View Full Version : UK Mail Delivery

30th Apr 2004, 03:05
There seems to be a lot of discussion in the UK press about mail delivery at the moment. In particular, the failure of the post to arrive for the apparently sacred ritual of opening envelopes at the breakfast table, before the average British worker sets off to make his or her living.
This sounds like a huge amount of b*ll*cks to me. Given that the same UK press bemoans the state of the public transport system and the congested roads, it seems that the mail would have to be delivered the previous evening in order to hit the breakfast table the next morning.
And how many people eat breakfast? And if they do, is it at a table at home?
I live in a relatively low density suburban environment (not the UK), and leave for work to catch the excellent train system at 7.15 am for an 8am start. I eat breakfast at home, but do not feel any burning desire to open my electricity bill at that time in the morning (and it's paid by direct debit anyway). The evening's just fine with me - I don't even know when the mail hits my mail box to be honest.
Why is it in the UK you've got to have the mail with breakfast? How late do you guys start work? Is it a myth being perpetuated?

30th Apr 2004, 08:42
When I was a kid the first post would always arrive before I left to go to school; second post came at around 11.30. These days, there's only one post and it can't necessarily be relied upon to arrive in the morning, let alone before you leave for work. It's not the breakfast table issue that's particularly annoying, just the slipping standards.

30th Apr 2004, 10:09
My post arrives every morning at around 0745, delivered by a polite and friendly postman. After watching last night's 'Dispatches' on Ch4, I count myself lucky.

30th Apr 2004, 10:13
We had our first delivery for a week,on Wednesday,delivered at 1655hrs,non yesterday.Post office attitude if you want it come and get it yourself.Total disgrace.

30th Apr 2004, 10:40
The last place I lived, we didn't get a delivery until gone 10am... but being only 500 yards from a sorting office these days means I get a delivery around 6.45am!

Having seen last nights program, I too count myself lucky now. The folks 'round here are generally a pretty friendly bunch, wear uniforms, say 'ello in the mornings etc. I was a bit peeved at last nights prog to be honest, I really do think they need to take a look at some of their policies and ways of working. or sack a shed load of managers & pay me a wedge to tell them where they've been going wrong.

Boss Raptor
30th Apr 2004, 10:48
My post is still ok with mail arriving between 0730 and 1130 normally however I know people who's mail arrives at 1700 or later on a regular basis

All classes of mail are taking far longer to reach me and/or their destination and I estimate at least 10% of my mail is going missing - and that's mail I know about

I have no problems with my Postmen who all seem a friendly decent bunch, chatting to one this morning he was waiting at 0830 for his second batch of mail to be delivered to him on his round (which was 30 mins late) so he could continue what are now longer rounds - his shift ends at 1030 and apparently if the mail didnt arrive in time he would deliver what he could and then return to the sorting office with undelivered mail which would then have to go out tomorrow - not his fault sounds like an illconcieved and ill supported system

Not acceptable and by the looks of it the master plan to increase postal charges will not actually solve the problems

30th Apr 2004, 10:48
Had to get an urgent letter from Stoke-on-Trent on Tuesday last week, to my daughter at Thetford in Suffolk (she was returning to the US at the end of a 3 year assignment on Saturday). First class stamp and I walked a mile to post it at the main Stoke sorting office, just to make sure of its arrival in time.

When did it arrive?? Friday afternoon.:confused: :confused:

30th Apr 2004, 10:52
The GPO is the last bastion of 70's style belligerent trade unionism in the UK. I cannot think of any private sector equivalent that has got away with industrial disputes based on the spurious reasoning of the postal unions since the 1970's

I'm generalising heavily & of course there are excellent offices, teams & individuals, before anyone points it out but taken as a whole, the network is sick.

I honestly don't think the Royal Mail realises what a commanding position it should have in the letter & parcel market, but as things stand, the private operators are vying to get in on post & Parcel Farce crumbled in the face of decent competition within the last two years. As an industrial customer of parcel force, I have experienced the depths to which they were able to fall. It wasn't pretty.

