I know what I wrote way back when in August under my blog Leaving Home for Home. And while I still be in those central tenants of the idea of “home” as opposed to stuff in the physical world, I need to re-characterize my thoughts just a bit.
You see, our “stuff” has been castaway by our moving company Deseret Forwarding International. Please read below (the graphics are from the company’s website)….
“Mr. and Mrs. King,
I apologize for your shipment being so severely delayed, and unfortunately, I do not think there is going to be an explanation that is sufficient.
In meeting with my operations team today, and specifically our outbound coordinator Rachel Sigala, it appears that she mistakenly thought all 7 pieces moved on the original load plan that arrived to Okinawa on 9/24. We have gone back over our operations procedures in hopes that this type of mistake does not happen again.
I also spoke with our port agent to see how/why your shipment has sat at the port waiting to sail for so long. They stated that they had no other freight going to Okinawa, and as a result were not able to load your shipment into a sea container. They never did find enough consolidation in Jacksonville, FL, so they moved it to the port in Savannah, GA where they will have enough freight for the sailing scheduled to depart on 11/6 and arrive in country on 11/26. This is the soonest sailing that we are able to place your shipment on. We are not able to move HHG through the military AMC system (like code J shipments move.)
I understand that no reason is sufficient, and that your family has suffered a great inconvenience. I sincerely apologize for our lack of service in your case and for any feelings of neglect or abandonment. It is never the type of service we aim to provide to our customers.
I have attached our form with information on filing an inconvenience claim, and if you will send it directly to me, I will get it processed asap.
If you have any other questions, please let me know.
Deseret Forwarding International
So, given this change in our circumstances, certain “stuff” really can be sorely missed, and life can be at least, well, quite cleaner with certain items.
We had been holding out for our shipment. When a single crate arrived, the alarms bells should’ve been going off – and that very day I should’ve been on the phone tracking our “stuff.” But we waited, having faith in the system, the government, and the military. We assumed the shipment was split for whatever reason. We reasoned that the back-to-back storms on Okinawa delayed arrival of our goods or resulted in a ship’s re-routing. But alas, every check and balance in the system failed us.
So we’ve been doing without a vacuum cleaner. Two of the four drinking glasses we brought with us have broken. We have only the most basic kitchen supplies of a frying pan and a sauce pan or two, along with one small Pyrex baking dish and a tiny cookie sheet. No rice-cooker, no blender, no toaster (for which I would trade the microwave which we do have), no utensils, no coffee mugs, and very limited flatware. No iron or ironing board. We have very little cleaning materials. Only a single set of linens and pillows. No cool-weather or winter clothes. No furniture, no Blue Ray, no computer desk, none of our papers or files. No scanner or printer (sorely needed for work and applications). I have none of my pro-gear, which includes the vast majority of my scuba diving equipment I need to tech and dive out here; this is GREATLY affecting my earning potential.
But that stuff aside, it is still only a very few focused items that we find ourselves longing for. Our coveted “chair-and-a-half” and its accompanying ottoman which fit us as a couple like a glove and where we are able to decompress from the day’s pressure close to one-another. We would very much like to move the computer off our dining room table so that we can eat like normal well-adjusted adults. Lamps would allow us to read in bed in the evenings. A printer/scanner would update us to at least 1997. And our outdoor furniture would permit us to take full advantage of the panoramic views from our fabulous balconies now that the weather has cooled off and the humidity has dropped….
An X-Files word of advice to those moving in or with the military: trust no one. The military (which for purposes here is the same as the government) literally didn’t care when our shipment was late, nor were they willing to help or were they even able to track our shipment. We had to go through a moving Japanese moving agency here (who were extremely helpful), which contacted the shipping lines, who contacted our moving agency in the states…. Who ultimately simply dicked-away our household goods shipment, and then forget about our “stuff” sitting around a warehouse…or two it seems, nor did they inform us of anything adverse along the way. CHECK ON YOUR SHIPMENT when you move. No one is watching your back or protecting your interests; you are and remain your own best and sometimes ONLY advocate. We are both so very through with the military and this type of treatment. One would think with the hardships endured by the US Military that there would be more recourse or relief for situations like these. That is sadly not the case.
We started to buy essential supplies that will be billed to Lizzy and Deseret International. So, in effect, we went shopping tonight with someone else’s checkbook…but we did and will continue to do so in moderation and well within reason. Tomorrow I will be able to vacuum, clean the floors and toilets, and put away our new dishes and cookery. I have a wetsuit for the cooler weather and waters, along with a shiny new steel 80 cubic foot scuba diving tank so that I won’t be paying $10 in rental fees for every class and each dive. And that’s for starters…for now.
If you can empathize with our situation, and you’d like to help do something about it, drop Deseret Forwarding International and/or your local congressman/senator a note and let them know how terrible you found/find this/our situation. While Lizzy did a fair job “answering the mail,” she will never know the inconvenience she and her company have caused in our lives – until it happens to her. I understand bad things happen and mistakes are made, but it’s much too easy to brush them aside with a simple email and “so sorry;” in the end, we are nothing more than a bill of laden number to both this company and our own military and government that is already forgotten. And I have do doubt that the expense of our travel claim is already well-accounted for statistical in the company’s costs. In other words, this is nothing more than a cost in this case of their failing to do business.
And although we choose to find and leverage the humor in it all while still making the best we can of our qwuirky home and far east fling here in Okinawa, deep-down inside, we still feel like we were abandoned and castaway.
At least seven additional weeks to wait for our stuff….
It’s a good thing our “stuff” can’t share in such feelings. No one – or thing – deserves to be abandoned or be made to feel like such a castaway.
- Learning About Cargo Shipping (internationalfreightshipping.wordpress.com)
- Typhoons: a Divinely Okinawan Experience (fareastfling.me)