Sorry you were out'. No, sorry, you're out of touch

4 December 2012

I’ve just turned 29. That means one thing. I’ve just spent an awful lot of time walking back and forth and queuing up outside my local Royal Mail sorting office to collect my parcels.
I don’t want to sound ungrateful, it’s very kind of my friends and family to send me gifts but the whole delivery element is starting to chafe. Especially as the card from my father got stranded somewhere in the postal service for more than a week because he’d paid 9p less postage than he should have and so not only did I have to walk back to the sorting office again, I also had to pay £1.09 to release the impounded card (which, by the way, is a charge of more than 1,000%).
But my frustration with Royal Mail isn’t just confined to birthdays. I once had to pick up a magazine I subscribe to from the sorting office because the postie didn’t want to ‘damage’ it by folding it momentarily to fit it through my amply-sized letter box.
My main bugbear is that the Royal Mail delivery system seems horribly out of touch. Obviously the days of receiving the day’s post before we set off for work are long gone. But why hasn’t Royal Mail cottoned on the fact that most of us are at work during the day and so the chances of us being in to take delivery of any signed-for letters, recorded delivery items or parcels is remote? How much petrol are the delivery vans wasting driving to our homes, only to have to make a return journey back to the sorting office?
Ok, so maybe the postie will occasionally leave a parcel with a neighbour, but I can’t be the only one in this day and age not to want a complete stranger I just happen to share a postcode with getting their hands on my mail.
Isn’t it about time Royal Mail got in on the modern home delivery business? If Sainsbury’s can get five boxes of groceries to me within a one-hour time slot, why can’t Royal Mail offer me a similar arrangement? I’d happily pay a few quid a month to get my mail delivered between 7 and 8am or anytime after 6.30pm Monday to Friday. And seeing as half my neighbours on my road all work in Central London and do so during similar hours to me, I bet they’d consider doing the same.
Maybe by my 30th birthday Royal Mail will have joined the 21st century? Don’t worry, I won’t hold my breath.