Consumerism being the raison d’etre of Western civilization, you can fairly presume the existence of a streamlined mechanism designed to siphon your bank account in exchange for the latest must-have piece of artfully marketed dolphin-choking, rainforest-denuding, ozone-thinning plastic. In my imagination I’m hoping for a steampunk aesthetic behind the mundane veneer, of pistons, steam and Gothic labyrinths of twisting pipes and meshing, rusty cogs. Of course it looks nothing like that. Boringly, it looks just like the front page of Amazon.com where frittering away your money has never been easier. Once they’ve grabbed your e-cash, however, the real world reasserts itself, sometimes with the triumphant salute of bright, brass horns, other times with the doleful fart of a punctured bagpipe. Because whoever actually owns the thing that you are buying has to now transport it physically across the city, state, continent or world to your door. Invariably, that means relying upon postal services and/or courier companies that employ that most unreliable and inefficient mechanism of all: people. Explain to me, please, the following: I type my address into Amazon.com (which spookily remembers it from last time), distinctly numbering my residential address with the numerals 55. That is, two fives side by side, which to any person alive on this blue-green planet means fifty-five. Not fifty-f*cking-nine. Not 59! So when the consignment note in the sweaty dipshit’s hand says deliver this parcel to poor unfortunate who lives at number 55, why would he/she/it drive past my house and stop outside number 59? It’s nice that the chromasomally-challenged can find work, but PLEASE not as the person driving the truck that delivers parcels to my house! Not only does the sheltered workshop we call ‘Australia Post’ takes five days to deliver a small parcel from one side of Sydney to the other, it then either fails to deliver it at all, or sends it to somebody else. If I can get a new pair of Nike’s from effing Milwaukee in three days flat, why can’t I get a new phone from Melbourne in seven??????? Yes, that’s seven question-marks! Bite me, it warrants every goddamn one of them! No wonder people go postal. I had a little rant at the poor guy from the Toll Express call-centre in Chennai or Delhi or wherever the hell he was. “Firstly, no, your name is not Trevor, and secondly, where is my f*cking parcel?” No, I did not swear at him, it wasn’t his fault, but holy hell I wanted to! And once you start, where do you stop? it would have ended badly, and me still without my parcel! I swear to Jebus, if pigeons were larger and slightly more robust I’d buy a few and invent my own, pirate postal service. It would have to be more efficient. Frisbeeing letters out the window on a windy day and crossing my fingers would be more efficient. Poking it into a bottle and throwing it into the f*cking Pacific would be more efficient! WHERE IS MY PARCEL!!!?