Sunday, October 08, 2006


Getting Grumpy With the Royal Mail

Richard and I haven’t had a good week with the Post Office. We live in a small set of flats, with eight households all sharing the same downstairs letter box and eight bells to ring if something’s too big to push through. Yet in one week we’ve had four different problems with whoever is delivering our post, all while we were in, all avoidable by just ringing the bell. I’m trying to work out just how many complaints to make, though Stephen Tall’s article about 14,185 complaints to the Royal Mail in his neck of the woods doesn’t inspire confidence.

It started last Saturday; I went down to sort out the post, and found something jammed in the letterbox. It was a package, a little wider than A4, in a reinforced card envelope marked ‘Please do not bend’ in large red letters. It was jammed because, rather than the deliverer pushing the bell, it had been bent nearly in two.

‘Please do not bend’. As if. Posted by Picasa

Whether in the process of bending it or in whatever threshing machines the Post Office had previously put it through, it was ripped almost completely open. There are various papers and pens in there, but I have no idea what’s gone missing from it.

Ripped open! Posted by Picasa

Whether it’s shocking incompetence or some hilarious conspiracy aimed at the contents – clearly labelled as from Republic, the campaigning group for an elected head of state – by MI5 or overly literal enforcers of the ‘Royal’ Mail, I neither know nor care. I’m just cheesed off that my property has been carelessly shredded.

I wouldn’t have gone into such a public grump, but on Wednesday morning, while I was sitting at the computer typing – a fairly quiet occupation, impossible not to hear the doorbell (we’ve recently had a new intercom fitted, and it’s rather loud) – someone, perhaps the same deliverer, who knows, decided to save a few seconds by cursorily filling out a ‘Sorry, you were out’ slip. In fact, they filled out two, which would almost certainly have taken more time than ringing the bell and getting me to take the parcels. They probably just filled out all of them for their round before setting off; that would explain it. I was in, I wasn’t deaf, and I was up – it wasn’t there when Richard left for work, so it hadn’t been a surprise delivery at 6am instead of about 11, while we were asleep. Yet still I found that I’d been ‘out’ when I went down for the post, and that I’d have to go miles out of my way to pick up something because whoever the Royal Mail sent round wasn’t doing their job, and this made me rather cross.

Particularly when exactly the same thing happened on Friday.

Sorry, I was in… Posted by Picasa

I’m off to Stockport this morning for a few days with that side of my family, so I won’t be online for a while. I’ll make those complaints on my return, as when we went to the main sorting office a couple of miles away yesterday morning to pick up our packages, I was told I couldn’t make a complaint in person. Of course not. Oh, and of course when I sorted through yesterday’s post there was another ‘Sorry, you were out’ slip there. Helpfully, it doesn’t have a name or number on it, so whoever the postie failed to deliver to can whistle for it, can’t they, when it’s pot luck between eight households as to whose package it was?

Still, we enjoyed Robin Hood yesterday (and the exciting Torchwood trailer following it), and no doubt Millennium Dome will have had a few things to say about it before I get back…

I think generally their service does leave something to be desired. And Holloway Road Sorting Office seems to be riddled with thievery - I have given up having anything vaguely resembling a DVD or CD delivered to my home since many's the time it's never turned up.

And I am convinced that they only bring the "sorry you were out" slips, not the parcel itself. To save the poor postman's back presumably.

That said, on one occasion the sorting office screwed up and a parcel I was supposed to be able to collect from them was stuck at another post office by accident. The guy on the desk had it taxi'd it to me within the hour and gave me his mobile number to ring if it didn't get there in that time which really threw me off guard.

They could do with more people like him.
Do you know when Torchwoord will e starting?
Our postie is excellent -- there have been a couple of items of mail that haven't had the right address on it. One piece just had our first names, and no house number, one just had one surname and no house number - and both got to us with no problems. Kudos, postie.
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