Leighton seems to be putting in a genuine effort to turn it around & good luck to him, but yet again I worry that a great institution will forever tarnish at ther altar of entrenched unionism.

30th Apr 2004, 11:18
The service we are getting (South West London) is terrible. Sometimes comes at 07:30, sometimes at 13:30 - or anything in between - or not at all. I have seen them dropping mail on the floor as they take their bags out of the car, the other day I observed this guy in civvies who was apparently helping the postie in uniform, at taking the opportunity to have a good look/feel at the stuff he was given to deliver. My wife's cheque book was "lost" in the post and used. I have had credit card statements and other items I knew were coming dissapear or arrive incredibly late. And last year most of our post went to the house next door - occupied by lazy students who didn't bother to post it through our door for a month.

So the quicker they get taken over or replaced by Deutsche Post or whoever else, the better (preferably with no unions).

Mind, no half as bad as post in the US, so shouldn't grumble...

aaaah, I feel better now...

30th Apr 2004, 11:31
A few months ago I had three items mailed to me all around the same time - 2 cheques from a couple of businesses and my passport from the CAA at Gatwick. After a fortnight - nothing heard so I called the Post Office and angrily told them I was going to the police as it turned out they had a temp sorting all the mail around the time it went missing.

Oddly enough, the passsport turned up a couple of days later but the other two vanished never to be seen again. I made sure both cheques were cancelled but never found out if anybody tried to use them.

I think twice about using the mail now and even more so after watching the programme yesterday. Hats off to the guy who spent all that time uncovering this deviant behaviour. It is a shame nothing is going to be done as a result.


30th Apr 2004, 11:39
This post is stunningly appropriate to me, i'm angry that my replacment bankcard hasn't got here yet, (aven though it was posted on monday) so i'm still using my drivers license to get money out from banks before 4.

30th Apr 2004, 12:52
The posts have jogged my memory to period of time a few months ago when I needed a replacement switch card. It took my bank 4 (yes four) attempts to get my switch card to me and they only succeeded when the stopped using Royal Mail and switched to a business courier system. In all probability, I most likely had a bad run of "genuinely" missing post as there were no withdrawals on the account during the 3 weeks when I didn't have a current switch card. But it does get you thinking. In any case, it is hardly a desirable state of affairs however you view it.

I just made sure that the each of the previous cards were cancelled as soon as their expected deliverly date came and went (as current accounts don't have the same level of fraud protection as a credit card). None of them have since appeared.

It was bl00dy annoying to have to rely on credit cards for three weeks as my "local branch" was not that local nor convenient!

30th Apr 2004, 13:36
Everyone in the land could get their post delivered before 09:00 if the posties didn't have to haul around several tonnes of junk mail.

I actually think that our postal service is pretty good. If I post a letter on a Monday morning it is a pretty fair bet that it will arrive at its destination on Tuesday morning. Contrast that with mail delivery in, say, North America. I've posted letters to Canada that have taken weeks to arrive (to addresses in Toronto, so you'd expect a reasonable turnaround).

30th Apr 2004, 14:08
Was it Eddie Izzard who said that "folks who complain about the post office should take their letter and 27p and see how far across the country they can get..." or something like that...:}


30th Apr 2004, 15:25
After the expose last night I would imagine that quite a substantial portion of the population recieved a nasty insight into the some of the messier aspects that the Postal system is plagued by.
One of the worrying aspects revealed yesterday is how the Nigerian mafia has succeeded in infiltrating yet another national service. The problem with them is that they tend not to simply be individual criminals but actualy are dangerously co-operative once they have succeeded in getting into various sensitive positions. They appear to do this more than most other nationalities and are already a scourge in many parts of the globe, not just in the UK.

30th Apr 2004, 15:38
One of the most bizarre labour disputes I have ever heard of was in the Oxford main post office early in March. After repeated complaints to management of about seven bullies among the workforce all the rest of the staff walked out. The nature of the bullying was never disclosed, but obviously was a serious situation. The walkout spread around Oxford, lasted a couple of weeks and of course mail was disrupted. Even though the walkout is now over, backlogged mail is still not delivered and is still being stored.

