Category Archives: royal mail

X is for Xtra, Xtra – read all about it!

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XThis is the newz according to Julz!

Readers of this blog may have noticed I have a campaigning streak – I’m not sure what you think about it, but its in my genes!  When I was doing blogging101 in January, we were asked to pick a prompt, and write a post around it.

I chose “Never Surrender, and I wrote about my Dad.  You are welcome to click on the link and read it.  At the time I was feeling a little awkward about publishing a series of posts about the “cock ups” the Royal Mail were, and still are, making – and wasn’t sure whether I should keep them up.  Writing that post convinced me I should, however silly it made me look – smile.

I thought I would use this last week of the A-Z Challenge to write an update of the results – or not – of my little personal campaigns.

me messing around with a picture of postboxes

messing around with a picture of modern postboxes

I am vehemently against the privatisation of Royal Mail – as are may other people who rely on it.  Shares were offered at the end of 2013 and the price was far too low, which resulted in the ‘company’ ending up in the hand of the money men, who are simply interested in reselling them for a quick profit,  and not interested in providing a good service for their customers!

The public service had served us well since 1840, when the first postage stamps were issued – costing just one penny.  They are worth a lot more now!

Privatisation and the need to make a profit, has resulted in the loss of previously stable jobs, and a very unhappy staff.  Worse, the people now running it, have never worked within the system, but have been drafted in from other industries, so they know nothing about its traditions and how to make workable changes.  They have messed around with the pricing structure for the last couple of years, and made major mistakes.

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!

It was a silly thing that got me started on this complaint!

I went to my nearest post box, to post some small orders, one Saturday morning at around 8 am, only to find that, without prior warning, there was a notice saying that the only collection on Saturdays would be at 7 am – ie I’d missed it!  Saturday collections have been at noon for EVER!

Worse, as I was on my way to Asda, and passed another post box, I stopped to look at the notice there, and it still said 12 noon, and the post box at Asda said 9.15am!  Even the guy who runs the local Post Office knew nothing about the change when I asked him!

There followed a series of encounters with Head Office, who were as obfuscating as they could be, and with the local Sorting Office, where I got laughed at.

Even sillier, I finally found out that the notices had been put up but the changes hadn’t happened yet!  

You can follow the series of posts I wrote HERE if you can be bothered to – its a long read – smile. (You will have to scroll down to the bottom to see the first one, and then scroll upwards for the next instalment!

Although nothing specific came out of the fuss I made, a new sticker is to be seen on all the local post boxes, giving the phone number for any queries the public would like to make about collections etc.  I was very heartened to hear a whole section on complaints from all around the country about the change in collection times from rural postboxes,   on Radio 4’s programme, You & Yours, this week.  Whether much will happen after that exposure remains to be seen.

I still don’t know for sure when the collections are, and whether the changes have yet been put into effect- I wonder if they’d tell me if I phoned up the number on the sticker!

cropped-3vert-dry-stone-wall-version-2.jpg In January, I also wrote a post about the new VAT MOSS scheme, which seems to have been introduced to force large companies, like Amazon, to pay their fair share of tax, but is instead making it more difficult for small businesses, and especially craftspeople, to trade.  There have been various petitions, to the European Union, whose legislation this is, and to member country parliaments, but as far as I can tell, no one has done anything to change the scheme.  My plan to open a separate shop on etsy selling digital downloads of my old photographs is still on hold.

the large bin was replaced by the small bin

the large bin was replaced by the small bin

In February, the local council came and changed our large wheelie bins for small ones, apparently in an effort to get us to recycle more.

I was curious as to how much the new bins had cost and whether the old bins had been usefully recycled, so I asked them.

I did eventually get some answers, but did not pursue the issue to the bitter end – it was enough to be able to show that people all over the world had read my blogs about this.

The Council Officials were prepared for some criticism on this policy, but they do not yet have a culture of recognising that freedom of information means transparency and accountability.  It would be nice if they got into the habit or publishing information like this without having to be cajoled into doing so!

