Monthly Archives: December 2014

SHOW & TELL – your chance to share your work with others

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decorated fantasia spinning wheel

decorated fantasia spinning wheel

I just got an ‘annual report’ from wordpress on this site, and the most visited pages are the SHOW & TELL FEATURES – especially the one on decorating KROMSKI’S FANTASIA SPINNING WHEEL. Click here to see it.

I love the idea that something posted over a year ago is still getting visitors and inspiring others.  There are several other SHOW & TELL posts – to access them, please see my new SHOW & TELL ARCHIVE PAGE.

I have constantly asked my customers to contribute to this feature, but somehow they are either too shy, or too busy,or feel its too much work!  Please don’t  let that put you off!  I will publish all contributions, whether you are just starting up or a professional – tho’ I reserve the right to edit your contribution slightly – and will give you a chance to publicise your work and for others to contact you if you want them to.

There is no time limit on this – just send me something any time you feel like to julz@julzweaving.plus.com, OR fill in the form on the CONTACT ME PAGE Please include as many pictures as you want, with some brief paragraphs about yourself and your work. Whist this opportunity is specifically for my customers, past or present – and future – I would also be interested to hear from people who just have something they’d like to share, and if its relevant in any way, I will put your contribution up too.

If you’d like to look at my current stock, please see the right hand column, underneath my photo, where the personal links list all the sites I sell on –  clicking on these links will give you a chance to browse. I am also aware that you may not currently be registered with any or all of these sites, and to make it easy for you to order at any time, and especially when you want to order various items spread across the sites, you are welcome to put in an order direct.  Please have a look at the BUYING DIRECT PAGE at the top of this blog.

HAPPY NEW YEAR – Hope to hear from you soon!

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WHY ROYAL MAIL IS LOSING OUT TO THE COMPETITION …..(£2.78 versus £11.99)

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OK – I’ve got a bit of a bee in my bonnet about Royal Mail at the moment – I was always against privatising it – and the privatisation process was botched, what ever Lord what’s his name has just announced in his parliamentary review!

white merino

100 gm of white merino tops/roving

As I post quite a lot of parcels, I have been very irritated over the past year at the changes Royal Mail have made to the cost structure.  They have restricted the sizes and increased the rates.  That’s actually meant that, as I sell quite a lot of wool in fibre form – for spinners to make into yarn – I have had to change the way I sell it.  I used to be able to stick it into a plastic bag, in its natural “ball shape” and go down to the post office and pay £2.20, if I remember rightly, to post whatever size it was, and I could send up to 750 gm for the same price.

a pair of carders used for preparing wool for spinning

a pair of carders used for preparing wool for spinning

That doesn’t mean I wasn’t annoyed when another of my popular items – carders for spinners – happened to sometimes weigh under 750 gm and sometimes just over 750 gm and I could never tell what bit of packaging made the difference! (About another pound or two in postage costs!)  Customers would get annoyed when they thought I’d overcharged them postage, and I’d be miffed if I’d set the price too low and made a loss!

When they changed the small parcel rate to 1 kg for £2.80 (2nd class), I no longer had a problem with the carders, but the wool ‘roving’ was a nightmare, as the box size was only 8 cm high.  That meant I could only send balls of wool for the medium parcel rate (£5.20) and tried every which way to avoid this, as sometimes the cost of the wool was only £3.

I tried to flatten the parcels, even bought a food vacuum machine, but the wool was either too compressed or not compressed enough.  I tried selling smaller amounts so I could fit them into the large letter rate,  which was fine for very small amounts, but if the letter was just over 2.5 cm thick, I then had to pay small parcel rate anyway!  (They put everything thro the size slots at the post office!)

Recently they have increased the height of a small parcel to 16 cm – for me that means that I can now post the 100 gm balls of wool, but not the 200 gm balls, cos wool is springy and however hard I try to tape it all up, it parcel seems to grow on my way to the post office – smile!  So I stopped buying in large quantities of fibres.

In fact I stopped selling altogether for a while, for a combination of reasons.  When I started selling again this October, I found  that there is a collection point for a private parcel service just a few more miles away than my local post office.  They don’t have such restrictive sizing for their parcels, and so the problem was solved.  I’ve just put an order in for a whole bale of white merino tops ……

I do still post most of my parcels through the post office, not only is it convenient, but I actually believe in giving local businesses my custom, and making an effort to ‘USE THEM OR LOSE THEM’.

weaving accessories, just a set of sticks measuring just over 61 cm long!

weaving accessories

I was in a hurry on Friday, and had several items to post, so I took them all down to the local post office.  I did have my doubts about one parcel – a set of weaving accessories that weighed under 1kg, but was just over the 61 cm allowed for medium parcels.  I thought I might just get away with sending it 1st class medium (£5.65).  It was carefully measured and pronounced too large for that rate, and I’d have to send it by the Parcelforce – express 48 (hrs) service – £11.99!

