Monday, February 28, 2011

'The Suck'

Today sucked. More than yesterday. I'm not saying life sucks and I would rather be dead, but I am feeling drained and cranky as hell. The only consolation is that I'm sharing the feeling with about 350,000 other people, a number of whom I had eye contact with today as I made a 20 minute delivery that took an astounding four hours. At least the customer I got to meet was awesome. ;)

Many people went back to work today, which is great for a sense of normality but hell for traffic, which moves at a snails pace around a reduced number of roads, nearly all of which have damage. For the forseeable future, in this topsy-turvy new Christchurch, the long way is actually the short way. In addition, for our driving pleasure, in todays baking temperatures the liquefaction has begun to dry into a fine dust that I could feel skimming my arm as I tried to cool it in the flow of what passes for air-con in my 1992 Honda. About 40% of the traffic lights are out and traffic control is entirely a matter of driver politeness. So it was four hours of enforced detours, standstills, scary intersections and gagging on earthquake dust, while secure in the knowledge that any shower awaiting me at home would be cold. All of this though, only put me in a mild grouch.

Crying with relief to finally lay (gritty) eyes on my own front door, I poured a well-deserved but not too substantial vino and checked my email and the news. One of the updates involved my local supermarket, St Martins New World, and this is where The Suck really started to settle in. Sadly, the update stated that my favourite shop spot would not be reopening as it is damaged beyond repair. :( This is a terrible thing for my local community. Some people around here do not have cars and rely on a supermarket within walking distance. The complex also holds the Post Shop from which we send all the Sana orders, the only close pharmacy and a bank. There is an undamaged coffee-shop, hairdresser, accountant and childrens toy shop directly across the road, but who is going to want to drink espresso while looking at the ruins our once vibrant shopping centre? The staff in these buildings, and some of the customers, were like friends - from checkout clerks to the super-knowledgeable 'wine guy' to the intellectually disabled trolley guys that followed me to my car, unloading my shopping and returning the trolley to the trolley-bay before I'd even started the engine. It was always buzzing, the hub of the community.

St Martins was also the best supermarket in Christchurch, particularly for a nutbar like me. It was the first to have organic food of any kind and pioneered organics in supermarkets. When I lived in Cashmere I used to drive quite some distance to shop there, and when I moved in with The Programmer, I counted myself lucky to be within easy walking distance. New World is not my only fave shop. The others I use weekly are Opawaho - currently partially functional due to it being in the shadow of an enormous broken church that is in imminent danger of falling over (i.e. you can shop in half of it, the rest is roped off with a brave captive assistant to run around and get what you ask for) , Piko - their perfect veges and selection of organic wines housed in a truly beautiful old building which is now mostly a pile of beautiful old bricks, and The Liberty Market, which I am unsure of the status of. I saw the building from one side today and it looked sound, also the website message looks promising. Thank goodness my butcher is all good to go or I'd be ready to sit down and just bawl loudly. I love my hunting and gathering.. well, the gathering part.

It may seem strange that, as regards property wreckage, it is the demise of this not-particularly-picturesque shopping centre that has affected me the most. Up until 12.51pm last Tuesday, the previously mentioned Post Shop there was an essential part of the Sana Direct ritual of daily dispatches. It was never crowded, and the manager and women that worked there know me by sight and I'm sure were quietly amused with the daily goings on of those crazy Sana Direct people. I accidentally dropped some cacao beans once and they knew who to give it to when I came in the next day. I don't know any of them personally, not really, and it makes me sad that I may never see them again or know if they are ok. The buildings and carpark are a mess. There is heaps of liquefaction, but worse than that are the hills that have pushed up in places where the liquefaction did not break through. The supermarket has hills in the aisles. Not a problem to me (shoppercise!), but I'm not sure the trend would catch on, especially if it meant the roof was more likely to fall on ones head in the wine aisle. The supermarket is the biggest personal inconvenience (I can't use the word 'loss' when some have experienced the death of a loved one) but from a business point of view, it's the sudden disappearance of the Post Shop that requires the immediate implementation of a previously non-existent Plan B. Today I have begun the process of deciding what to do about dispatches, which is primarily the part of the business that I deal with directly (the rest I mainly 'organise', which some call 'bossing around').

This morning I decided to drop around to the next closest functioning Post Shop to ask about status of deliveries and to send some product, if I could. Bad idea. The dust and road damage in that area is intense and the queue of people with things to send went out the door and down the road, so I just kept driving, out of town and all the way the Halswell - say 30 minutes away. Out there it hardly looks like a quake zone and the Post Shop was quite calm. The assistant explained to me that all mail should have been retrieved from the closed Post Shops, and that she didn't hold out hope for the reopening of the St Martins store. However, it was great to hear they had today cleared their backlog and that deliveries out of Christchurch are now running pretty much on schedule. Therefore, Sana customers, any items you are anxiously awaiting will be a matter of days away, and I thank you for your patience. Also, let it be known ("hear ye, hear ye!") that Sana customers and blog readers (customers or not!) are the best people in the world. The fact that you have kept ordering and/or emailed in droves to ask how we are just proves it. I can't even express how grateful we are to you all.

In terms of the long term, it's not practical to be driving to Halswell every day. We will probably revert to our previous system of using a courier that does pick ups (once the roads are passable to trucks) - the only problem with that being that the couriers either do not make rural and Post Box deliveries or charge a hefty supplement for them. The only one that does not charge extra for RD and PO is CourierPost but they are also the most expensive generally; oh, the eternal dilemma of trying to get the best deal for everyone!. What I envisage is using a courier (probably PostHaste which have a depot close to the dispatch centre) for most deliveries daily but still sending RD and PO deliveries from a Post Shop, but less frequently, maybe twice a week. Any feedback on this idea is appreciated. I just need to get it sorted out quickly, and it certainly isn't something that was on my 'to do' list before last Tuesday.

So, that was MY day. I hope yours was 1000% better and lacked suck. Tomorrow I'll be posting about why I'm not currently on a plane and getting the frak out of this shaky place. Then you can make up your minds about whether I have managed to hang onto enough of my sanity or not! I keep expecting Kek to turn up my doorstep to stage an intervention. I'm sure, if it wasn't for the distinct chance of earthquake, she probably would because she is just great like that. Over and Out.

1 comment:

  1. I would so be there in a flash armed with wine, chocolate and hugs, if it weren't for the tendency of the ground to heave and shake.

    Sorry to hear your day was full of fun-sucking. Hope tomorrow's much better.



I love to hear from you! Tell me what's in your brain, your heart or your dinner plate :D.