Still they have come a long way from the petty officialdom that WAS once the prevailing culture – and unfortunately still is in many parts  of the world.  If I lived in India, China or Russia, to name but a few of the countries that abound with petty corruption – I might have found myself in prison just for asking those questions, or at the very least, would think nothing of having to pay a bribe to a local official to get my rubbish collected at all!

You can read the sequence of posts here.

photo of Matt Mullenweg, taken in 2014 (found on his website)

photo of Matt Mullenweg, taken in 2014 (found on his website)

My most recent campaign has stalled.

Ironically, its about WordPress and the changes they have made, and they seem to be the least open to discussion – or, if you like, on a par with the Royal Mail!

It would seem that Matt, who is a co-founder of WordPress thought it would be nice to be able to post short blogs from his mobile, so he wrote a program for it.

He thinks we all should use it – whether we are posting from our computers, i-pads or phones – but it doesn’t work!  I call it Edit Lite. See my postTest on Chrome“.

I spend a great deal of time formatting my posts, so that they are readable, and was finding that when I went back to edit them, the formatting got screwed up.

I was most upset to find this had happened to the last post of the Big Bin Swap series – see above – just at the time I had sent out invitations to the ‘Big Wigs’ from all the Local Councils to read it!

I have fixed it now, so the only thing wrong with it is that a paragraph in the middle has been squashed up.  I purposely haven’t been back to do that on the ‘Test on Chrome’.

I have tried contacting Matt – but he’s unreachable.  I put up a couple of posts, trying to get his attention – see “Message to Matt – 1 & 2“, but answer was there none, not even thro’ the very helpful Happiness Engineer – still makes me laugh, that title!

What she has told me is that they haven’t been able to fix it yet!  Edit Lite is the culprit, and we are being steered towards using it, whether we have up-to-date mobile phones or not!  I’m one of those who doesn’t!

The Classic Editor is now almost impossible to find.  However, I have followed the advice the ‘HE’ gave me, and returned to the Blog Post Page every time, religiously, where Classic Editor can be found by clicking “Add New” at the top of the page, and if I want to edit a post, I do it in that page – and have not had any real problems since!

I am steering well clear of any contact with Edit Lite – it has caused me too much grief!

I am not the only one who has had problems with this, and there are various forums and groups out there that I found when I was trying to get answers, who are extremely angry about the changes that are being made.

AND – it occurs to me that WordPress, of all organisations, should be listening to their customers, and be concerned about how the platform they provide performs.

The internets’ greatest strength is that it allows FREE SPEECH, and has been an important tool for the implementation of those ideals – its a shame to find WordPress, inadvertently perhaps,  acting in a similar fashion to those old fashioned, all powerful dictators!

 

 

Now Royal Mail can’t even deliver letters to itself!

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ceramic milk carton money box actually!

Yesterday morning, early, I’d run out of milk.  Exciting yes?  I’d got up about 4 am, thinking, ” I can’t write all these blogs without letting the local sorting office know”.   So I printed off copies of all the posts – yes printed them – and on my way to the newsagent,  (who still opens at 5 am, and somehow always manages to dress immaculately at that hour),  I posted the letter. It was a wad of pages in a white C5 envelope, on which I had scrawled, “TO ALL THE STAFF AT P……….SORTING OFFICE – hope you like this!”.  I also scrawled in the top right hand corner a little square and wrote “NO STAMP BECAUSE IT DOESN’T NEED ONE” (I’ve done that before, and its fine).   And  “What time is the collection from this box?” 

my nearest post box - says 7 am on saturdays

my nearest post box –says 7 am on saturdays

The only flaw in this plan was that there are roadworks in front of the local box I am on about (see pic – if you click on the caption, it will take you to the first blog) – the one with the notice that says, “Last collection – 9 am Mon – Fri – 7 am Saturday” and I doubted anyone would be collecting from it this week,  so I took the envelope down to the very reliable post box outside the Post Office, which is emptied several times a day.  It should have got to its destination before lunchtime, especially as that’s where the van goes with all the post that’s collected – to the SORTING OFFICE!

