Posted by: Splosher | 18/07/2010

Parcel Force? P*ssing Farce more like!

As I use differing ways of delivering parcels within my job as an eBay manager, I’m acutely aware of which are the best and the worse in the realm of consignment and postage. For the majority of my work-related items, I use a dependable, private courier service that is competitive, always collect on time and offers fair rates; prices do shoot up if any stretch of sea-water has to be crossed and a weekend delivery is non-existent, but all in all I’m happy. The courier service in question offers franchises across the boroughs of the UK, so all the drivers are self-employed with a vested interest in ensuring your carefully packed parcels are handled correctly and appear at the addresses shown on their boxes in the same condition you sent them out in. Out of the many thousands of things I’ve whizzed off this way, only a couple of problems have arose and even these potential disasters have been resolved with a minimum of fuss and turmoil for all concerned; in short, my life is made easier by Interlink Express’ professional work ethic and customer service.

Now, for any other small, work-related items I will use Royal Mail, specifically their Signed For service to cover envelope-sized packets and again, I rarely have any cause for concern due to having a tracking number to follow-up on any discrepancies which may arise. Of course there can always be genuine postal errors – such as a buyer moving home but eBay not updating their address quickly enough in the interim or an item doing a vanishing trick in-transit, never to be seen again – but an emailed apology to the buyer and a rapid refund if needed usually quells a person’s boiling rage for the better. However, all my corrective measures are academic when faced with postage problems on the other side of the eBay coin, namely with me as a buyer and now having to trust a seller to have the same pedantic posting ethos as myself, something you rarely find!

Following on from my recent eBay buying horror and the eventual clearance of a belated Paypal e-cheque (see “In eBay sellers we trust” for more details) I decided to bite the bullet once more and purchase a new flat-screen PC monitor. I’m only doing this as my old Iiyama Vision Master Pro 450 19” CRT has started emitting nuclear fallout at an alarming rate due to age and threatens to mutate my sight because of its all-consuming radiation, so better safe than sorry as cyborg eyeballs are still a fair way off in the future. So I started browsing as soon as the coffers were released to my account and almost immediately spotted a great buy: an LG LCD 22 inch monitor with a buy-it-now price from a reputable online store which matched my new LG LCD television – it’s Feng shui on the poverty line but why not?!

All the checks were undertaken regarding the seller’s feedback stats and their percentages came back fine, showing a minimum of just two negatives against 2000 plus sales during the last year; these dual depressions were only related to a slow postage service, something the seller addressed in his written apologies within the feedback section. Then a quick double-check of the item’s description – which read “refurbished, complete with leads” but not much else – sealed the deal, so at £95 plus an additional £10 for postage I committed and bought the screen, at last confident in dealing with a genuine seller for once. As I paid for the item, I checked the postage options and was delighted to see the seller used Parcel Force’s 24 hour service and with this being only Wednesday morning, the next-day arrival of my new PC monitor was a near-guarantee. Later on that night I received all the tracking info from the company and a click of the number’s link took me to Royal Mail’s Parcel Force site, where I was told my item was last tracked in their Manchester depot at midnight and was “in progress”.

Setting my alarm clock an hour earlier than usual, I awoke the following morning and set off to work in the hope of getting back sooner for the screen’s delivery; to back myself up, I taped a quickly scribbled note to the Postman onto the Plexiglas of my flat’s security door, explaining that any post for my address had to be left with my neighbours in the other five flats within our block if I wasn’t available. With pedals rotating in a perpetual motion akin to gust-driven wind turbine, I was off on the start of my eight mile round trip to my workplace, where all my duties were dealt with in a swift efficiency so I could get away as soon as possible. I finally drew up back at my block of flats, bathed in sweat and with lung-restricted breath, just two hours later at 10.00am and now I struggled to carry my bike, swipe my fob, open the security door and pull off the taped scribbled note all in one fluid, juggled motion. I staggered up to the first floor and my door, where my keys were spun around and still gasping from hoisting the bike up 30 steps, I crashed through and into my flat, looking down behind the letterbox for a “We called but you were out…” card: there wasn’t one.

I spent the next four hours lounging around in my abode, bored to tears and unable to leave the property in case I missed the parcel but as the afternoon wore on, I became more and more pessimistic regarding its arrival. My stress levels began to rise, so I started pacing my front room, looking out of the window in the hope of spotting a red Royal Mail van turning into my street but to no avail; then, my pacing lengthened and took in my hallway as well as my kitchen. Soon, I was so unsettled I had to pop out of my front door and knock on all my neighbours’ flats to make sure my parcel hadn’t been delivered already but according to them, no-one had turned up with a delivery. Back inside my flat, I flicked the computer on to check the tracking number on the Parcel Force website and was astonished to find an update to my item’s journey: the Postman had tried to deliver my screen at 9.45am while I was out at work.

I was livid, although there wasn’t much I could do about missing it now, other than going and knocking on my neighbours’ flats and once they each opened their doors, calling them a set of lazy, lying bastards to their faces. This is true because they’re all out of work on either Job Seekers Allowance or Disability, so they must have ignored the persistent and loud buzzing of their intercoms rather than accommodate me, knowing full well I was at work and without transport to collect the missed parcel anyway. Forgetting my fury, I was straight onto the ‘phone in order to double-check with Parcel Force where my package was and if the Postman was still in the area, to attempt a re-delivery now I was in and waiting.

The telephone call lasted 25 minutes – with 23 minutes of that on hold listening to a series of key prompts, automated voices and arse-clenching music – and I got roughly two minutes with a real human being, although judging by the cretin’s blasé manner I may have been better without any contact whatsoever. He started the conversation by asking me for my tracking number, which I gave to him but had to repeat it twice: he said this was down to a bad line, I thought it was his bad attitude.

