Royal Mail, bloody postmen, and delivery people!

Posted August 6th, 2009 by Rachel

This morning I went out. I was out for less than an hour, but during that time Mr Postie decided to come calling with a parcel for me. Now our old postman we had trained, but unfortunately he died last year. Since then we’ve had a string of different ones, and no sooner do you think you’ve got one trained, then they get replaced with someone new. Our old postman used to pop parcels and packets too big for the letterbox through an open garage window, leave them elsewhere somewhere safe, or leave them with a neighbour. If something needed signing for, more often than not he’d sign for it himself (presumably against the rules), which meant we didn’t have the hassle of arranging to have it redelivered, or make a special trip to collect it from the sorting office.

The post office keep telling us that their services are improving, but I’ve yet to see any evidence of that. If anything it’s going the other way.

A few years ago deliveries used to arrive early in the morning, invariably before work, but those days are long gone. Normally the “normal” post arrives between midday and 1pm these days, so you’d think if you’re in between those times you’d be safe to assume that you would receive even things too big for the letterbox or that need signing for when they arrived. Not so.

Waiting in for a delivery is fraught with dangers. Larger packets and parcels come separately by van rather than with the postman on foot. They can arrive any time between 7:30am (many a time I’ve found myself rushing to the door half dressed, or woken by the doorbell) and 7:30pm, as can the “normal” post. Normally the postman on foot arrives around lunch time, but we’d had deliveries as late as 4pm, and even once around 7:30pm!

They’re an impatient bunch too. On the front door we have a sticker that reads “please allow me time to answer the door” with the wheelchair symbol at the side of it. Though I don’t use a wheelchair, if I’m upstairs, my stairlift isn’t the fastest mode of transport to get downstairs, and even if I’m downstairs, if I’m sitting in my reclining chair with my feet up, I have to wait for the leg rest to lower before I can get out of the chair. One knock though and they’re off, and many a time I’ve arrived at the front door to find them half way up the drive or gone. It gets to the point that if you’re waiting in for a delivery, you worry that you might miss them if you nip to the loo! Similarly, having a bath or a shower or getting changed is problematic, and you find yourself every activity with waiting for the delivery in mind until it’s safely arrived.

Some delivery people also have a bit of a hard time reading delivery instructions. Recently I waited in all day one Friday for a delivery which never arrived. Eventually it arrived on the following Monday. The delivery guy claimed it hadn’t actually been delivered to their depot by the company until Friday evening, while the company claimed it had been sent to them on the Thursday evening. Of course the company weren’t contactable over the weekend, so I had to wait until the Monday anyway to sort it out. Then there’s the courier who can’t tell the difference between morning and afternoon.

When ordering online with Next you can specify whether you want delivery before or after 1pm, which is rather handy because at least then you’re only hanging around half a day waiting. The courier though has a bit of a problem with following these instructions, and invariably the package arrives whenever they feel like delivering it despite which option you’ve chosen.

Having said that, the speed at which some retailers deliver can be amazing. I once ordered something from Next one evening around 11pm, thinking it would be a couple of days before it arrived, but it arrived by 10am the next morning! Mr Amazon can be quite speedy as well, particularly if you use their “Prime” service, though I’ve known things using their standard free service to arrive at the same time as standard free delivery items.

In general though I think far too few companies and delivery companies offer the option of specifying a time-slot for delivery, or at least giving you an idea of when they’re going to be delivering. Having things delivered to an alternative address isn’t always an option. In the past I’ve tried to have things delivered to work if I’ve known a delivery’s going to arrive on a day I’m at work, but that doesn’t always go according to plan either. Working in a fairly large organisation, all the post’s dealt with centrally and then distributed out to the different departments, so you have to wait for it to be distributed to the department before you can get it. Even having things delivered to the main reception isn’t without problems. It used to be the case that if a parcel arrived for an individually named employee, you’d get a phone call from reception when the parcel arrived and you’d go and collect it from the main reception. No more though. Anything that comes via the reception gets sent off to the department, with the result that a couple of years ago it took me two hours to track down a parcel that had got lost between the main reception and the department. Then there’s the problem that my manager for some unfathomable reason insists on having all the team’s mail delivered to her and then she doles it out. When it’s going to arrive depends on when she manages to wander down to our office, and whether she’s in meetings or out somewhere or having a day off. It’s not unknown for things to land on your desk three days after they’ve actually arrived in the building!

There’s also the problem of which delivery address you can use. On eBay now with most sellers they’ll only deliver to the registered PayPal address. Recently when I was away staying with relatives and I needed an Amazon order to get to me urgently, I could only specify a new delivery address if I added a new credit card to my payment methods, which was apparently a “security measure.” As it happened, I did have another credit card I could add on to my account, but had I had only owned one credit card I’d have been stumped. If you get an item Special Delivery or Royal Mail Tracked and you’re not in when they try to deliver, you can’t then have it delivered to alternative address. *sigh*

Pages: 1 2

Be the first to comment on this post.

Post a Comment

Enter Your Details:

You may write the following basic XHTML Strict in your comments:
<a href="" title=""></a> · <acronym title=""></acronym> · <abbr title=""></abbr>
<blockquote cite=""></blockquote> · <code></code> · <strong></strong> · <em></em>

  • If you’re a first-time commenter, your response will be moderated.
  • If your response includes a link, it will require moderator approval.
Enter Your Comments:

Note: This is the end of the usable page. The image(s) below are preloaded for performance only.