I’ve been carrying around these shoes since leaving San Francisco. They were delivered to my house a few weeks before I left, in a size much too large for my feet. This is my first foray into peer to peer delivery, yet another aspect of the sharing economy relevant to travelers.
I posted my trip to Spain on a few different sites, offering to carry small items for people in Spain who wanted to buy something in the United States and have it delivered to my house. I included a list of the cities I’d be visiting, though in theory I could have brought something and mailed it to anywhere in Spain and still saved the buyer money. The one connection I found was on PiggyBee. This guy needed new shoes and I was visiting his city and could deliver them.
The truth is, I only travel with a carry-on suitcase, so these shoes take up quite a bit of my luggage space. Because of my small luggage, carrying stuff for other people is low on my list of travel priorities. But in the interests of experiencing this delivery aspect of the travel-related sharing economy I decided to give it a try. On some of the websites you can earn money by delivering stuff, but on PiggyBee they focus on non-monetary rewards. The guy who wanted these shoes was offering transportation from the airport/train station (something I didn’t need), and also offered to put together a list of things to do in Granada (something I also didn’t really need). So I figured I was just doing this for the experience and generally as a good deed.
Because Granada is one of the last cities on my Spain trip, I briefly considered just mailing the shoes to the buyer from my first city in Spain. I mentioned this to him and he offered to pay postage and gave me instructions on how to do it. But in Barcelona I didn’t feel like going to a post office, and my suitcase had enough room to keep the shoes with me, so they’ve done a little tour of the country en route to their new owner.
I could have made off with this guy’s shoes and he would have had no recourse. PiggyBee just connects travelers and buyers via email, they don’t facilitate the purchases or offer any sort of insurance. So there was a significant element of trust in paying for shoes that were mailed to an address I gave him after just a few emails confirming my ability to deliver them.
This story has an even happier ending than just some shoes ending up in the hands of a runner who saved some money. A few days before arriving in Granada my home exchange host mentioned that we should get tickets to the Alhambra in advance because it sells out. So I went online to do that, and found that there were no tickets left for advance purchase. lt’s possible to get same day tickets, but you have to go stand in a long line at 7:30 in the morning, and it’s not a sure thing you’ll get one. So I sent a message to my shoe guy, asking if he knew any other way to get tickets. He said he’d work on it. When we met for shoe delivery he informed me that we had tickets for the next day and could just show ID to pick them up. Yay! This was definitely a win-win sharing economy transaction.