To the post office this morning. Twice: once to queue up to post some parcels and once to queue up somewhere else to collect one.

At the post office, the woman in front of me wanted a form to convert her Portuguese driving licence into a British one.  Easily done. And she wanted some advice: her mother had recently arrived from Portugal, had found a job, but was having difficulty opening a bank account. Could the post office help? Yes, of course, delighted to. What evidence of identity would be needed? A passport. No problem. And a bank statement or a utility bill. Oh dear.

Then to the sorting office to pick up the parcel. The woman in front of me handed over the card that had been left. The postman went to look for it but came back empty handed. It seemed that the package had not yet come back from the delivery round.  But, pointed out the woman, the card said she should wait two hours before attempting to collect it and two hours had passed. Well, said the postman, sometimes it could be quicker than that. But sometimes it took longer. Such was life. The woman was perplexed. What was the point of putting the waiting time if it was meaningless? Well, it was a guesstimate, it wasn’t to be relied on. Oh dear.


  1. Had a very similar experience at the E8 depot in Hackney – went to collect a package, but was then told to come back after 48 hours (only mentioned this in small print on the card, which hadn’t even been filled in properly). Went back three days later, to be told the package still wasn’t there, but was given a number to call to check before making a journey. Called many times, at many different times of day, but no-one ever picked up. Made a complaint via a heavily buried web form on the Royal Mail website, but only ever received a generic response. Went back a third time, a week and a half later, and they had the package this time.

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