Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Autoteile (Ανταλλακτικά)

I began making online purchases when I started buying books through Amazon, but these days, I don't buy so many because I now have an e-book reader, which means that books and documents, whether paid or free, are downloaded automatically, without the worry about delivery waiting times. I've never been tempted to see what e-Bay offers for this reason - I don't like that waiting time. And I don't believe that I really need to add to my family's material possessions so desperately - we could all do with less clutter.

But spare parts for my husband's taxi is quite a different story. We definitely need those. Sellers of spare car parts in Hania charge 2-3 times the price for a part, compared to the price the same article is sold on e-Bay. That's how I started making purchases on e-Bay. For my husband's taxi. Using e-bay.de. I'm using a German site for this, naturlich, given that Germany is the car king of Europe. The last time I used the German language was when I was travelling in Germany (20 years ago). Knowing nothing about e-Bay or cars, I decided to make my new experience an educational one: I could brush up on my German skills.

ArtikelbildDuring a recent storm, the left rear-view mirror of the taxi was broken. We found a suitable translation for this: SKODA SUPERB links spiegelglas. Up came a few items on e-Bay, some of which mentioned the word beheizbar. "Is that mirror heated?" I asked my husband, which shows how little I know about cars. I do own a (Korean) car, and have had it for over a decade, but it pays to be ignorant on some matters, in order to free yourself from having too many responsibilities. "Yes, it is", my husband confirmed. After ascertaining the exact car model, it was with great trepidation that we hit the Kaufen button, because we'd never done this before, the website was all in a foreign language, and we really didn't know if we were signing our life away. Although online translation tools do help, it still feels like an "It's all Greek to me" moment.

Hans off? Probably not! Vielleicht Hans wartet fur die Sonderangebote. Deutschland ist der europäische König des Autos, nicht der Sommer-Ferien.

After quadruple-checking the German with a translator tool, we placed the order and got this message:
Sie müssen nur noch bezahlen. 

Τα λαμπάκια μου ανάψανε. Did they know we were Greek? "Yes, I promise, I will really truly pay," I mumbled automatically. My husband said other things, similar to what Papoulias was saying recently. Naturlich, we obliged, as we have done on all counts just lately.

I waited a couple of days to see if I would get a reply about when the item would be shipped. No email was sent, so I wrote one myself asking about this:

Hello von Kreta
Konnen Sie mir sagen wenn das Spiegelglas gesendet wird.
Vielen Dank

I got an email quite quickly:

 Der Artikel wurde schon gestern geschickt.

It was sent the day after we placed the order. So we waited patiently for the item to arrive. But it seemed to take ages: over 10 days had passed and still no item. They sure know how to keep us waiting, I thought. But I was also thinking about something else: maybe the parcel wouldn't come at all.

So I wrote another message:

Hallo von Kreta
Ich habe das Spiegelglas noch nicht erhalten.
Es ist jetzt 10 Werktage, da ich für den Artikel bezahlt habe.
Können Sie mir bitte sagen, was ich als nächstes tun müssen?

Imagine my surprise when I found the item in my mailbox the next morning. 

Das Spiegelglas - sold by a German company, delivered from Poland to Greece.
I still had a chance to write another message, albeit hurriedly, on a happier note:

hallo noch einmal von kreta
alles OK mit spiegelglas
es ist heute gekommen
jetzt can wir uns zuruck sehen
vielen dank von sonnig chania

  If Europe without Greece is like a child without a birth certificate, then Greece without Europe must be like a homeless person or an orphan searching for its roots.

The company replied with a quick email, thanking me for the information. I suppose they must be pleased that I am now one of their satisfied customers, and they wouldn't be hearing any more Greek nonsense from me.

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