Friday, 17 December 2010

Hermes vs The Elements

It's been a very cold, very snowy December. You may have noticed. Aside from keeping people from walking around town to do their Christmas shopping by throwing them all over the icy pavements and freezing their eyeballs into glassy frostballs, the weather has meant it's been difficult for people to deliver parcels.

More and more people are relying heavily on online shopping, and that's understandable. It's easy and convenient. It's warm and you can sit down. I'm very glad I got my site up this year after too long spent thinking about it. The website's first December has helped balance a little of the drop in walk-in trade, and I'm very grateful for that. I'm careful to get things in first class post the next day, but then it's in the hands of the professionals. And this month, that's not been looking like much of a safe bet. Royal Mail hasn't been too bad, have to say. A little slower perhaps, but even without the weather that can happen in the Christmas run-up anyway.

I have felt badly let down by my courier, though. I have a contract with them by way of pre-paid consignment notes - far cheaper than just arranging a delivery as and when. I had a decent sale from a customer in London, who had called the shop on a Saturday. It was packed and ready for collection on the Monday morning, due for pickup later that day. Nothing happened. I phoned the next day and they were apologetic, but expected collection within a few hours. Again, nothing. On the Wednesday, on phoning, I was told no collections were possible across all of Scotland until the following Monday. The customer was okay with this - as long as they made it by Christmas. On Wednesday the following week I finally gave in and phoned around other firms. I gave up on two as I couldn't get through on the phone. Eventually I found an alternative, promised the customer they would have it tomorrow and waited. And waited. The guy showed up 20 minutes after I was supposed to close, but I was very grateful to see him. Cost me an arm and a leg, but I felt the customer's patience had been tried enough.

It's great when a parcel you've been waiting for arrives, but it's also a nice feeling to walk out of a shop with your purchase.

[EDIT] Turns out the parcel, which should have been delivered on Wednesday, is still in a London depot on Saturday morning. Looking like Monday now - two weeks after it was supposed to be collected for next day delivery. Two weeks, two companies and outright failure. Still waiting for the second firm to call me and explain.

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