The waiting game

A watched kettle never boils, or so they say. Not that I’ve ever done any such thing, especially because all my coffees tend to be produced by a nice and shiny cappuccino maker rather than a traditional kettle. Or a coffee-shop, depending on circumstances. I am not even what you’d call a regular tea drinker – though I have been known to make tea for the simple expedient of warming my hands up. So there you have it, no reason whatsoever to use a kettle. This is not to say that I don’t empathise with whoever coined this particular, quaint idiom. On the contrary. I’ve been suffering from the “kettle-watching” syndrome for a good three weeks now. The reason? A distinct lack of parcel landing on my doorstep. Like most people nowadays, I carry out the bulk of my new purchases via online websites, which is wonderfully convenient – especially since the advent of Paypal facilities in Malta. Yes, I do remember the days when Paypal did not accept Maltese transactions and we actually had to use our credit cards whenever using sites like Amazon and Ebay. As you can imagine, this limited our website choices somewhat – you’re less likely to press click on the latest make-up being sold by some obscure site in China if you know that at the end of the transaction you actually have to expose those precious nine numbers. But happy days, Paypal is now available and our online shopping habits have increased dramatically. Which, like I was saying, is wonderfully convenient – were it not for the fact that our country still lags behind when it comes to expedited shipping processes. I don’t know about you, but whenever I buy something I tend to want it to land on my doorstep within, like, half an hour. Fine, maybe thirty minutes is pushing it two to four days sounds reasonable, wouldn’t you say? Now I’m very well aware that stuff from another continent (in this case the States) tend to take an average of two weeks, rather than two days. Which is why with my last purchase I clicked on expedited shipping – with this option, the package is guaranteed to arrive within two to four business days, I was promised. Fantastic, right? Within two days, the kettle watching started as I was hit by a totally untypical bout of optimism and figured to myself that since the promised target was two to four days, the postman would probably give me a cheery smile on the third day. No, I’m not usually this delusional but hey – I figured that this is the almighty power of USPS and Amazon we’re talking about. How wrong could I get it? Very wrong, as it happens. So wrong that as I write this I’m still waiting for the promised parcel to make an appearance. The order was placed on August 16, so you do the math. I’m pretty sure that by the time I read this nothing will have changed. For all those who constantly moan at our Maltapost services, you’ll be happy to know that the great public provider in the States is certainly no better. Maybe just a tad worse. I have filed an official complaint. I have worn out the USPS tracking option on the site. All to no avail – the parcel that’s on the fastest shipping option of all remains blissfully… in transit. To add insult to injury, the best feedback the seller could come up with was that I should give it “some more time”. Bah and humbug, says I. Only, of course, cliche`’s have more than an element of truth in them. If nothing else, the whole parcel debacle has shown me that hope is really the last thing to die. Which is why come three in the afternoon – official parcel delivery time – will find me on the lookout for any cheery postmen that might cross my path.

Darned watched kettles.

This blog appeared on The TV Guide (Times of Malta).



  1. dinkerson says:

    “A watched kettle never boils”? Hmm. Sounds like pseudo intellectualism.

    Ha ha! Well, you soft balled it in, so I had to do something with it. I’m really only joking. Don’t you think that much of the fun of buying is the anticipation of its arrival? Most often I’m so anxious for an item to arrive that I end up disappointed with the result once it thuds to a stop against my doorstep.

    • Nah, my kettle is very humble I promise :) But yes you’re quite right re buying online the anticipation is the best bit! Only, sometimes when you’re really keen on a particular item a 4 week wait can give you an ulcer in your stomach. Especially if you paid extra to get it delivered fast! Well, that’s one option I certainly won’t be using again.

  2. dinkerson says:

    I know, right? I too caught onto that scam. And I agree… the ulcers can be a significant downside.