Tracking parcels is hard

Tracking a parcel across multiple services and through customs still seems to be one of the hard problems alongside printers and off-by-one errors. Today, I was able to pick a package up that had in in transit for about 10 days, coming from the UK, and with undetermined status up to the point of me writing this post (again: after I had already picked it up).

The sender had provided me with a tracking code for but under the hood the package went most of the way with DHL and inside of Austria with Österreichische Post (ÖPAG). Thanks to Brexit the package also had to go through customs were it was stuck for 4-5 days.

And this was also the point where the various parcel trackers started to diverge. In the end, I noticed in the DHL tracker yesterday evening that my package was supposed to be ready for pickup now, without stating, though, where. The tracker didn’t show anything after the parcel leaving customs and the tracker showed that the package was undeliverable with the last status being an unknown return from customs.

I then checked my physical mailbox and noticed that the postal service had left a physical pickup notice in there for the next day all the time while not having anything remotely close to that in their online portal.

This morning I now received the status update from that I could pick up my office. A couple of minutes later I did just that. And 12 hours later the online tracker from (in their app) still shows my package to be in transit… somewhere.

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