Later in the day, I got the email from Customers Services,  and,  because I felt I’d kept everyone informed, I didn’t worry about publishing it.  And despite having put some considerable time into this innocent query – it takes me ages to write and edit a long blog – I fully intended not to bother wasting any more time on it.  It is, on the face of it,  a very small concern.

And I certainly wasn’t going to contact The Escalated Complaints Resolution Team (what a name!), and play their game for months on end.  I was never after compensation, I just wanted to know whether, if I didn’t feel like getting dressed on a lazy Saturday morning, I could put a coat over my pyjamas, and slip down to the local postbox, with the large letter envelopes, and not have to bother going to the Post Office.  Hope that made you laugh!   The Post Office, and its post box, are a drive away.  The local postbox I can sometimes manage to get to without petrol – smile.

By an odd twist of fate ….. there was a failed parcel delivery.  The postman knocked when I was in the garden.  I didn’t hear him, and, several hours later, I found the red bordered notice on the floor, saying I’d have to go down to the Sorting Office, several miles away, to collect it.  I tut-tutted, and was annoyed he hadn’t delivered it to the designated neighbour.double new postbox pm_Fotor I went down to the Sorting Office this morning, having printed off a copy of the last blog for them, to pick up my parcel.  It’ll give me a chance, I thought, to ask them what time the collections ARE!

As I pulled the form from my sodden jacket, (there was a ferocious storm last night) so that he could find the parcel, I saw that the postman had put a note on the back, that the neighbours hadn’t answered the door.  I was inordinately pleased he’d tried, whoever he is.

I used know who delivered my post, and what time it came, and over the years there had been many friendly conversations.  The sorting office used to be down the road, and I was a frequent early morning visitor!  These days, you never know who’s doing the round, or when.

When I’d got my parcel, I casually pulled out the piece of paper in my pocket and put it down on the hatch top, and asked if the had got my letter yesterday.

What letter?  I described the letter as above.  No, I haven’t seen it? I think I was talking to the manager/supervisor because he had that attitude.  Who did you address it to?  To ‘all the Staff.’ Oddly he didn’t turn round and ask the lads sorting the mail behind him if they’d received it, and I know  they’d heard me, and no one came out to say, Oh yes, THAT LETTER! So I had to explain what was in it,  and that I’d brought the last instalment of the blog with me, and he looked at me in amazement. What post box are you talking about ?– I told him, and he immediately said

“Oh the last collection is after 5 pm”

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!

I said, (this account is not verbatim),  then why has there been a notice on it for over a month,  saying that the last collection is 9 am on weekdays.  “Oh well.”

So I told him the story, that you can read here  in the earlier posts, about touring the area and looking at the notices on the boxes, and photographing them, because I was so bemused.  And he laughed.  And said, well you could have gone to the post office.  (But I was going to Asda’s, and that’s the other way – was what I wanted to say, but didn’t – and I hadn’t read the notice properly anyway.  Just seen 7 am last collection on Saturday!)

And then I told him I had gone to the Post Office afterwards and asked what this change in time was about, and they didn’t know, and I’d phoned up the Sorting Office and he or his colleagues didn’t know, so I wrote the blog, cos I thought it was ridiculous. And he laughed.  So I said: well are they going to switch over to the new times or not?   Ah well, we haven’t been told yet. And I said: well how will I know?  Er well, its on the box. No it isn’t: (no one has put another notice up to say its “business as usual”,  was what I’d meant to say.) Er well, it will be happening, cos they want to save money, Well I know that, I said.  But they’re not going to save any money because the two boxes with the 7 am notices on them, are on the van’s route anyway, he goes from – to, and I named the boxes – and the route. (I actually said what I wanted to say this time!)

Ah well, there are rural places where it would save money.doubledx4   Yes but they won’t save on this route so why change it?    They’re cutting back and this will save salaries –  two of the four vans,  and their drivers will be going.    (That means that two men were going to lose their jobs, don’t you care, was what I wanted to say.)

