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!
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.
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’.
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!