Tag Archives: Parcel

Parcel Farce

Usually when I’m ordering something, I try to have it delivered to work – the theory being that at work there is usually someone around to sign for the parcel, and you’re not going to have problems with forged signatures and parcels propped up against the front door. However every so often we have to have something delivered to our home address, as it has been with a parcel that we were supposed to receive on Tuesday. Unfortunately the company from which we were purchasing requires that for credit card purchases, the package has to be shipped to the credit card address, and it was shipped with Parcel Force, the parcel delivery arm of the Royal Mail.

When we first moved here, we had problems because being a new build, the road wasn’t on any of the maps. Eight years on, we’re on all the latest sat-nav data, indeed you can put our address into Google Maps and take a nice look at our back garden. Recently about the only problem we’ve had has been the occasional Tesco delivery driver who ends up in Penrose Park (worth noting at this point that it Ocado equip their drivers with a sat-nav, so we’ve never had a problem with them).

Anyway, both yesterday and today there has been no sign of the parcel, nor any sort of card. Thankfully the company sending the parcel supplied me with the tracking code so I could see what was happening, and it came as somewhat of a surprise. They have twice failed to locate the address – it escapes me quite why having failed to find it on Tuesday they didn’t at least look us up on a map to try and find us on the Wednesday – but twice they have failed to find it. Incidentally, the top item on the tracking is my redirecting the parcel to our local post office, where since we know the post mistress quite well, hopefully there should be no problem picking the parcel up without the card. Annoyingly it takes Parcel Force two days to actually get the parcel to the local post office, so we’ll have to wait until Friday until we can go and collect it, plus they’ll charge us 50p for the redirection. That’s a lot less than the £5.50 they’d charge to redirect it anywhere else. The only other option is to drive to the other side of Reading to collect it in person, but I fear after the farce this week I’ll probably not be at my best with whoever happens to be on the desk if I did.

It just amazes me that a company whose primary business is delivering packages is unable after two attempts to find our house. Granted if we were in an out of the way place, or a brand new house it would be understandable, but the house is eight years old, and the road is on sat-nav, map, whatever, why on earth is it so difficult for them to deliver our parcel?

Update: You’d think this was complicated. I’ve just had an e-mail back from Parcel Farce customer service saying that they had “resolved the address problems” and that the parcel was back out on the van to be delivered to my home address – I’ve just phoned them up, and once through their automated system to a real person (hint, press the ‘#’ key on your phone a few times and you can get out of the menu system) and she had checked, it seems that the parcel is indeed on the normal delivery route, not being sent to our local post office as requested. The customer service agent said that she could send a message to the driver to make sure he delivered it to the local post office instead, although that proved to be complicated as the list of local post offices on her system bizarrely doesn’t list our local post office at all, despite the list on the main website including it. So place your bets please, do you think they’ll actually manage to deliver the parcel to the right place by the weekend?

Update 2: Parcel all delivered. Looking at the paperwork attached to the box the initial instruction to redirect the parcel was actually received, although after having accepted that instruction they then had another failed attempt to deliver to the house. What is interesting is that the customer service agents you speak to seem to have no more information than the tracking system gives you so can’t tell where a parcel is actually going, hence all the confusion in the middle of the week.

A Quiet Last Day? No Way…

Maybe it was optimistic to expect my last day before the Christmas Holiday to be quiet…

So far this morning:

  1. Last parcel from Amazon turns up having been damaged in transit – and probably no time to replace the damaged contents. Just waiting for Amazon to get back to me. Update: Just got an e-mail from Amazon – replacement items being despatched first class.
  2. After half a days worth of testing, we’ve found a trailing space in a bit of test data. Following a quick fix, as it is a fully validated system we have to go all the way back to the start of the tests and start again.
  3. Just had a call from one of my colleagues who should be on annual leave today. His team is doing an install in Cardiff and got to site to discover that they’d left the install CD that he’d put together for them at home.
  4. Had a moderation request from the Affirming Liberalism site – Peter Ould probably about as opposite in Anglican terms as you can get has linked to the site under the category “heresy” pairing it up with an unrelated video and a comment about growing liberal Churches seemingly implying that he doesn’t think there are any… Of course he’s most welcome to come along and visit St James – but he’d probably have trouble finding a seat, especially over the next couple of days.

Drop it, Hide it, Lose it

The office across the road from us has been empty for the past couple of months – even when it was occupied they never used the delivery entrance I can see from the window. I’ve just watched a DHL driver come around to the back, stop in the middle of the road, ring the bell and then scan, sign for and leave propped up against the back door a parcel, before driving off.

