SOPHIA MONEY- COUTTS MODERN MANNERS Are posties scared of doorbells?
Retrieving missed deliveries is a nightmare, especially at this time of year, so I have a couple of wild suggestions to solve the problem
Here’s a fun game: how many postal slips about missed parcels do you currently have littering your kitchen table? I managed to clock up four this week, all bossily telling me that I wasn’t in for my delivery (I was, actually, but we’ll get on to that in a tick), and that I now had to shuffle to four different places to collect said parcels.
On one of the slips, the delivery man (or woman!) had ticked a box saying they’d left my parcel in a “safe place”. Underneath that, they’d scribbled where this safe place was. “In the bin,” it said, so I went outside my flat and rummaged to retrieve my Amazon parcel, which had soaked up some of the bin juice in the meantime, although this luckily hadn’t been absorbed by my copy of Max Hastings’ Vietnam inside. Poor Max Hastings, I don’t imagine he’d enjoyed his spell in the bin very much at all.
One of my parcels had been delivered to the local post office, a five-minute walk away, which was tiresome since it was a heavy case of Aldi champagne (£11 a bottle, an absolute steal and it’s delicious, get it quick). Another was in an entirely different sorting office which always has a queue even longer than the one at the doctor’s. The fourth had been left at a house a few doors down.
Taking a parcel in for a neighbour is often problematic, too. A couple of weeks ago, I took one in (funny how you’re always in for your neighbour’s parcels, but never your own), but then had a busy few days, so every time this neighbour came to collect it, I was out. He posted increasingly plaintive notes through my letterbox – “I’ll be in tonight if there’s any chance you’re around?” until finally, about a week later, I took it over. Do you remember Mrs Goggins, Postman Pat’s greyhaired postmistress? I am much less efficient than she was.
To end this delivery mayhem, I have a couple of wild suggestions. One, that delivery people actually ring your doorbell or knock on your door. I have been in all week recovering from a minor operation; I’ve barely left my sofa. Was I supposed to telepathically guess when someone was hovering on my doorstep? Why do they not just ring? Are we seeing the rise of a weird, new strain of postman who’s afraid of doorbells? I understand that some people have terrible jingles as their bell, or they’re nervous about alerting a dog or waking the baby, but if you’re worried about such things, why not consider a new job as a librarian?
My brother, a magician who works from home (wizards don’t have offices), has an almost daily stream of parcels from magic websites and has taken to writing a note that he sticks to his letter plate, promising that he’s in and with his mobile number to ring if there’s no answer. But that seems an extreme solution.
Secondly, we could return to the high street. Mr Sports Direct, Mike Ashley, lamented the death of it this week and called for an online shopping tax to drive us back to real shops. I’d rather discuss the Northern Irish backstop for another 500 years than head to a physical shop at this time of year, but he may have a point.
Father Christmas merely has to force himself down a few chimneys, I thought, as I finally collected my parcels, trudging from one destination to the next with my postal slips in hand as if they were clues on a treasure hunt. He has it easy.