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?”
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. 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”
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. 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 ……..
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???
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”.
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!