Royal Mail – What is it Good For?

I have a multitude of problems with Post Offices and avoid them if at all possible. The introduction of on-line tax-disc renewal has been a major blessing – even that one trip a year is painful. On to my main beef though – I don’t know if they’re competing for bottom-slot in the customer service stakes or what, but the Royal Mail gives them a run for their money.

Problem # 1: we’ve just come out of a series of postal strikes. Now I wasn’t too upset by the disruption to our post, because our mail is crap and slow all the time anyway. Now I thought the dark days of large-scale strike action were a distant memory of the 70s, but it appears that only the Royal Mail and the Isle of Wight think they’re big news. Even when the unions, Royal Mail, and 99% of the workforce agreed that it was time to put the differences aside as get back to work, there were still people on strike – apparently just for the sake of it.

Problem # 2: it costs an absolute fortune to send stuff. 34p just for a first-class stamp and that guarantees absolutely nothing, only that it will go into their magic system of smoke and mirrors.

Problem # 3: it takes ages for things to arrive. Most of my and my wife’s family live in Sunderland – around 300 miles away from my home here in Southampton. Now neither party is in a particularly rural area, but it can regularly take in excess of 4 days to get a single birthday card from one place to the next. I can drive it in not much more than 5 hours.

Problem # 4: what’s the deal with all those bloody little red elastic bands and the ability to scatter them across the paths and gardens? Is there a special training course you go on when you join specifically for the dark art of ‘laccy-band scattering?

Problem # 5: even paying the extra for the tracking service, doesn’t mean it will be tracked correctly. I posted some gift vouchers to the Next directory people on October 22nd using the “Recorded” delivery service (I’ve got a little stamped bit of paper to say so). This is a 70p premium on the regular delivery fee. These vouchers needed to arrive by November 7th, but by November 6th the tracking checker on their website claimed it hadn’t yet been delivered. I then rang Next to pay the bill by alternative means, only to find the gift vouchers were delivered ages ago. Even now, the Royal Mail claims that the letter hasn’t been delivered. If you’re curious and reading this in sometime during 2012, have a look for parcel number DL 4675 5968 0GB and see if it got there. Thanks.

How can that sort of business stay afloat, when the workforce strikes against any modernisation efforts and electronic communication in the form of broadband is becoming a utility for all but the most technophobic of people?


  • when challenged about dropping those damn red bands on my drive I politely asked my local postie to drop them in his bag and reuse them on his next delivery he replied that they (posties, I assume) have had no training on recycling and there were no facilities to recycle them at the depot—you really couldn’t make this stuff up.

  • The whole problem is that the Royal Mail is in the public sector… I say sell them to the private sector, lets have some competition to see if it’ll sprice up their act.