Royal mail annoyed me today. A lot. So much so that I even updated my Facebook status with a mini-rant.
It all started yesterday, when I received a letter from them saying that a package was being held until I paid them £25, £17 duty plus an £8 handling fee. They pay the duty on my behalf and then charge me for the privilege. I didn't ask them for this nor did they ask me if I wanted it, but they went and did it anyway. I paid the £25 and the package arrived this afternoon, but more on that later.
This morning, I went to the post office. Not an experience I enjoy but it had to be done and it gets me out of the house. Anyway, I had to return a small piece of computer hardware, no bigger than a PC card. It was to be registered first class and I needed an envelope. How hard could it be.
Hard enough as it turns out. First off, the envelope. I queued up, asking the lady for a padded envelope about so big. She charged me 80p for a white non-padded envelope with airmail written on it. "Will this do..?" she bellowed..."mah, 'suppose" I replied.
I had some bubble-wrap with me and didn't really care so off I went to stuff the envelope and address it. My pen, being a felt-tip, did not work with this plasticy vessel so I went back to the counter and grabbed the one and only pen available, a Bic. Sorted.
I did the addressing and rejoined the queue. The next person to serve me suggested that it would cost me £45 to insure the item...insure it? I want to post it, not insure it...Is it valuable she asked...£30 says I...and what pray tell am I insuring against? Theft? Can you not be trusted then? I just want it registered first class please?..She then holds up a piece of wood with a letterbox size hole cut in it, and demonstrates the envelope not fitting this letterbox...I didn't know what to do...so I suggest that if the postman is faced with a letterbox when he gets there, and is unsure about what to do, that he tries pushing it in, as its mostly bubble-wrap that I'm sending anyway.
That'll be £2.48 please...I hand over £2...she gives me a look...I raise an eyebrow...another 48p please...I hand over another £2...she hands back a pound, then some change...job done..."Do you want any mobile phone top-up?" I'm sorry? "Mobile phone top-up? Do you want any?"...Well the battery is a bit flat but no thanks, I'm grand.
I thought that was it with Royal mail for the day but no, there was more to come.
The package they stopped and charged me £8 for stopping, arrived in the afternoon. The postman rang the doorbell and almost immediately rapped his knuckles on the door. I was barely up out of my seat when he was disappearing back to his van...how much time does it take him to answer his door? Was I supposed to be at the door waiting for him? He didn't get away and I got my package.
I have another delivery on the way. A package of cigars from Fox of St. James. They emailed me this morning to say the order has been sent registered first class, and here is the tracking number and so on. (I wonder if they were offered the mobile phone top-up service). I wasn't sure if it would arrive today or tomorrow so a few hours after the email arrived, I decided to check out the tracking website. Royal mail again obviously.
The status was "On the Way" and that their records did not show that the package had been delivered. Well that's reassuring, but I already know its on the way because the people who posted it told me so. When it arrives, maybe I should check back with the tracking site, just to be sure it really has been delivered.
Royal mail failed me today and we are now enemies.