I was going to ask him to explain to me about the changes, but he was laughing at me. Instead I said, well that’s obvious, and I know that, but why can’t Customer Service people tell me when its going to change?    I did say. (…….   Or if its not happening soon, why don’t they tell me, and change the notice.)  Well that’s what I meant to say, but by this time the guy was looking at me as if I was an alien.)  He just stood there watching me without bothering to ……..

answer

apologise

say he’d phone up head office and find out

take my number and let me know

he just laughed at me……. My image of this encounter had been a cosy chat commiserating about the idiotic changes and asking them all to “Like” the blog, and pass it around so that it looked like there was loads of support for my little campaign.  

(which is not really about the postbox, I hope you’ve realised that by now!)

  Nor did he seem that bothered about the cuts.  His job was obviously safe.  So I ended up repeating several times “then why don’t head office tell me” and pushed the piece of printed paper towards him and said READ IT – JUST READ IT and walked out! It took me quite a while, and a walk round Tesco’s buying extra print cartridges for my printer, to calm down. But it still begs the question – why did an unusually addressed envelope, with no stamp, not arrive in the hands of the staff that were sorting it, and if it was addressed to them, why did no one open it, talk about it, and pass the information around?

Or is my title true, and Royal Mail can’t even deliver letters to themselves???

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Postscript:  

Later today,  I got another of the red bordered notices, and unlike last time, I actually looked at it. I couldn’t face going back to the sorting office, so I thought I’d phone and ask for it to be put on the van for Monday.  I phoned the number on the card and found it was an automated message –  a long introduction and: press 1 for….: press 2  for ……etc What amazed me was that it told me that I had to wait 48 hours before I could collect a parcel from the Sorting Office, and could only book a redelivery thro the website.  “Or you can have your item taken to a local Post Office branch for a small fee for you to pick up using our Local Collect service”.

if you look hard you can just about read this and decipher the 48 hrs inserted in the 1st paragraph, and the instructions I mentioned opposit.

if you look hard you can just about read this and decipher the 48 hrs inserted in the 1st paragraph, and the instructions I mentioned above.

I don’t belieeeve it – as Victor Meldrew used to say!

I wasn’t going to stand for this, so I tried looking up sorting office phone number in the directory: I couldn’t find it.  It was just after noon, and they closed at 1 pm – the parcel wouldn’t be available, but if I could phone, AND I could by-pass the arrangements above.

Then I remembered that the guy at the Post Office had written their number on a scrap of paper for me, when he had advised me to call them on 6 December – I thought I’d thrown it away, but after rummaging through some paperwork – I found it!

And I rang, and I’m sure it was the same man I’d spoken to earlier, but he wouldn’t acknowledge it.  He did, however, take my name & address and promise it would go out on Monday – hope I don’t miss it this time!

Oh dear, there is nothing more Royal Mail can do: they can’t tell me when the change in collection times are being implemented!

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“I can’t believe it” 

For those of you who read yesterdays blog, and the very reasonable set of queries I sent them,

this is Royal Mail Customer Services Reply!  Banner-template-email-receipt

Thank you for your further email.

I am sorry to learn that you are dissatisfied with my colleague’s previous response.  Unfortunately, there is nothing further I can add to what my colleague has already stated.

In the circumstances and in line with our Complaint Handling Process, may I respectfully suggest that you contact our Escalated Complaints Resolution Team, quoting your reference number xxxxxxx to escalate your complaint.  The Escalated Complaints Resolution Team can be contacted via email at:  customerresolution@your.royalmail.com. Alternatively, you can write to: Escalated Customer Resolution Team, Royal Mail, PO Box 466, PLYMOUTH, PL9 7HJ.

For further details regarding our Complaint Handling Process, please visit our website by following this link: www.royalmail.com/personal/help-and-support/how-do-I-make-a-complaint.

ALL I REALLY WANTED TO KNOW

Is what time the collections are at my nearest postbox

and whether it was worth using it!

Do I really have to escalate a complaint to find that out?

Royal Mail has finally replied to my query about collection times ……..