What I found amazing was the total managment incompetance in being able to deal with the situation and resolve it. Total bunch of amateurs they are.

Tim Inder
30th Apr 2004, 15:42
Thetford in WHERE????? :yuk: :mad: :ouch:

30th Apr 2004, 16:20
I used to work in a Royal Mail Streamline distribution centre - and it was like the CH. 4 programme but worse! There were 2 classes of workers. Or should that be "workers"? There was us - the horde of employment agency sheep, many of us recent barely legal immigrants, who did most of the work. There were the Posties, the permanent Royal Mail employees, who were as a rule fat white porkers specialised in work-avoidance, extra long lunch and tea breaks, dozens of ciggie breaks, occasionally spending a while moving a mailbag from one cage to another.

There was the management, who spent much of their time working on new excuses not to let the agency staff use the canteen, IMHO because a lot of us were black and the fatsters didn't want to eat with them. The walls were plastered with RM anti-union propaganda posters and postie anti-management graffiti. Letters were lost in droves, not that it mattered as Streamline handles "business mail" i.e. junk and bills. A typical 1400-2200 shift began with the meet at the agency, an hour before our bus set off (why?), for the usual depressing theatre of various bewildered refugees trying to get answers out of the payroll guy about the mystery deductions! Or you could watch the manager (and I am not making this up) haggling with a Somali guy about his supply of qat! Then, bus with our crazy driver to work at 90mph+. I always wore the seat belt. No-one else did, weirdly.

A day's slaving, fuelled by kitkats and tea - no hot food or anything with vitamins in due to the racial tension over the canteen.

The bus arrives with the night shift, we board. The driver is talking to himself! This is worrying, because he sometimes shows up under the influence of drugs. Tonight he is just a little stoned, and makes a deal with one of my colleagues for some skunk. Drive back on the late night M25 at silly speed, weaving. One night he was out of his head on E and talking to himself constantly, incoherent. The only things he said that made sense were "for the first 30 years of my life they were poisoning my head.. and then I discovered cocaine", "I'm going to kill you!, and something about the Royal Army Medical Corps. Happy days!

PS, the people involved were First Call Contract Services of Staines. Death, death, death.

30th Apr 2004, 16:57

Norfolk, Suffolk, what's the difference? They're both Third World!!:p :p :p

Dons kevlar armour and runs for cover!

Tim Inder
30th Apr 2004, 18:36
"Somewhere in Hampshire" eh? We'll find ya...:E

30th Apr 2004, 18:44
I think that the Royal Mail is great. You can send a lettter and recived next day. In Spain takes around 3 to 4 days. So I do not untherstand your compleins.


Boss Raptor
30th Apr 2004, 18:53
There is some truth in Pebs' comment, in my experience mail deliveries in many equally developed countries/economies as the UK are terrible in comparison (most if I am honest)...I think what we are saying is the Royal Mail service is not what it used to be a few years ago :ugh:

But there is no rhyme or reason - letter UK to Spain delivered normally day 3 (better than First Class in UK sometimes) - letter/parcel UK to Ukraine usually delivered day 5 - UK to Russia usually about 10 days 2 weeks and up to a month for air mail parcels (think the prob is customs in Russia)

However our postal rates are by far the most expensive I have come across...much more so than the destinations send a letter back to me :confused:

30th Apr 2004, 19:05
If you want to get your mail before breakfast and a letter to take one day to get deliver. You must pay it!


Sharjah Night Shift
30th Apr 2004, 19:29
I'm lucky to get my post delivered three days a week, not at all if it is raining. Sometimes I get mail addressed to my house number but a different street.

Last nights TV programme confirms my theory that they are a bunch of semi literate drug addicts.

High Wing Drifter
30th Apr 2004, 20:16
The people who brought the world the F117A have done a rather superb job of deploying a nation-wide automated mail sorting network. Images are taken of each letter and software tries to work out what it says. If it thinks it got it right then that mail item is redirected. If not then it is displayed on some poor sod's VDU. The computer asks them what the missing letter or number is, they tap the key and off it goes. As you can imagine what it must be like spending hours each day just supplying the "o" for Londxn or turning an upside image the right way up. Do that hundreds of times an hour for a few days and it is not possible to imagine that these people really give a toss where your mail goes. One wrong keypress and your mail goes to Glasgow and not Guildford.

