A good few years ago, I remember being told a story by an elderly gentleman about the wonders of the postal service during the First World War. He was injured in a battle at the Somme and sent back to Blighty to convalesce at a hospital in Much Wenlock in far off rural Shropshire. His mother lived in London and used to write to him every day and ask what he had for lunch. By the morning of the following day, over her breakfast, she had a letter back from her son. They continued this correspondence every day for two years, while he was in the convalescent home. The postman never failed him or his mother.
This was customer service par excellence !
Somehow things don’t seem to have improved since then 😦
I sent a letter in the post last Monday and on Friday it still had not been delivered. It was a large letter (A4 size) but light (just four sheets of paper inside),no bricks, no ticking clocks. I put a first class stamp on the envelope, not because it was urgent, but just in case it was over the standard size.
None of this is good enough for Royal Mail these days. There are different charges for every letter, unless it is ‘standard’ – whatever that means! So now you can’t just post your letter in the post box, you have to go to the Post Office, queue while somebody in front of you collects their pension, then have your letter weighed and individually stamped. Every letter seems to cost a different and unfathomable amount, which only the person behind the counter understands. Then it’s recorded in a book – ??? although that doesn’t mean it is a recorded letter – so I don’t know what that’s about; maybe it is an MI5 thing in these heightened security days.
Finally, you get to post your letter after 10 minutes in the counter queue, 10 minutes walking to the post office. Then another 10 minutes walking back home.
The next day due to the non-standard nature of my first-class stamped letter it receives special attention. I suspect it has been intercepted at the destination sorting office and put onto the shelf marked “rule breakers”. A postcard will, no doubt, be put through the door of the intended addressee telling them they can collect my letter at the central post office, if they waste an hour of their time and pay a fine for my bad behaviour.
At a time when e-mail and private delivery services are threatening the very existence of the Royal Mail, what idiot dreamt up this system?