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If you have been reading my blog recently, you may have noticed that I have been “having a go” at the Royal Mail!

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!

It all started with a small normal, everyday incident – I went to post some letters in my nearest post box, at 8am on Saturday 6 December, expecting them to be collected at noon, as usual.  First Class letters would then have reached my customers by Monday morning – probably (smile).

Before you stop reading this, thinking its a yawn, there was a point to my making a fuss.  I feared that local post boxes, with low volume use, would be withdrawn, after a “reasonable period”, by which time, no one would be using them because of the change in the collection policy.

The sorting office told me that the postmen & postwomen were losing hours and thus pay, because of the changes to collections, and delivery rounds ….. AND,  in the UK, people have always supported the Royal Mail, because until recently it was publicly owned.  It is now part-privatised, ie the government, and therefore you & me, still own some of the shares, which many of us will say, were sold too cheaply in the rush to Privatise.

Needless to say, it was a Conservative Policy, and they rushed it because they were afraid that the next government, should it be Labour, would not allow Privatisation.  Who knows, these days, what kind of government we will get in May 2015 ?

The result is unsatisfactory to both parties.  The government is still being asked to subsidise the service, whilst severe cuts are being made to it, and in my opinion, the promised investment in the service is NOT taking place.  It also seems to me, that by bringing in a total newcomer to the Royal Mail to run it, something called “experience” has been lost.  I’ve no knowledge of what its like working in Head Office, or on the “front line”, but I am assuming there is resentment on both sides within the service.

The new management have been tinkering with the postal rates, which are of course going up, but in particular the parcel rates have become a mess!

If, by any chance, you agree with me, could you please click the “LIKE’ button at the end of this blog, because, you will see below, that I have told them that I will be publishing their reply, and I am hoping they will actually see this blog!  It doesn’t matter whether you live in the UK or not, “LIKES” are relevant to the Royal Mail, because they have a reputation abroad too.  I will also be sending links to my MP and others.

post box outside the post office - says 12 noon

post box outside the post office – says 12 noon

This is a list of the blogs that particularly relate to this issue, in date order, just so you know what I’m talking about, you don’t need to read all of them, but I do recommend the first 2 if you want a laugh!

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

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

ROYAL MAIL – they REALLY don’t know what they are doing ……see previous 2 posts to make sense of this one!
WHY ROYAL MAIL IS LOSING OUT TO THE COMPETITION …..(£2.78 versus £11.99)

I didn’t get a reply to the query I emailed to the Royal Mail’s Customer Service on 6 December until the 7th of January, and just for the record, I hadn’t actually got it when I added the postscript to blog No 2 above.

I thought, that since I have been moaning about them, I should also put up their reply on this blog, together with my reply to them.  For the sake of easy reading I have put their reply first and mine follows, thus when I say “document below” it is now “document above”.  I have, again, “redacted” any personal information or names of customer service representatives.

Dear Ms B…….THEIR REPLY….double new postbox pm_Fotor

Thank you for contacting us about the changes we have announced in relation to our post-box network.

We are reaffirming our commitment to maintain our provision of post-boxes under the universal service. We are improving the level of public access to post-boxes in areas of under-provision, by adding around 2,000 boxes to the 115,000 we currently have. The new boxes will be targeted at rural areas, in particular in Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as areas of new development not currently served by a post-box. Some will be added in high footfall areas such as railway stations and shopping centres.

In addition to this, low-volume post-boxes will move to ‘collection on delivery’ with the postman or woman emptying the box on their round, rather than providing a dedicated collection by van. Please be assured however that no post-boxes will be removed from service as a result of this initiative.

With regards to your specific query about the collection times of your local post-box being changed, I would like to explain that there has been a significant fall in the number of items posted in post-boxes, leaving many now not covering their costs. Rather than decommission uneconomic ones, we’re improving the cost effectiveness of collections. Emptying these low-use boxes on delivery enables us to be much more efficient going forward.