So I went home, got online, booked the parcel into the private courier service, printed out the label and then took it up to the drop off point.

COST:  £2.78! (plus a little extra petrol)

AND THAT’S WHY

ROYAL MAIL IS LOSING OUT TO THE COMPETITION!

Merry Xmas to One & All

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A Christmas card for you…..and ….

over the years I have assembled a private mailing list of customers, and occasionally send out NEWZ FROM JULZ updates, about special offers, new stock etc.  The mailing list is rather out of date, so I’m reorganising it.  I have contacted everybody to ask if they want to remain on the list, and those that have not replied will be deleted.  If I’ve missed anyone out, or you would like to join the mailing list, you are welcome to email me at julz@julzweaving.plus.com  to make sure you get the next NEWZ.  (If its not useful you can opt out at any time.)  Many thanks and ……..

sheep in snow xmas card 1

ROYAL MAIL – they REALLY don’t know what they are doing ……see previous 2 posts to make sense of this one!

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I finally got around to popping into the area Sorting Office, because I also went to the Library yesterday.  (Our local library closed earlier this year – another of the cuts forced on us unwillingly)

After my phone call to the office on 6 December, I had meant to phone back for more information, but I got busy that week, and didn’t have a great deal of faith that I’d get any answers.  I also hoped that I’d catch my local postie and ask what was happening – AND that Royal Mail “customers services” would reply with more than repeated requests for the post box number – no update on that conversation is yet available!

So I was in the area, and felt I really should make the effort.  Glad I did.  The guy on duty told me why they didn’t know anything about the change in the collection times, because ……

THEY HADN’T BEEN TOLD!

Nor had they been the ones that changed the notices on the post boxes, he only found out about it when he was on his rounds,  and met the guy from Merthyr Tydfil who was touring the post boxes on the instructions of Head Office.  (I forgot to ask him how many boxes in what areas were involved – but he was busy and people were coming in to collect parcels.)

EVEN MORE INTERESTING …..

was the fact that having put up the notices, apparently Head Office changed their minds and realised that Christmas was on the way, and that any disruption to collections might affect the public – so in fact, normal collections are continuing.

Which explains why, when I was in the pet shop the other day, watching people blithely posting their letters without a glance at the 7am last collection notice, the guy who runs the shop told me that in fact he’d seen collections at all times of the day, including the old 5pm van collection.  (See the picture in the 6 December blog of the notice on this box)

UNFORTUNATELY FOR ME …..

I believed what I saw on my local box, and if I’d known that I DIDN’T NEED TO  believe what the notice said,  I would have posted my letters there, with the stamps on, got my paper and gone home.  Until yesterday, I still believed what the notices said, so have avoided posting anything in my local box, and told many of my neighbours not to post anything there either, as their letters would be delayed.

HOWEVER – BEGINNING IN JANUARY  THESE CHANGES WILL APPLY……

And no doubt unless someone from Head Office reads this blog, no one will either apologise for putting up the notices early, or think that maybe it would be a good idea to put a sticker on the boxes affected to alert people to the changes.

The reason the changes are being made is – wait for it – you really couldn’t guess, could you –

TO SAVE MONEY…..

Apparently they are cutting the hours and the less hours –  the less pay ……so the idea is that Post Boxes with low volumes are to be collected by the local postie during their delivery round, and so the last collection times from those boxes will be early in the morning.

Post Boxes with larger volumes will still be collected later in the day by the usual van,  which will actually pass by these low volume boxes on their round, but miss them out!  A great saving of time and petrol eh!

And what do you bet, that by the time this scheme has been running for a while, almost no one will post any letters in the low volume post boxes, so Royal Mail will have a perfect excuse …….

for getting rid of hundreds of Post Boxes!

If any ROYAL MAIL SHAREHOLDERS are reading this, this is the kind of privatisation you invested in – do you agree with it?  Are you happy to take your dividends and watch our beloved national service be decimated by an ineffective private management, who goes whinging to the government that they can’t cope with competition,  and will need more money to keep the service going, whilst making sneaky cuts, and not telling anyone about them?

ROYAL MAIL AND THE DISAPPEARING POST BOX – the saga continues …….

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I’m sorry, but I really can’t help myself, this whole story strikes me as so ridiculous, that it deserves to be ‘enjoyed’ by a few more people – smile!

