The seller of the disembodied Marr Jag lives in New Jersey, in the USA. That meant everything I’d bought would take around two or three weeks to arrive and would have to pass through UK customs.
I’m not a very patient person by nature, so all-the-waiting was never going to be easy. But I had tracking numbers from the US Postal Service which meant I could keep track of their progress. But that was interesting up to a point; I didn’t even know there was a Jamaica in New York.
The business of logistics and delivery is pretty slick and efficient, thanks in no small part to the exponential growth of online shopping over the last 10 years or so, and the growth in cross-border trade. Just a few hours after seller handed over one of the parcels of guitar bits to the US Postal Service, it was on its way and already in a different State. All things considered, taking less than a week to get from the US to the UK seems pretty quick to me.
That’s when it all started to slow down and go a bit wrong though.
I had been issued with tracking numbers for each of the three consignments (body, neck, everything else) of #MarrJag parts, and was checking on their progress regularly (see earlier comment about being impatient). Along with being able to see what progress they’d made, I was able to see an estimated date of arrival – usually a range of dates.
Imagine my surprise, then, when one day the tracking system showed the word ‘delivered’ against one package when nothing had actually yet arrived.
A day or two later I received a card in the post informing me that there were import duties due to be paid on something that had come from the US. I went online and paid it. Thing is, the reference number for the customs charge bore no resemblance to the tracking number, meaning there was no way of knowing which of the three packages it referred to.
The next day, I got another card… same thing, but different amount. I went online and paid that.
And then I waited.
After about three days, the package that had supposedly already been delivered was finally delivered. It was the everything else parcel, and I carefully unpacked and examined the pick-ups, switches, etc. Everything was there, everything was fine.
Not long after that, the body arrived. It too was fine. A few more dings on it than I had been expecting, but that wasn’t a problem.
Three weeks then went by with no sign of the neck anywhere. According to the tracking system it was being processed by UK customs. I had visions of it having been lost, or irreparably damaged.
At this point, I realised just what a stupid idea this had all been. Had the everything else box gone missing the whole project would have died miserably. The lack of a neck would be similarly unhelpful.
Eventually a card appeared … more customs charges to pay. I was into three figures at this point.
I went online to pay and arrange delivery, when I noticed my address was incorrect. Instead of ending with a 5, the house number now ended with a 6. The house that corresponds with the incorrect address doesn’t even exist and the spot where it should be is about half a mile from my house. Had I not noticed, the parcel would have been delivered to a non-existent house where no one would recognise my name, put two and two together, etc.
The staff at ParcelForce (the delivery company) were great, thankfully. Checking the address, calling me back, and so on. So, the following day I finally had all three consignments.
The neck had been packed into a tube – the kind you might use for a rolled up poster. It was well packed, wrapped in bubble wrap. In fact it was a very snug fit. When I removed it, it became clear that being in a tight space hadn’t done it any favours – one of the tuning machine heads had been damaged and was no longer functioning properly.