To elaborate, this means the post-box will be cleared earlier in the day. Please be assured that there will be no change to the ultimate delivery of the items you post because they will go through our system in exactly the same way. There should also be a later collection from another nearby post-box, typically in the late afternoon.

We have communicated our plans to Ofcom, Citizen’s Advice, Citizen’s Advice Scotland and Consumer Council Northern Ireland. Research shows that postal users are positive about the idea of moving collections, particularly from low-use boxes, to link with delivery. 91% of users did not choose their box based on collection time. Users understand this approach is more efficient and fitted with their desire for a more efficient postal service.

A notice is placed on every affected post-box four weeks ahead of the change to collection times. There will also be clear sign-posting for customers on the relevant post-boxes as to where their nearest late posting box is. I am sorry if this was still not in place at the time you were at the Post Box.

I hope you have found this information useful and that this explanation resolves your enquiry and concludes this matter for you. If there is anything else we can help you with though, please let us know.

Regards

Customer Service AdvisorBanner-template-email-receipt

MY REPLY to their reply …..

Dear …..

Thank you for your reply, please note the following points:
1    This is a standard reply, that must have been formatted some time ago, why did you not send it to me at the beginning of December,  when it would have made a lot more sense to me and saved me the bother of having to investigate this myself.
2    Whilst I happen to have noticed the new collection times on the local post box on 6 December, I have no idea how long it had been  there.  During the next few days, I mentioned it to several of my neighbours, and no one else had noticed the new notice.  In fact  I happened to be in the pet shop, which is just beside another of the postboxes with the new collection times, two weeks later, when people were posting their Christmas cards, and none of them even checked, or looked, at the notice area.
3     Can I suggest that you put some short term stickers on the boxes affected, so people ARE aware of the changes.
4     It made a big difference to me that morning, because, as I told you earlier, I toured the area trying to find a postbox that would be emptied later, but as some said 12 noon and some said 7 am, it seemed that I couldn’t trust any of them.  So I ended up going into Asda, and posting my letters there, because to box said 9.30 am and the customer service desk told me that it was probably accurate! (I FORGOT TO ADD THAT, AT THE TIME,  I’D ONLY REALLY NOTICED THE 7 AM BIT ON THE NOTICE AND NOT SEEN THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE POST OFFICE BOX)
5     I also took photographs of all of the local boxes, and posted a blog about this, because there seemed no rhyme or reason to the  different times for collections, and it was only when I finally managed to visit the sorting office in P…….., again about 2  weeks later that I found out the reason.  For all that time, I avoided posting anything in my local post box, because I couldn’t  trust that anything would be collected, and if it was, I had no idea when it would be delivered.
6     Having not used that post box, which I assume you finally found in your records, I then found out that the changes were NOT coming  into effect immediately,  The assumption was that they would start this month.  Have they started yet?
7      Please be aware that I have now posted several posts on my blog – julzcrafts.wordpress.com – and they have been seen worldwide by  many people, especially as I have been doing a blogging course this week, and that has increased to followers of this blog a great deal.  I have also written to my MP about this, because I disagree with your policies – however reasonable your PR department has  made them seem in the document below.
8     I will, of course, be posting the document below, and this reply, on the blog in the next day or so, to keep my readers informed.
9      However, I only took these actions because I didn’t know the answers, and actually, still don’t, to my questions, and was very irritated  by the responses I got from you, and the delay in getting back to me.  I do understand that xmas and new year have contributed  to the delay, but a reasonable answer could certainly have been given to me when I first got in touch with you.
10    I have had some real inconvenience because of the way you have handled the change, and I would expect something more than a weak  apology.
Yours etc ….

PLEASE CLICK THE “LIKE” BUTTON NOW!……AND leave a comment.

I’m sorry to say, on this occasion only, that I have neither a Twitter or a Facebook account, and don’t want them!  If any of my readers would like to copy this blog into another platform, please feel free to do so!

THANK YOU FOR GETTING TO THE END OF THIS – for those who DID!  you can email me direct  by going to the “contact me” page                                

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julz signature

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!

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

Standard

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?