In a week where the privatised Royal Mail has got into much more serious trouble with headlines like –

“Stamp of disapproval – The Post Office needs to treat sub-postmasters fairly” – The Telegraph

“Royal Mail could scrap next-day deliveries and make customers pay more for first-class stamps” – The Mirror

Santa and Royal Mail reveal what kids really really want for Christmas! –  Royal Mail Website media release – 12 December 2014

my nearest post box - says 7 am on saturdays

my nearest post box – says 7 am on saturdays

THEY CAN’T FIND MY POSTBOX!  And seem to think that it’s my responsibility to find it for them!

 The following is my email conversation with no less than FOUR “customer service advisors”  (I have “redacted” their names, and my full address, which I had to give them on the form I filled in on their website – which is where I decided to go after I couldn’t get any answers from the sorting office, last Saturday.)

This is what I wrote on their form:

Enquiry Detail: got very confused when I tried to post some letters at my local box at 8 am on saturday to see that the last collection was 7 am! no notice had been posted warning of this change and I ended up having to tour the area to find somewhere to post my letters. Was so annoyed about it I put up a blog about it – see julzcrafts.wordpress.com – especially as the local post office and sorting office knew nothing about this. Privatisation is not making things better. Because of the confusion I also forgot to put a stamp on one of my letters – see blog, and I would like to inform you of this now, so that I can claim compensation should I or my intended recipient end up having to pay extra fees.
Problem Occurred Date: 06/12/2014

Customer Service person No 1 replies

On 11 Dec 2014, at 11:13, customerservice@your.royalmail.com wrote:
Thanks for your email. I was very sorry to hear of the problem you’ve experienced with your local postbox.

In order for me to make further enquiries, can you please provide me with the following information by responding to this email:

  • The street on which the postbox you are referring to is located
On receipt of this information, I will investigate this further and get back in touch.

Thanks for your help and once again, please accept my apologies for the problems this has caused.

And I replied: 11 December 2014 14:01:50 (GMT Standard Time)

….. road, y……..
 this is NOT the fault of any of your postmen – its your fault for not letting people know of the changes.
 perhaps you’d like to compensate me for my time with some stamps?
Customer Service person No 2 replies
On 11 Dec 2014, at 14:14, customerservice@your.royalmail.com wrote:
Thanks for your email. I was very sorry to hear of the problem you’ve experienced with collections at a near by post box

In order for me to make further enquiries, can you please provide me with the following information by responding to this email within the next 10 working days:

  • Can you clarify your full postal address, is this residential? ( we only have a business name at number “x”)
  • The post box number (i am unable to locate the details with the road name)

On receipt of this information, I will investigate this further and get back in touch. If I don’t hear from you within 10 working days, I’ll assume the matter is resolved and close the case.

Thanks for your help and once again, please accept my apologies for the problems this has caused.

And I replied:  SENT: 11 December 2014 14:54:35 (GMT Standard Time)

…………it is a residential address.
the postbox is just by the start of …… road, but as the road name changes there, it might be under …….Hill – it is also at the bottom of  …….Merched – so with the photo of it, you should be able to find it. (I attached the photo above)
 I can also send you photographs of all the boxes I toured to find somewhere to post my letters, but it might save you time to read the blog – they are all on there, and I think you will see that there is such a variation of collection times that anyone would get confused!
 I look forward to hearing from you with some information.
Customer Service person No 3 replies: 

On 11 Dec 2014, at 15:24, customerservice@your.royalmail.com wrote

Thank you for your further contact with Royal Mail.

In order for me to make further enquiries, can you please provide me with the following information by responding to this email within the next 10 working days:

  • Please provide the box number which will be displayed on the front of the post box in order for us to identify it’s location
On receipt of this information, I will investigate this further and get back in touch. If I don’t hear from you within 10 working days, I’ll assume the matter is resolved and close the case.

Thanks for your help and once again, please accept my apologies for the problems this has caused.

And I replied:   SENT: 11 December 2014 15:41:03 (GMT Standard Time)

if the number is on the box, its on the photograph i sent you – how many excuses do you have for not doing anything?

Customer Service person No 4 replies: on 12 December 08.42

Thank you for your further email and for providing the information and attached photograph requested by my colleagues
The details of your enquiry have been recorded against the reference number 1-3208996693 and we are now reviewing the concerns you have raised. A full reply will follow once our enquiries have been completed – please be aware that depending on your enquiry, this can sometimes take up to 10 working days.
If you would like information about Royal Mail services or our complaint procedure in the meantime, you can visit ourwebsite at any time.

I waited until tonight to put this up on the blog, in case I got a prompt reply – I wonder how long it will take to just tell me

WHY they have changed the collection times – Surely they don’t need the post box number to tell me that!

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POSTSCRIPT – as of today’s date – 7 January 2015 – I have heard nothing further from Head Office 

DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT ROYAL MAIL IS DOING? It seems that I missed the 7am collection from my local post box – or did I?

