Monday, 8 March 2010

Parcel Force - getting there, inch by screaming inch...

Ask anyone who knows me. Courier services over here tend to suck large - no, let's re-emphasise that - overwhelmingly large - lemons.

Parcel Force are a case in point. For the last few years, they should have been named Parcel FARCE, and a pretty sick joke it was too. None of their drivers could find my flat, let alone anywhere else it seemed, without the assistance of a GPS, map book, compass, knife, fork, spoon, and the obligatory bit of green string.

It was really really weird: The post office - sorry, Royal Mail - own Parcel Force. it's their baby, so to speak. They also run the Post Offices and Sub Post Offices (collectively, Post Office Counters Ltd), and the postal delivery service that's now known as "Royal Mail". Yet an arm of their business just couldn't find my flat. To say that this made my brain ache was putting it very mildly.

This all changed the other day. Although it didn't seem like it at the time...

I'd ordered something from the USA (doesn't matter what, it's not important, and as it was a pressie for someone, best I don't tell you what it was!), and was awaiting the tracing details from the supplier, expecting something like FexEx or UPS. To my horror, it was a USPS tracking number. Or, 13 digits from hell, as I have come to know those things.

So, I watched, every day, as the tracking regressed - I mean progressed.

Imagine my lack of surprise to find that they'd not only failed to deliver, they hadn't even left a note to say that they'd tried. That spoke volumes, based on previous experiences. At 13:24 I was out, at work, but one of my neighbours who was in all day confirmed that no-one even tried to call. She should know: She's in the flat at the entrance to my block, and can hear everyone who uses the buzzer entry phone system - it's rather loud, you see. Hacks her off no end at night after 10 pm when she's trying to get to sleep, but that's a completely different story...

Back to Parcel Force.

So, I call them that day, in the afternoon (I followed the tracking using mobile internet on my PDA Phone. Useful, that), and asked for them to either hold the package at Charlton for me to collect in person, or to deliver before midday the next day. They opted for the latter, so I gave detailed and easy-to-follow instructions on how to find the block.

Naturally, they failed to get there by midday. What a great big heaving hairy surprise. Not.

However, they did apparently find the block a few hours later, so that was a minor miracle in and of itself.

What they did next gobsmacked me.

Rather than taking it back to the Charlton depot, the delivery bloke left a note (through my front door's letter box - nice one, mate, someone obviously let you in, and she's got a box of chockies for her trouble now!), and left the package at a local sub post office, which saved me from having to undertake a bloody irritating 24 mile round-trip to Charlton via the south London rush hour car park (a.k.a. the A102(M) Northbound) and back the next morning.

I think they're learning, don't you?


'Course not.

They obviously remembered me from last time...

...And didn't want an irate punter at the front counter with the intention of ripping the arms off some poor sod and beating him about the head with the bloody ends, did they?

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