“The driver tried delivering the parcel today at 9.45am” responded the telephonic tool with complete boredom.

“I know it says that online,” I replied “but what I want to know is why there’s no calling card left at my address?” Trying to keep my rising annoyance in check was quite difficult.

A pause, then he replied. “Well, maybe he couldn’t gain entry to your property, Sir?”

No point arguing over this as my neighbours had proven their worth as lumped piles of shit, so I bypassed the potential errors in my reply by changing tangent.

“Right, okay… is the driver still out?” I asked, hopefully, “because I’m in now and he could come back?”

Another pause. “No, I’m sorry Sir, that’s just not possible I’m afraid,” slithered from his gob.

I let out a flustered sigh. “Well, can I get a redelivery for tomorrow then?” I barked out. My reserved manners slipping completely away.

“Certainly Sir, a redelivery for tomorrow. Would you prefer a morning or afternoon -” he began but I cut in.

“You see, it means I’ve got to have a day off work and lose money to wait in for the driver…” left my mouth, “… but I’m sat here now, ready!”

His obtuse answers began to infect the telephone line itself. “I know Sir, that’s the nature of the beast, I’m afraid…” Now he was poking the Big Dog. “Which do you prefer? A morning or afternoon delivery?”

I’d had enough of this, so decided to get off as quickly as possible to avoid the imminent meltdown. “Right, morning delivery, okay?” leapt from my tightened lips, “Can you guarantee the parcel will be redelivered tomorrow if I take the morning off work?!”

“Yes Sir, I’m typing it into the computer now as we speak,” came the answer from the world’s most sarcastic moron. “The parcel will be redelivered tomorrow morning at your address, okay?”

I asked for his name as I could not bring myself to converse with him any longer and he said his name was “Paul”, which I scribbled down just in case this information was needed again as I slammed the ‘phone down consumed with a blinding hate for this “Paul”.

So another sleepless night went by, one in which I uncomfortably tossed and turned until dawn arrived; then, I was up at 6.30am the following day, eager and ready for my mind-numbing stint of enforced, home-based lethargy that was to follow all morning. The time dragged by slowly, with seconds ticking into minutes and minutes tocking into hours, until finally I looked up and noticed it was now 12.45pm in the afternoon; still no sign of any deliveries. Once more into the breach of the internet I went, whilst at the same time trying to dial Royal Mail’s number for a connection to my best new friend, “Paul”, only I stopped in mid-key tapping when faced with the website’s updated information: my LG LCD 22 inch television was sat at my local Post Office two miles away and had been there since yesterday dinnertime…

My implosion was complete and with a frenzied yodel that must have shook my lethargic neighbours from their afternoon slumbers, I tossed on my pants, shoes and coat in an inter-connected action worthy of a shoplifter’s best. It was pointless trying to speak to “Parcel Force Paul” as he obviously had less of an idea of my item’s whereabouts than I did, so it was just a case of getting to the Post Office as quickly as possible and carrying the beast TV back on my shoulder like a hod carrier. I rushed across town the two miles, but then had to convince the postal staff that the parcel was mine as I didn’t have the “We called but you were out…” card to show due to the Postman being unable to gain entry because of my f**king lazy neighbours! Then, once I’d proven my identity, I had to carry an awkwardly-shaped and fragile TV for two miles in the rain while trying to catch my breath in an adrenal-sapped, post-furious anger. When I finally reached my block of flats, one of my neighbours had awoken from their protracted slumber and was coming out; a woman in her fifties, she half-smiled as she opened the security door for me to slip through.

“Oh, a new telly, eh? You must have some money, you?! I’ve gotta do with an old-shaped one!” she said in a voice full of confused irritation, “It looks a bit heavy that, you should have got it delivered to your flat?!”

I glanced at her as I slipped through the door, astonished by her bare-faced audacity but refrained from saying anything to her as I’d probably be sat in prison now, awaiting sentencing for the slaughter of a f**king jealous simpleton who was partly responsible for my current situation. Once inside my flat though, any worries melted away as I finally had my new PC monitor in my hands; it’d  been a hell of a stressful 24 hours but everything was sorted now and I had a new addition for my computer and hopefully, a help for my strained eyes. I trimmed the security tape and opened the box carefully, removing the support polystyrene as I went and unwrapping any bubble wrap until I could be see the  glory of my LG’s 22 inch screen and this is when I discovered the true meaning of “refurbished” for myself: to the centre of this beautiful, matte-finish LCD panel was a jagged two inch gouged line, a scratch that only a blind person could miss and was now slicing through my already fragile thread of frayed sanity.

I contacted the company and they said they’d refund me, minus my original £10 postage costs, so having sent the screen back now at a further postage cost of £14, I’ve spent a total of £24 on nothing more than having the privilege of carrying a TV for four miles to and from my local Post Office, that’s it. Oh, the joy of having the piss taken, eh?

The post-note for this tale of woe is simple, really: don’t use eBay anymore as you can’t trust a single f**king seller on there and even if you get lucky, then your item will probably end up in Parcel Force’s hands who’ll manage to inflict some grievous disaster somewhere down the line, so you’re f**ked at both ends, regardless! 


  1. […] Excerpt from as well as some-more about: lcd display Parcel Force? P*ssing Farce some-more like! « The Boiling Rage […]

  2. […] Parcel Force? P*ssing Farce more like! « The Boiling Rage […]

  3. […] Parcel Force? P*ssing Farce some-more like! « The Boiling Rage […]

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