Reminds me of one of those troubleshooter programs where John Harvey-Jones (or was it Smith?) describes the lady's sole job of putting the handles on mugs as "inhuman."

30th Apr 2004, 20:27
What is bizarre is that I sent a book to Perth (Scottish one) from London yesterday, by second class using the signed for (but no guarantee of next day delivery) service and it promptly arrived this morning. Yet, I sent an invoice to a client two weeks ago, first class, ten miles down the road but it's gone AWOL. :confused:

It's the inconsistency of their service which is annoying.


2nd May 2004, 10:58

Don't live there no more. Live in Newbury............Oh, [email protected]@er!!! No I don't mean Newbury, I mean Newcastle, Yeah, Newcastle, moved there last week.:uhoh: :uhoh:

tony draper
2nd May 2004, 11:14
Weekend deliveries seem to have ceased altogether here,next door go away just about every weekend,I pop in to see everything is ok,used to be a pile of mail for me to pick off the mat every morning,been none for ages.

2nd May 2004, 13:14
I'm in SW1 - post is totally random. I get stuff for different numbers in the street, for completely different streets even. Can go a week with no post at all, then 'thunk' - a big band wrapped wad is shoved through the door.

The longest delivery: Two weeks, for a card sent to me from Edinburgh, first class.

Chequebooks and credit cards seem to have about a 50% disappearance rate. Luckily my bank has sufficient safeguards in place to prevent the use of the intercepted cards.

2nd May 2004, 13:45
What I don't understand is the Royal Mail's description of their service changes as part of their restructuring ;

- Second post will be scrapped.

I have never had a second post. I remember getting them as a kid - regular like clockwork at 11am. Last second post I recall was 18 years ago !

What dismays me is the appauling current service.

Changes were recently introduced at my local sorting office - result, I get my mail at 1PM.

That doesn't bother me, but mail gets delayed for 2-3 days in the sorting office. So, a letter posted first class takes up to 5 days to arrive.

The Royal Mail has always been regarded as a dependable service - one of the bastions of British culture I suppose.

Something, somewhere must have gone fundementally wrong.

Further erosion of one of those things that once made Britain Great Britain !

6th May 2004, 06:53
The Royal Mail is Magnificent!! Absolutely splendid! Believe me.

Over here the mail gets delivered when the mail man has collected enough to make it worth his while to go out on his motor cycle. This often takes a couple of weeks. It doesn't help that the there are no proper street addresses either - for example, I live in Number 12, Simpang (Turning) X, off Jalan Muara (Muara Road) This the house between numbers 3 and 8. Once we went without mail for three months when the postman's motorcycle broke down and the Post Office went through the regulation comedy routine' of three tenders to supply spare parts' to be submitted to the tender committee. My neighbour went to the Post Office to complain and was shown a huge heap of letters in the holding pile - "Have a look through that pile, all your mail's in there somewhere". It was too! and being a gentleman he brought the rest of our Simpang's mail with him too. Most people have a PO Box for convenience but many companies won't deliver to a PO Box address.

As I said - The Royal Mail is Magnificent!! Absolutely Splendid! Believe me.

6th May 2004, 12:09
UK mail delivery sure sounds bad.
Where I live we have one delivery a day incl. Saturday at some time before noon. Parcels used to be delivered in the morning as well, but as most people have left for work by then, the postoffice has started delivering such parcels after 1800 hours.
Recently I ordered a huge pc-monitors in a store in Jutland on a Thursday night. I specifically asked for it to be delivered on the Saturday so I would be at home. As it turned out it was delivered by the shop to the postoffice 21.30 hrs on the Thursday night. Immediately taking into a van and driven to Copenhagen and delivered on my doorstep at 08.20 on Friday morning.
Excellent service!!! - except that I had already left for work and thus had to pick up the parcel myself in the postoffice on Saturday morning.