Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Post

The post round my way has often been a troublesome thing. A couple of years ago I had a postie who didn't even try to deliver parcels. I'd be in my kitchen making a cup of tea and I'd hear my letterbox snap. I'd wander over to the hallway to discover that there was a card saying "We tried to deliver a parcel but you weren't in" etc. etc. when clearly no such attempt had been made. I'd then have to wait two days before traipsing over to my local collection office to pick up whatever it was that the postman was too lazy to try and deliver. The collection office was a disorganised mess and often I'd have to return on another occasion because it could take over an hour to get to the front of the queue and even then there were times when they couldn't locate the parcel in question. Bah.
I even wrote a letter of complaint. But who knows if it was ever delivered? Another bah. That's two now.

But that wasn't the worst of it... I also had a postman-thief. I was contacted one day by some special Royal Mail Investigation Unit who asked me to confirm that a particular parcel had failed to arrive. I did. They had the parcel. It had been found in the flat of a postman alongside several hundred other unopened parcels going back months. I'd like to think that his crime had been uncovered through top sleuthing but as it happens he'd been stopped by traffic cops for some routine check and just happened to find a load of undelivered parcels in the boot.

Anyway, that was all a few years ago and things seem to have been sorted out these days. The service is much better. In that they deliver things and don't steal. What more could I ask for? Post before 11am? Now that's just fussy. The collection office is considerably nicer and more efficient than it was, too... I'm normally in and out in less than 10 minutes.

So, about a week ago while I was over at Genius HQ I got one of those cards telling me that they'd tried to deliver a parcel. As I'm working office hours at the mo', getting over to the collection office during their opening hours hasn't been possible until today. Today I was having the morning off because other commitments this afternoon made the trip to Genius HQ kind of futile.

So I duly scooted over to the collection office... to discover that there was a twenty strong queue in front of me. Damn. I'm guessing it's because of people sending Christmas presents and so on. I think a long Post Office queue might well be the first truly Christmassy experience of the year for me. Maybe it'll help me get into the Christmas mood for the Genius Christmas Special?

Anyway... I queued for 40 minutes to then be given my parcel. It contained four energy saving light bulbs. It had been sent by British Gas. I hadn't ordered them... they'd sent them as a thank you. Or a bribe. Or something. Anyway... they're very useful. Thank you British Gas. But it's a ten minute walk to the collection office and a ten minute walk back... so that's cost me an hour this morning... and all to collect something I didn't ask for and don't really want. Almost every bulb in my house is of the energy saving type already. I've never had to change one yet - they do seem to last forever. It might be ten years before I get to use my free gift from British Gas. Oh well, I thought, never mind.

Except that when I got back home I discovered that the postman had been... and tried to deliver a parcel... which I'd missed because I was at the Post Office collecting a parcel. I have no idea what this parcel contains or when I will be able to collect it. But that's basically another hour down the pan. Two hours of my life... for four lightbulbs. I'm not sure that's such a good deal.

I know I sound ungrateful when they're basically trying to give me some free stuff. But if someone stopped me in the street and said, "If you stand here for thirty minutes I'll give you a free lightbulb... make it two hours and I'll give you four." I'd tell them I had better things to be doing. Even if I was on my way to Lightbulbs-R-Us to be buy some lightbulbs.

21 comments:

Rich Pedley said...

On one occasion I stopped a postman after leaving one of the dreaded 'we tried to deliver...' cards - only to discover he hadn't even got the parcel with him!

Then there is the card that was dated 3 weeks ago, and if you didn't know they only keep parcels for 3 weeks - fat lot of good that was.

I should agree things are better, but our postman still tries to shove large soft packages through a small hard hole (erm...).

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

I had a thieving postie once, when I was in Uni in Leamington. Cost me a girlfriend, too. A girlfriend and a birthday cheque from a relative. Right now I'm probably more bitter about the latter.

Jonni said...

Gorman, I feel your pain!

I've caught my cheeky postman stuffing the card through the door when I'm blatantly in a couple of times.

Royal Mail do this thing now where you can have them bring your parcel to your nearest post office for 50p - but it's free over the Christmas period.

I feel a little dirty for passing this on, as I found this out from a piece of junk mail, posing as a Christmas card, from said delivery company.

Stuart said...

I too have had the card through the door when I've been in. In fact, recently I was working from home for the day, and had said incident happen. When I work from home, I sit in front of an upstairs window, clearly visible from the road, because that's where our computer is. Mr Postie, had to quietly open and close the gate on the way in and out, and carefully close the letter box (because we have one of those horrible snappy ones I hated as a paper boy not so many years ago, which make a racket when the close) to avoid being heard. He should be a ninja not a postman!

Anonymous said...

I has exactly the same thing - although the posty had written "bulbs" on the card he shoved through the door. This was extremely baffling as I hadn't ordered any bulbs, and I wasn't sure how he knew the contents of the package (unless he'd been planning to steal them, seen what they were, and then changed his mind!).

What's most bizarre is they claimed to be a "thank you" for British Gas customers, yet we get neither our gas nor electricity from them. Like you Dave, we already have energy saving bulbs throughout the house (except the kitchen downlighters, which have what appears to be a very rare size and fitting, and bulbs cost £7 each for the energy saving variety, versus a few pence for standard ones - would have been a much more appreciated gift if BG had sent those instead).

