Parcelforce suck. This is not news - I've referred to them as Parcelfarce in this very journal before. Why they suck this time is that I'm still waiting for a parcel that should've arrived on 13th December. Now, I hadn't been expecting a parcel, so the first I knew of it was when I got home that day to discover they'd managed to come during the 2 hour window when I was out of the house. The card that was left said they would automatically redeliver the parcel "tomorrow". So on Friday, I waited in all morning and afternoon, finally having to get my mum to come up and wait in when I had to go out for work in the evening. Of course, it didn't come (else I wouldn't still be moaning about it, would I?). My mum attempted to use the tracking number to find out what had happened to it, but their telephone tracking service was broken, and the internet tracking service said nothing except "14-12-2006 18:58 Mitcham Depot Returned to depot". Not very promising.
(It's since been updated to contain some entries for 15-12-2006, but they're rather vague. I'm guessing that what happened was the parcel got left in a van overnight.)
Didn't come on Saturday either, and either Richard or I or both were in all day. Not that I expected it to - you have to pay extra for Parcelforce deliveries on a Saturday - but I thought I'd be optimistic. Gah.
They tried to redeliver it on Monday - this time, choosing a time during the 90 minute slot when I was out of the house. In fact, if the time on the website is to be believed, I got in 8 minutes later. Congratulations, Parcelforce! I got home, saw the card again, groaned, and called the depot to ask for it to be delivered to "a local Post Office". Apparently there's a Post Office five minutes walk from here, up the hill towards Kingston Hospital. That was news to me - never actually seen it before! - but anyway, they said it would be there "tomorrow". That would be Tuesday (19th, if you're following this at home).
Based on the company's demonstrated uselessness, I left it until Friday evening (22nd) before going to the Post Office to collect the parcel on my way home from work. It wasn't there. Came home and entered the tracking number into the Parcelfarce database, and discovered it hadn't left Mitcham Depot. It may, for all I know, still be in Mitcham Depot - the tracking details on the website imply it hasn't moved since Wednesday 20th.
So if you sent me something from a company called "Direct to Fans", I'm not being rude by not acknowledging your present - I haven't got it and at this rate, may never get it. Stupid fecking Parcelfarce.
This fiasco did, at least, provide me with some warning about the postage of Richard's present from the US. From previous experience, I know that any parcel sent by a mail system outside the UK ends up in Parcelfarce's clutches. The US Postal Service is surprisingly competent for tracked parcels, but they have a habit of getting lost or delayed on entry to the UK. (I've seen many an item get stuck in Mount Pleasant Sorting Office for 3 working days - does it really take 3 days to look up the VAT due on a video game import?). Faced with the choice between US $35 for airmail and US $70 for UPS shipping, I chose the UPS. It was handed over to UPS on Friday night or Saturday morning and arrived this morning, bright and early (and before I was actually awake). I suppose it helps that yesterday wasn't a public holiday in the US, but even then the contrast is quite impressive.
I think the main difference is that both UPS and CityLink time deliveries to domestic addresses at times of day when they think there's a reasonable chance of a working person being at home, and visit businesses in the middle of the working day. Whereas Parcelfarce time things vaguely by route, but not very well, so can turn up at a house at 2.30pm, the kind of time when almost no one is home. (Most people with a job would be at work, teenagers are at school or college, retired people may be out shopping or walking the dog before it gets dark, and fulltime parents are probably out or just about to go out to pick up kids from school.) Also UPS and CityLink actually know where the parcel is at all times - sometimes you can even find out that your parcel is in Van Number #whatever - whereas, if their own tracking website is to be believed, Parcelfarce can leave a parcel in a van for 3 days at a time without noticing. How, er, organised.
Anyway, Richard's present came, and it's so cool I want to swipe it for myself :/ Look at teh pictures! It's even the right size for me! Maybe it'll be too small for him and I'll have to keep it? :D Admittedly, a grey furry wolfy top with wolfy ears and claws would be much more "me" than a black furry bear top with bear ears and claws, but I'm not sure anyone's making a wolfy top that I could buy...
Or maybe I'll just have to be happy with my support your right to arm bears t-shirt.