Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rant: "Overnight" Does Not Mean "4 days Later"

It might be the heat or it might be the sheer incompetence of others, but bloody hell I nearly politely voiced my unfavourable thought train this afternoon in the post office. For two reasons.

1). I was home all morning, went to go out at lunchtime and there was one of those annoying red "attempted delivery" cards from Aus Post in the letterbox. I'll reiterate: I. Was. Home. All. Morning. I was in the shower at the other end of the house for about 15 mins early on, but the chances of them coming to deliver then are pretty slim. So, whilst annoying, one must take a deep, calm breath and prepare to face the tracksuited legions that inhabit the local shopping centre whence the nearest PO is located.

2). The smartarse delivery guy ticked "pick up after 4:30pm" on the card. I know full well they all knock off by 3pm (man on the inside, you see) so there is no way I was waiting til late afternoon to head back down again to collect it. Indeed, when we rocked up after a nice cold iced chocolate at about 2pm, outside the PO door with a box of carded parcels was a delivery man. Maybe not our delivery man, but a delivery man. Bewdy! I thought, the heat allowing such an improper colloquialism to creep into my inner speech bubble. All parcels must be in.

The old biddy behind the desk had other ideas. I handed her my form, and she disappeared 'out the back' for all of, oh, 3 seconds, before coming out and saying 'no it's not here, it says after 4:30pm." I screwed up my face in a most unbecoming manner and said, truthfully, "oh, but there is a man out there with all the parcels, I can hear them being scanned in." Apparently the thought of the walk of 2 metres to the storage area behind the service desk was particularly fatiguing to this perm-headed baby boomer, as she sighed impatiently and said, "yes, I looked there," before firmly handing my form back and shooing me on my way.

Outside, I phoned my man on the inside, who informed me who exactly it was who had carded this parcel AND the fact that this person had finished his shift an hour ago. Thus, my parcel must be at the post office. Steam came out of my ears and it wasn't from the heat.

Luckily there was no line when I got back into the PO or I may have had to lure some pensioners out with promises of back issues of Take 5 magazine. A different, more pleasant lady served us this time, and I held my tongue to see what would happen. I hadned over my slip, she disappeared out the back for, oh, about 3 seconds, and returned clutching my parcel. I signed, bade her a polite au revoir, and left.


2). The actual parcel should've been here on Monday. The website I purchased the item from advertised "overnight delivery to most areas", but did not specify the exact service they used. As we are within Aus Post's Express network I assumed 'most areas' would cover us. After an email to the store (promptly but curtly replied to) yesterday, I was advised to 'wait a few more days'. Um? "Overnight delivery"?? Anyway the parcel turned up by regular (as oppsed to Express) post - not a whiff of Overnight about it. I would put it out there that the only place it would get to overnight would be Sydney and surrounds, where it originated from. Misleading information much? Not the first time it's happened either - a different website once charged me $8 'express' postage, but when I received it, they'd merely stuck two 55c stamps on the parcel- ie spent a whole $1.10 and pocketed a tidy $6.90. I emailed a couple of times with no reply then gave up and promptly spread the word - the site has since closed down but the shopfront may still be operating (boo! hiss!).

Not exactly world-changing, Neighbours-worthy drama but it's the small, simple aspects of customer service that really stand out - whether it's a tiny but unexpected nice touch, or a small but misleading (and ultimately frustrating) detail. Coupled with stinking hot summer weather does not a happy customer maketh!

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