Picking Up a Parcel in Reading

Reading Sorting Office

One of the more annoying hassles we discovered when we moved to our present house was that we had moved into a postcode delivered from the sorting office in Reading, rather than the more convenient offices in Wokingham or Crowthorne.

Although in general it’s not too much of a problem where our post comes from, if the postman is unable to deliver a package for some reason, it does mean that we have to go into the centre of Reading to pick it up. Unlike most of the parcel delivery companies the Royal Mail have their main site right in the centre of the town, adjacent to the railway station – due in part of course to needing to be close to the railway for Post Office Train.

If you look at the picture, the sorting office is the big building in the bottom of the shot, with the parcel collection office being in the top left corner. The car park containing all the red vans is where the Royal Mail park their vans, and the other car park is for the Vastern Road retail park, which includes a few large retail units and a TGI Friday’s Restaurant. Bear in mind that the largely empty situation in the rest of the car park is pretty normal – very rarely is that car park full. The only available parking, and indeed the parking everybody uses is in the retail park car park.

Anyway, today Beth went off into town to pick up a parcel, and drove into the car park. Being a Saturday morning, TGI Friday’s was closed, and the rest of the car park wasn’t busy, so she went to park in one of the spaces by the sorting office. When she got out, there were new signs warning that the car park was not for use of Royal Mail customers, and someone further up was arguing with some clampers, who had clamped their car in the few minutes it had taken for the person to go in and collect their parcel. Apparently since Wednesday they have been sitting in that part of the car park watching for people parking and going to the sorting office and then clamping them – cost being £120 to release the car. Whilst of course it is their car park, and they can limit access to whoever they like, with the amount of space their usually is in that car park it does seem to be a tremendous own goal by the owners of the retail park to annoy large parts of their potential customers by clamping them for collecting a parcel. Needless to say, the topic has kicked off discussion elsewhere, and even made the local paper. Locals are well advised to find somewhere else to park when they need to collect a parcel.

Picking Up a Parcel from TNT

Theale TNT Depot

Not the most exciting picture, but I had to post it. This is a picture of our local TNT Depot in Theale, although as you can see it’s a little dark, the reason being that I went to the depot after the choir workshop, to collect a parcel.

This is the first time I’ve had a parcel through TNT, and I am really surprised by the flexibility they offer. We had a parcel coming in, that we weren’t expecting for a few days, however when I checked the tracking page today, I found that TNT had attempted to deliver today. Since the page had the tracking number on it I gave the depot a call to ask about collection, expecting to have to go after work tomorrow. The web site did not list their opening hours, so I asked what time they closed, to which the chap said that they didn’t, and that there was somebody there twenty-four hours a day, and that I could collect whenever I liked.

I have to say I was slightly doubtful, but he said he would put the parcel aside, and I could come and collect it later on.

I looked up the depot location on Google Maps, and headed off to the depot after I’d finished at the choir workshop. At 9:30pm the traffic was pretty light, plus the depot is located only a couple of miles from the M4, so I made it to the location on the map within about 15 minutes. There followed another 10-15 minutes driving around the estate, before realising that the map Google had produced was wrong, and the depot was in another part of the estate on the other side of the railway.

I popped over the bridge, and drove into the car park (oddly enough alongside the local Scottish and Southern Energy depot), and a security guard came out and asked if I was here to collect a parcel. I said yes, and he opened the barrier and directed me to the desk. I then had to wait around for a while, as what is supposed to happen is that the security guard phones up to the depot office to let them know someone is coming in – he didn’t, and just went back to watching the TV – however after a bit of chasing around, I eventually found somebody – ironically through all of this I could actually see my parcel sat on the top of the pile in the office!

The chap who came and got my parcel said he had been on since 1pm, and was due to hand over to another shift at 11pm, and he reiterated that I could collect whenever I wanted.

I’m not sure whether it is a national thing, or only something that happens at our local branch, but I have to say that I am really impressed. I’m assuming that the logic is that they have to have someone there during the night to meet inter-depot shipments, so why not allow the public to collect parcels too. Compared to UPS, where I have to drive 80 miles to Abingdon, or the post office delivery office in Reading that is only open 9am to 5pm, and until midday on a Saturday this is great – if I were still working in Havant, I’d be able to collect parcels without worrying about not making it before the depot closes. Full marks to TNT for providing a flexible service.