Does Royal Mail have a death-wish? Apparently not.

Home, to find a red card on the mat.  Even since the advent of Amazon, these have been regular sights when I came home at night, and I thought non-UK readers might be interested to see these common yet ephemeral items.

OK, they tried to deliver at 10:05 am.  Naturally I was at work then, like everyone else.  But I knew they would, and I expected to go and pick it up from the depot. 

Unfortunately the card tells me — this bit is new — that I can only do so between 9am and 2pm.  That more or less makes it impossible, because, like everyone else, I am at work then.

This is yet another degradation of service from the Royal Mail.   The sorting office used to be open into the evenings, so you could pick up undelivered mail, such as Amazon deliveries.    Then they decided not to open after 2pm — the posties naturally want to go home early –, but they did open from 7am.    This made sense — the posties are supposed to be up early, so why not?   But no longer.   I’ve also heard rumours that Royal Mail wants to charge people to collect the mail from the sorting office.  

If you wanted to stop people shopping online, what else would you do?  But why would a postal service want to do that?   So no more home deliveries for me.  I’ll try sending stuff to work, but this can be hazardous at many workplaces.  And why did it take them four days to try to deliver it?

What Amazon need to do is start their own delivery business, I suspect.  How long will it take before they do?

UPDATE:   I went to collect my mail this morning and was told that the postman had simply used an old card!  Apparently I could have collected my mail yesterday morning at 7am if I had wanted to (and I did want to).  I was also told that Royal Mail, in fact, is extending hours, not curtailing them.  That is good news!


13 thoughts on “Does Royal Mail have a death-wish? Apparently not.

  1. Go on Amazon Prime. It is about £50, but it is worth it if you are someone who orders a lot of books.

  2. Some amazon ephemera from the States: packages from are usually delivered by UPS, the United Parcel Service (big brown vans). Our UPS man is a frequent and welcome visitor who has trodden his own path through the snow from the street to our door. On occasion, when UPS is too busy to deliver everything on time, they (or amazon) will arrange delivery via FedEx. Even more rarely, an item will be delivered via USPS – the gov’t mail service.

    Note, however, that we use Amazon Prime – we pay something like $70 per year for free 2-day shipping (or, even more astounding, only $3.99 or so for next-day delivery). I think the resulting requirement for speed keeps our packages out of the hands of the gov’t mail and ensures delivery by our friendly UPS man.

  3. And I thought it was horrifyingly annoying when I had to go down to the post office to pick up my air mail package from Iceland and pay extra customs money (because they thought the exchange rate customs value was too low, I think). But now, by comparison… USPS, all is forgiven in a wave of good feeling.

    Seriously. Even getting stuff mailed from fairly deep into Russia was less hassle than this, even the time it looked like people’d opened it several times.

  4. I thought the UK had DFL and other international package delivery services. Why would Amazon UK be using the mail for express packages? Is there some kind of crushing tax burden if you don’t?

  5. Thank you everyone for these thoughts!

    When Amazon started, it used Royal Mail because it was cheap and efficient and quick. The parcel would often just be posted through the letter box, or perhaps left with a neighbour. Some posties were lazy — I once remember one leaving an air-freshener inside a dustbin! and another time one just threw the books over the garden gate, where I discovered them, sodden, some days later. But mostly it worked. If the parcel was too large, you could pop up the road after work and get it.

    Then Amazon switched to Courier companies. In the UK these will only deliver if they can get a signature (because it saves them money on insurance). So the service was instantly worse — you had to go to their depot for EVERYTHING. And worse yet, their ‘local’ depots were sometimes 60-80 miles away. Some of them were very one-horse operations. I, like many people, sometimes found that I simply could not get my parcel, and had to get refunds. Getting a book became a nightmare over a couple of weeks. I complained several times to Amazon, and indeed moved to use Book Depository because these used Royal Mail. If I had to use Amazon, I got it sent to work, or else resigned myself to misery and hoped for the best.

    So I was pretty pleased a week or two ago to get an Amazon parcel by Royal Mail, via my postie. He told me that Royal Mail had won back the contract. So I felt it was safe to use Amazon again.

    Thus my ire to discover that Royal Mail, on regaining the contract, had made it impossible to collect parcels on weekdays!

    I bet there is quite a queue on Saturday morning! And I wish I hadn’t ordered that Aulus Gellius today. Heaven knows when I will actually get it.

  6. Well, that stinks, and I’m very sorry to hear it. There’s obviously a business need for a better delivery service, but possibly there’s no reasonable way to fill it.

  7. Go online and pick the day you want it redelivered (Saturday maybe?). The website is given on the bottom of the delivery card.
    I’ve got Amazon Prime and consider it money well spent – at least you know when stuff is going to turn up – next working day, and you can pay a bit extra for before 1pm delivery. Plus you get one month’s free trial, so if you were sneaky you could avail yourself of this, then cancel!

  8. So it is. But over here the Royal Mail is on top of that also — they used to allow you to collect your own mail from the sorting office; from April they intend to charge!

    But I went to collect my mail this morning — the new SPQR novel — and was told that the postman had simply used an old card, and Royal Mail, in fact, is extending hours, not curtailing them. So I shall update the post.

  9. Oh, good. I agree that you need a bigger mailbox, though. Maybe one of those built into a big brick or stone pillar, about the size of a crate inside, or the ones that look like giant plastic barns on a stick.

    I’d say “Just run over to Farm and Fleet”, but I think that’d be a long run. 🙂

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