I was going to write about the whole reporting anarchists thing, but I'm so late to that particular party that all that is left is a warm bottle of supermarket brand hock and the funny yellow dip that nobody trusts. Angry Exile, Muffled Vociferation, Captain Ranty and Uncle Marvo have it covered in spades, so head on over there.
I'm going to talk about something else. Something a little more esoteric.
When I got back from work at just after lunchtime (don't worry, I started waaaaay before breakfast time) there was a knock at the door and stood in front of me was a man, wearing civvies, holding one of those little electronic pad things where you sign for parcels. I was not surprised to see him, even though I was not expecting anything, because my next door neighbour, who is very pleasant woman, has been embroiled in a little bit of a battle with an on-line retailer about a self assembly garden shedette she'd bought, but which had arrived missing a few of the components. She's currently down at her late parents' house sorting it out prior to sale, and she asked if I wouldn't mind taking custody of the missing items in her absence.
It wasn't the shed bits she was expecting. It was a package for a house, eight doors down and over the other side of the street. I have never set eyes on the people that live there and it transpires that, shockingly, at about half two in the afternoon, they're out, probably at work.
Would I mind taking the package for them?
Well, yes. I would actually.
Firstly, I have better things to do with my time than continually traipsing half way down the street to see if these people were in. That's the delivery man's job.
Secondly, if I'd ordered something and then some total stranger turns up on the doorstep saying 'this was left with me for you' I'd be a little miffed. Not as miffed as I'd have been had it been dropped off with a perfect stranger and they didn't turn up on my doorstep with it.
Thirdly, I don't know what is in the parcel. It could be that the old bill have been keeping tabs on the parcel of crack that Mr Big has sent out. I don't fancy having my front door kicked in.
Finally, and re-visiting point one, it is the delivery man's job. He was most put out by the fact that I wouldn't take it. In fact, he got a little bit cross. He got even crosser when I asked if he wanted me to take the rest of his parcels and see if they were in whilst he sit on my sofa, put his feet up and watch the cricket. I apologised for not doing his job for him, gratis, and making him complete the task which he's fucking paid to do.
The supermarkets manage it when you buy online from them. You don't get the bloke from Tesco ringing your doorbell asking if you wouldn't mind taking in the weekly shop for old Mrs. Miggins' down at number 37 do you? Is it so difficult for online retailers to stick a bit on about date and time of delivery? OK, granted it may take a day or two to get the order together, but here's the clever bit, you'll normally send the customer an email to tell them their order has been despatched, perhaps you could send them a link to your site where they can nominate a date and time. Then the person can receive their goods at a time convenient for them, because they have after all paid for the delivery as well the goods.
Why the hell is it so difficult to provide or receive a decent service these days?
And don't even get me started on the Royal Mail 'We've got a parcel, but we couldn't even be arsed to bring it to your door, you can come to us where you'll have to provide seven forms of ID and a DNA sample before the surly bloke behind the 6" thick safety glass will even think about giving a despairing sigh and stomping off to find your parcel with as little grace as can be mustered' card through the door.
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