Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sea Lift

So before this post dissolves into another rant (and the rant is coming, kids. Just hold tight for a moment) one nice thing before I become Ranty Boy again. We had Jordan and Stephanie up for supper earlier the week, which was nice. A few schemes for Nunavut blogging domination were launched, but mostly it was supper (which wasn't too bad, if I do say so myself) and conversation. It was a nice evening.

I think we're going to try and do this kind of thing more often...having people over for supper. I have a friend in from Baker Lake who is going to be here for several weeks, if not months, so we'll have him here just so he can have a home cooked meal, rather than something from the Storehouse.

And at some point I really need to fire up the Wii or open up that Settlers of Catan that I bought earlier the year and have a few people over the play. We'll see how it goes.

Now, back to Ranty Boy. Because as I learned back in my university days, Ranty Boy has his fans. Apparently a good rant by me was normally worth the price of admission. Granted, I never charged anything, but still...

Back in June we put in our sea lift order. Nothing new about that, it's about the same time we do it each year. Our order isn't huge, probably around $3,000, but it does have stuff we need and don't want to be buying up here if we can help it at all. For the last few years we've done our sea lift through NorthMart. The big pro for them is they deliver your order right to your door. We live on the third floor of an apartment building, so I'm glad to have someone else drag a couple of dozen cases of pop up those stairs rather than me.

Plus, it also means our sea lift is not sitting on a beach. Our first year up here the wooden box containing our sea lift was broken into and half the contents spread out on the beach. The people were looking for booze. They caught them, but I never did hear anything back on if we wanted to press charges.

Anyway, so NorthMart seems like a good deal. The downside being if you get bored with what's on their shelves, well, your order is going to contain much of the same things.

However, as we're discovering, there's another downside. And that's NorthMart's inability to get us our damn stuff on time. Last year it was supposed to have been delivered to us in late August, but didn't get to us until late September. Annoying, but all right.

This year it was supposed to have been on the July 26th sailing. Give it 10 days for the boat to get here, two weeks for NorthMart to sort everything out and we should have received it by the end of August.

Except there was a delay in the boats, so the boat was sailing later. When we checked on our order in mid-August, we were told it would now likely be late September before we got it. Again, annoying, but that's the way things happen with ice sometimes. We were going to have to buy some things to tide us over until the lift arrived.

Cathy went and checked earlier this week to see when our order would be delivered. Ooops. Seems there was a problem and our order didn't make it on this boat. It's now on the October 17th sailing, which means it will now be the first week of November when we get it. Maybe.

Two months later. Here's the catch, by the way. Last year at least one boat didn't make it to Iqaluit because it was too late in the season and the ice closed in, making it impossible to off-load cargo. It really screwed up some construction projects up here, which were counting on it.

So yes, it's entirely possible that ship could run into ice and not off-load, meaning we won't get our sea lift. At all.

Now, that's insanely frustrating. And when Cathy was told that news she certainly reacted the way many would in that situation, which is not to be very happy about that news. As best I can figure, the store then gets a bit huffy because we're upset by this turn of events. Yes, they said we could get some stuff from our sea lift from their store to tide us over. I appreciate that.

However, the following things annoy me right now:
1. That something which was supposed to have been shipped on July 26 will now be shipped nearly three months later. That means it's sitting....somewhere during all of that time. I dread what kind of shape it's going to be in once it gets here.
2. The shrug-your-shoulders "Oh well, it's not our fault" mentality at the store. You know what, if you can't run a sea lift and have customers' items get here in a timely fashion, get out of the business. It's your job to make certain what we order gets here in on time.
3. The realization that when the products get here, odds are we're going to have more fights about damaged items or stuff that's expired.

Perhaps it's just the mood I'm in today...after four years of living here, you would think I'd have built up a certain immunity to the "Oh well, it's the north" attitude. However, you can reach a boiling point and I guess the handling of this year's sea lift is putting me over the top.

It's all but certain we won't deal with them next year, especially if we have a house. It's a nuisance to run to Ottawa and buy a bunch of stuff and have to get someone to pack and ship it for us. But clearly if you want something done right, NorthMart's sea lift isn't the way to go.

Last Five
1. Go easy - Ryan Adams and the Cardinals
2. I guess that's why they call it the blues - Elton John
3. Deep red bells (live) - Neko Case*
4. Well worn hand - Editors
5. Leisure suite - Feist


Jordan~Stephanie said...

thank you again for the lovely meal :)
i will return your tupperware asap because needless to say, the cheesecake didn't survive longer than a day.
next time dinner is on us!

Jackie S. Quire said...

Yah, I know what you mean. I had similar nightmares last year, but no where near as bad.
It's that "so what?" mentality that just broke me down after awhile in Rankin. I think that very fact that you feel ranty about it still is a good thing: it means you have resisted the urge to join the droves who just shrug their shoulders when things are outrageously unfair.
I'm not saying over-reactions are a good thing, but someone speaking up and saying "hey, this isn't right" was a rare thing when I lived there.
Ah well.
And I say the north mellowed me out. Yah right!

Morena said...

We do ours through I Shop 4 U and love them. I don't know how the service charge compares to Northmart but they are quick, efficient and great to deal with. They will also go to any store you want so you aren't restricted to a list of food. Ikea, Walmart... think of the possibilities.

Aida said...

thanks for the heads up, unfortunately its the same thing in Arviat. we are probably going to go the "down to ottawa and get stuff ready" for next years sealift.

Anonymous said...

The entire sealift went missing from Igloolik, Hall Beach and Repulse. Anything sent on NEAS, for the hamlets, stores, construction, not here.

A lot bigger issue when there is only one or two ships that come in.

Jason on Igloolik

towniebastard said...

Anon, is this the boat that had difficulties and is adrift or did they actually forget to load stuff for entire communities?

One other lesson about the north. Whenever you get annoyed with a problem you're facing, it's a sure bet that someone else is dealing with the same thing, but in a much worse way.

Jordan~Stephanie said...

Dinner was fantastic!

Domination is inevitable . . .

T.B. has one of the greatest iPod's outside of my own!

These facts and more, all brought to you by the Command Centre of Northern Blogging.

IQALUIT . . . Building: B.L.O.G.

Anonymous said...

Yep, the ship is the Avataq, was drifting for a few days, then in Salluit for a couple of weeks.

As far as not loading stuff, it happens every year in every community, you never know until the boat is unloaded what was left behind (or unloaded in the wrong place). "Sorry, next year, how will you be paying for the storage fees" is the usual answer from the shipping companies.

As a point, this would apply to all goods coming here, not just from the Northern. I work for the store, and get the same info that everyone else gets, and do not own or operate the sealift boats. I have a lot of irate people in town because (if it comes down to it), I am not going to pay the freight to fly in orders from TSC, Shop4U, but will for the ones from the Northern. "That's between you, NEAS and the company you purchased your dog food from" is not the answer I like to give, but it is the answer. It seems to usually be about dog food, at $3.50+/lb to fly in, with 1600lbs of it for myself this year, I understand why.

There are some houses and trucks(for the Hamlet, RCMP, etc) that will not fit inside any planes that are more important right now than the dog food.

Jason in Igloolik