Wonder if I can get anything on ebay for them?

thriftymrs said...

Goodness I think I have been through just about everything you have mentioned. Including some fella with a black and white cat doing an bunk with my wedding dress two years ago.
I too have been in Post Offic collection office to collect a parcel. Early Christmas gift? A birthday gift, no-no the same as you lightbulbs. I expended more energy getting to and from the post office, standing in line for half and hour and opening the parcel than the lightbulbs will actually save.

As for them putting a note through the door without trying to deliver it in the first place. Our postie did the exact same thing the other day and even waved to me sat at my dining room table. Cheeky git.

Ok rant over.

Julie said...

Hi Dave - hopefully my parcel-based experience today will balance out yours. As I arrived home form work this afternoon my elderly neighbour poked his head around his gate and said 'I've got a present for you' and went back inside. As I waited at his kitchen door there was the gloriously unmistakable smell of a beef joint roasting in the oven. When he came back out with the parcel he'd taken in for me he smiled and said 'There you go, Christmas has come early for you'.

How wonderfully, perfectly nostalgically British was that??

Just lovely :)

Coercri said...

I had the same thing, why on earth the don't send a voucher for 4 light bulbs I will never know. At least I can then choose if I want them or not.

Abs said...

Yep, I've had the same experience too, with the lightbulbs as well. The Royal Mail are rubbish. In fact, so rubbish and anachronistic are they that I wrote a very long rant on my blog about them. In case you're interested, it's here: http://www.43things.com/entries/view/1241175

Thingyame said...

I too have had the free 4x bulbs from British Gas saying "Dear Customer..." even though I don't use them (hence the addressee being 'Occupier') but my postman simply left them by my front door for all passers by to see and also to get wet in the rain.
But I'm glad as my sorting office is around 6 miles away (no direct public transport either, so it'd take 4 buses in total for around 3 hours travel time) and I have had to go there enough recently for the "you were out when we tried to deliver.." cards which have also been delivered to me when I was at home - no doorbell ring, nothing. I guessing they chose not to bring the parcels with them and probably even fill the cards in before leaving the sorting office!
What a cheek, and they don't even whistle any more (or was that the milk man, whatever happened to him?)

Ali Taylor said...

About 3 years ago, when I was living in the area, I heard my letterbox snap shut, just as you described. Sure enough it was one of those cards telling me I had a parcel. I was working from home at the time, so possibly wearing a dressing gown and odd socks or something. By the time I got myself together and opened the door the postie was 3 doors down. I caught up with him chatting to another postie. It took me a couple of seconds to realise that they were stuffing post into a litter bin on the street corner. They hastily stopped and handed me my parcel, which turned out to be a returned showreel from a company with no intention of employing me. I can't remember why I didn't report the rogue postmen. I suppose it was all too surreal and I just put it out of my mind.

Elle said...

I wonder why British Gas have done it. Lots of people probably feel more annoyed by them now than they did before.
Very odd.

Anonymous said...

Do I take it you are actively looking for 'Genius' suggestions to reform the post office?

Nirst said...

I'm sure British Gas do so they can get some bonus points on the way to becoming a 'Carbon Neutral' company. A lot of companies do things like this so they can claim carbon neutrality.

Nick Lewis said...

This is really uncanny, as I too have recently endured a "We tried to del......" moment too. One of the postmen has taken to leaving undelivered parcels in our recycling bin... Hope he doesn't do this on Thursdays as this is bin collection day... Just imagine if we had been sent some free paper, it would be recycled before we even had the chance to use it! Not that is likely to happen anyway.

Alex said...

The can of worms (or should it be Pandora's Box?) has been officially opened.

Jude said...

The other day I had a card through the door saying someone had sent me something with insufficient (or in this case no) postage attached and I would have to pay the postage plus £1 to receive the item. I went to the post office and paid the £1.27 for the envelope. Upon opening, I discovered I'd paid £1.27 for a voucher worth £1 that my mum had sent me! At least I didn't queue for long so not too much of an inconvenience, but still mildly annoying...

Spoghead said...

Damn why I can't get free lightbulbs??!!

I stood in a queue at Lightbulbs'R'Us for 45 minutes the other day only to find out the guy behind me was working for British Gas and buying a nice set of four lightbulbs for a Mr D Gorman!!!

Damn you Dave!!!!

Chuckling my buttocks off

nez said...

LOL - Is that irony or what Dave!

I had the 4 lightbulbs as well. I don't think they fit any of my light-fittings though (that haven't already got energy savers in). I know I didn't have to go and collect them, but I honestly can't remember if they left them outside for me, or they squished them through the letterbox (in which case they might be broken anyway I suppose.)

Anonymous said...

If you go on the Royal Mail website you can arrange the specific day you want them to redliver (except Sunday) which they do for free. I get all my parcels redelivered on weekends this way because of the problems you have mentinoed.

Andrew Murdoch said...

We had a problem last year where anything resembeling a chrismas card had the site cut open, to look for cash inside. Forunatly none of my family were that generouse ;-)