposed to do it in a week, they decided they couldn't guarantee being done in that timeframe when they finally started the job, so we had to put it off until after a gathering we'd planned @ the house. they eventually came+finished by early november, a full month+change late, and did a shit job so that every time i used our "new" bathroom i saw more shit that we'd have finished better than they did, from tile to light fixtures, and for less $. plus, they didn't actually finish it- when we sold the house there were still important details promised that'd never materialised, like access to the shower pipes- i hope nobody ever has pipe problems in that house, or they'll have to break out the bathroom. but if they call, i'll tell them who fucked it up...
to close on a good note, though, i highly recommend gil painting. they're good, and fast, and pleasant, and affordable (again, d.c. metro area, but doing so well for themselves that gil says he has jobs as far as delaware). and cute, if that matters to you...