One little package….

I’m feeling the need to get something off my chest. Usually I am very impressed with how Royal Mail quietly gets the job done. However this time they have managed to totally piss me off.

I arrived home from my latest Atlanta trip on Wednesday 5th January. I discovered a little red “sorry you were out” card on the pile of post, indicating that my postman had tried to deliver a package requiring a signature on Tuesday 4th January.

On Thursday 6th January me and The Moog got home from work and discovered a second little red card saying his parcel was too large and had also been returned to the depot for collection. So we drove up to the Oldham depot and The Moog handed his little red card over and received a large box containing an AT-AT. I handed over my little red card and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally the little lady came back all apologetic and said that my package was still at the main Manchester sorting office. She gave me the direct number for the Oldham depot and told me to call and check.

On Friday 7th January I called the number she had written on my red card and was told that my packet was now available to be collected. Various fates conspired to keep me from the Oldham depot until, on Thursday 13th January, me and the Moog headed back to the depot. Me with my 9 day old red card and the Moog with another red card for another parcel that was too big and had been left on Wednesday 12th. I hand my card in first and wait. A second person comes to help the Moog and the Moog hands his card in, and I wait, The Moog gets a large parcel containing a snow speeder and AT-ST. I get a tubby bald guy telling me that not only can he not find my parcel but it isn’t even at the depot it’s still in Manchester. At this point a lady enters the depot with 2 small children which had the benefit of helping me keep a civil tongue in my head.

Tubby bald guy can’t tell me why I was told my package is still in Manchester and when asked why it is still in Manchester he tells me they have a back log from Christmas.

Christmas was 3 weeks ago and let’s be honest it arrives the same time every year.  You would have thought that Royal Mail might have begun to anticipate a Christmas rush given that they trace their history back to 1516 and Henry the VIII. That’s 493 Christmas posts. Time enough even for a behemoth like Royal mail to get it’s collective head round the idea of maybe a slight rush towards the end of the year

As there are small children present I manage to keep my rant at the hapless, tubby bald guy to a PG13 minimum but I do not understand why a package which was posted on 28th December and delivered on 4th January has not managed to get the 9 miles from the Manchester sorting office to the Oldham depot in the 10 days since. I cannot get the package redelivered to the office because it’s out of the Oldham area. The fact that it’s just as easy to get it from Manchester to Ashton as Manchester to Oldham is apparently irrelevant. I have to wait until the mystic postal fairy’s whim falls upon my package.

Tubby bald guy can’t tell me when the planets may align and my magical package from the beyond will materialise. He takes the office telephone number though the fact my telephone number doesn’t begin with 07 seems to confuse him. It doesn’t bode well.

The Moog drags me out into the car park and laughs at me all the way home as I rail and swear.

The next Monday I call Oldham sorting office not with any hope or optimism that they would have my parcel, but from some kind of deep-seated masochism to see just how bad I could make my Monday. I was pleasantly surprised. The lady I spoke to was polite and efficient; she told me that the people I had spoken to were wrong to tell me my parcel was in Manchester as actually they have no idea where it is. She also told me that my parcel was so delayed that I should call customer services and gave me the number. Of course she gave me the wrong number but stacked against the ongoing aggravation it’s a minor thing.

The next day I phone the 08457 740 740 number and I am immediately met with an array of press 1 for choices. After a few choices I reach the point in the telephone menu where it would like my personal details. So I repeat my post code after the tone, and my house number, and confirm my address and then say my name after the tone. The automated telephone system says “I’m Sorry I didn’t catch that can you repeat your name” So I repeat my name. 5 times. Then spell my name. 5 times. Clearly this telephone systems voice recognition is not top of the line. I get through to a chap called Peter, who sounds very harassed. Which I think is probably an occupational hazard if you work on a customer services helpline. Particularly one which has trapped already miffed people in an automated voice hell for the best part of 15 minutes before they even get to speak to a human being.

I explain my situation to Peter in a calm and orderly fashion – leaving out my rant about Henry the VIII and anticipating Christmas and managing not to wander off into mystical postal fairy whimsy. Peter says to me “OK I’ll contact Oldham to find out if your parcel is there” I explain – AGAIN – that I have already tried this but Peter tells me it all has to be done “officially” I bite my tongue and accept my reference number and manage to not sigh when he tells me it will probably be 2 working days before I get a response.

Imagine my surprise when the very next day I get a call from my new pal Peter at the Royal Mail Customer service line. He sounds really happy. “I’ve got a good result to your complaint – a really great solution” I find my optimism cautiously turning it’s head “Oldham are going to look for your parcel”. My optimism rolls it’s eyes and goes back to sleep. Oldham Depot are going to look for my parcel. That’s not really a “solution” is it? A solution would be – “we’ve found your parcel and it’s ready to be collected”. Looking for my missing parcel would be more of a half-assed plan than a meaningful resolution to my problem.

Today I tried to call Oldham depot again. No answer.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. @silverytigress
    Jan 24, 2011 @ 16:44:13

    I empathize. It sounds like the downhill spiral has begun since the cut-backs alas : (


  2. Trackback: One little package… The Saga continues « Bubblechog's Blog

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