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my nearest post box - says 7 am on saturdays

my nearest post box – says 7 am on saturdays

I went out just after 8 am this morning to get a paper, and as I had a couple of large letters to post for ebay customers, I stopped off at my nearest post box to send them on their way – only to read the new notice on the box, that the last collection on saturdays is now 7am!  

As far as I remember is was always 12 noon.

As I’d already marked the items as dispatched, I didn’t know what to do – because the Saturday tab would have been replaced by a Monday tab if the box had been emptied, but, maybe the postie had forgotten to change it!

Lucky I’d taken the car, or I’d have given up at that point.  I also had my camera with me, as you can see.

next post box, showing 12 noon...

next post box, showing 12 noon…

The next post box isn’t too far away, so I stopped off there – and got even more confused.  It said the last Saturday collection WAS 12 noon.  Now I couldn’t be sure what time it was, and decided not to chance it!

Asda's post box - last collection 9.30 am

Asda’s post box – last collection 9.30 am

I knew there was a bright new postbox in Asda’s (Asda built their new supermarket here only recently) so its post box is dazzling new & clean compared to the others – smile.

The last collection on Saturdays is 9.30 am.  So I posted my letters – only, just as I put the first one thro’, I realised that

asda box full - Version 2in all the confusion, I’d forgotten to put the stamp on it!  I had a book of large letter stamps with me and was going to put the stamp on at the first post box!  I did manage to stamp the 2nd letter, but when one of the staff saw me standing there stumped, she came over and asked me if she could help.

I explained to her what I’d done, and she suggested that I wait until 9.30 am (it was 8.30 am by then) and ask the postman to pull the letter out for me, so that I could put a stamp on it.

I had put a return address on it, so I reckoned that the worst that could happen was that it would be returned to me, and I didn’t want to hang around for an hour.

Amazingly, the woman saw that I had the stamps in my hand and actually offered to intercept the postman for me, as she was working on the desk just opposite the post box.  So I gave her the missing stamp.  I also asked permission to photograph the box, and she said yes.  Sorry I didn’t ask her name, or I’d mention it here, but  thank you, that’s what I call customer service!  I hope she caught the postie in time!

 

 

What’s even more confusing is that the weekday last collection times at Asda are 5.15pm, at my nearest box they are at 9am, and at the one in the middle – 5pm.  Doesn’t make any sense to  me!

So, before going home, with my newspaper and the other odds & ends I sort of ended up putting in my trolley, I thought I’d drive round and check out the other local boxes.

This is what I found……the same notice as on the nearest box, in the middle of the shops…..

the box in the shopping area says 7 am.

the box in the shopping area says 7 am.

close up of notice - last collection on saturday - 7 am, weekdays - 9 am!

close up of notice – last collection on saturday – 7 am, weekdays – 9 am!

post box outside the post office - says 12 noon

post box outside the post office – says 12 noon

and the old notice on the post box outside the Post Office.  So I popped into the Post Office, as it was now after 9 am, and asked the guy who runs it what was going on.  He didn’t know about the last collection times, he’d not been informed of the changes.  He knew there were some changes to the delivery rounds, but not what they were.

He suggested I phone the sorting office a few miles away, and they said – WHAT?  They didn’t know about the change in collection times either!  A very confused sorting office man advised me to post items at the post office, if I was in doubt, as the collection on Saturday was definately 12 noon there, but he knew nothing about 7am collections, and asked me to ring him on Monday to see what he’d found out!

SO – DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT ROYAL MAIL IS DOING?  THEY DON’T SEEM TO KNOW –  AND I CERTAINLY DON’T!

BEORE PRIVATISATION, YOU KNEW WHERE YOU WERE, NOW THEY KEEP CHANGING THINGS, AND WHAT THEY ARE DOING MAKES NO SENSE TO ME.

IS THIS HAPPENING THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY,

OR IS IT JUST IN THE SWANSEA VALLEY AREA?

AND WHY CHANGE THE COLLECTION TIMES JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS, WHEN THE BOXES WILL BE FULL, THES SYSTEM OVERLOADED, AND EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW THEIR LETTERS & CARDS WILL ARRIVE IN GOOD TIME.  

I “knew” the last collection on Saturdays is noon, its always been that way, that’s why I stopped off at the post box, and I “knew” it would be collected and sorted and arrive at its destination on either Monday or Tuesday.

IF I’D POSTED MY LETTERS IN MY LOCAL POST BOX AND THE NEXT COLLECTION WAS MONDAY MORNING, WHEN WOULD THEY HAVE BEEN DELIVERED???

I’d be interested if anyone else knows, and, when I do get back to the sorting office, I’ll  keep you “posted”.

(Apologies for the layout of this “post” but I’ve tried to keep the pictures with the relevant text, but the template seems to have a mind of its own!)

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