Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Going Postal

Don’t ever bite the post that delivers mail for you, electronic or real. You are at their mercy and faced with no alternative.

a) Yesterday, after 6 years of emailing back and forth between my fiancé and me, her email provider finally decided I was spam and stop me from sending any emails to her. After spending an hour when I should have been doing other things trying to work out why I couldn’t send anything her way, someone suggested that the links to this site and my myspace were being picked up by her spam filter. I took them out and lo-and-behold, it worked. Now this would have been annoying but liveable had we not been spending a furious day trading emails back and forth about our honeymoon plans, including links. I complained to Yahoo and received a robotic reply from a robot tech purporting to be called Roberto. I answered his questions and exactly to the minute an hour later, I received a standard robot reply stating that they were aware of the problem and were fixing it. Later that day, not two but three times, I received the same robot reply from different robots, one claiming to be Alexa and one dubbing themself Julianna. All robot makes I’m sure. Somewhere Roberto 2.0, Julianna v7.432 and Alexa 3000 are all chinking pints of motor oil in a back alley refuelling hole and toasting a job well done.
b) I always have physical post problems. Always. I get sent CDs and books for this site’s review function. And they’re quite chunky parcels, so they tend to go missing. If it wasn’t my upstairs neighbour’s drug-dealing teenage despot opening my jiffy bags and replacing the materials inside with pizza menus, it was the postie stealing the post. I hope they’re disappointed with the random obscure bands and books they end up enduring. Complaining is a nightmare. If you make an online complaint, each of your emails in the correspondence chain is dealt with every 28 days so by the time you get to the nub of the problem, 3 months have elapsed and you’re beyond caring and they’re beyond helping because it was so long ago. I was once offered a book of 6 second class stamps as a compensation settlement when a package containing some CDs from a major record company (who i had romanced for months for the opportunity to review their materials) went missing. The record company didn’t replace the package and hasn’t sent me anything since.

At the moment, the problem is that the postman doesn’t ring the doorbell anymore. He just shoves the red card in, meaning, even if I’m home, I still have to go to the post office to collect stuff. And should I complain? No, because he holds the key to me getting post uninterrupted in the palm of him hand. One word and he stalls the flow, he cuts me off, he disappears things.

This conversation made me laugh today in the line waiting to collect my new package from Alma books.

WOMAN: I need my post quickly. It has my medication in it.
POSTIE: I’ll go only as fast as I can, which in this cold isn’t very fast and with that attitude is even slower. Thank you. Card.
WOMAN (handing over card): My medication. Can’t you see I’m suffering?
POSTIE: You look fine darling. Look, don’t obstruct me in my duties. Sit down over there and rest while I get this for you.
WOMAN: There is no chair.
POSTIE: On the floor darling. If you’re that ill, you’ll appreciate taking a load off.
WOMAN: I’ll stand. I’m suffering so much.
WOMAN waits patiently while POSTIE disappears to retrieve her post. Everyone’s eyes glaze over. POSTIE returns shaking his head.
POSTIE: It doesn’t exist.
WOMAN: The post doesn’t exist?
POSTIE: No. You’re trying to pick up non-existent mail aren’t you? Where did you get this card?
WOMAN: I’m suffering. I need my Lemsip.
POSTIE: It’s Lemsip in the parcel?
WOMAN: Yes. I left it in a hotel in Amsterdam.
POSTIE: Darling, there’s a shop next door. Go and buy some new Lemsip.
WOMAN: I will not. It’s the principle of the thing. There is a recession going on.

The woman was then made to wait in the corner while he dealt with our queuing backlog. I wondered if she ever got her phantom package of Lemsip from Amsterdam.

As I left, I noticed that the sign in the door which categorised how a member of the public should expect to be treated by a Royal Mail representative was obscured by a piece of paper in front of it clipped from the Daily Mail advertising yachts.

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