The evil of couriers

· by Steve · Read in about 3 min · (617 Words)

I never seem to have very much luck with couriers. I remember the very first time I ever had to have something delivered by courier, it was in fact my very first PC from a company called Multiplex (long since deceased), in 1991 - the days when you really had no choice but to mail-order to get a PC. It was a searingly sexy 386 33Mhz with 14″ CRT VGA monitor (take that EGA / CGA losers!), 1MB video card (oooh), a massive 100MB hard drive, and dual Soundblaster (the original!) and Roland (for MIDI) sound cards. It cost me something like 2-3 months salary and clearly I was keen to see it arrive in one piece, having paid through the nose for shipping too. It took 2 weeks to arrive, and some of that was it sitting behind a door in a barely watertight hut at a local freight depo because they weren’t sure how to classify it for customs and decided they’d figure it out after a few more (days) cups of tea - without telling me of course. This was before internet tracking of parcels so they could get away with it - I was livid.

Since then I’ve had couriers who have just knocked off early and pretended that they called at the house and ‘carded it’ because no-one was home, despite the fact that I was at home all day and there was no card in the door anyway. I’ve had couriers that delayed a couple of days because they “couldn’t figure out where the house was”, because their clipboard was missing a couple of lines of address - this is despite a) the box itself having the full address perfectly clearly on it, and b) even their badly transcribed clipboard had a postcode and a house name, which even a trained monkey should be able to resolve to a location. Basically, all kinds of silly excuses. I’ve often wondered how couriers can get away with charging the fees they do when they often seem so much more incompetent than regular postal services. The only couriers I’ve found that are actually 100% reliable are FedEx, who are locally served by the post office - whenever I need to send something important for my business, I only ever use them.

It should therefore perhaps have been no surprise that my recent order of musical instruments went somewhat awry because of couriers - there were 5 packages in all, originating in Newcastle, 4 of which arrived on my doorstep on Tuesday, after a 4 working day transit (about average when crossing the Channel is involved). But, just for variety, the courier company decided to route the final package to Birmingham, Huddersfield, and then back to Newcastle over the course of the last week. Thankfully (?!) we do have internet tracking now so I can watch it doing its merry dance while I fume. Apparently there are some ‘paperwork issues’, but quite why it took a week-long circular journey around the country before they figured that out, and why the other 4 packages in the same consignment didn’t have this problem,  is anyone’s guess.

So, I have most of my drums, but I don’t have a kick pedal or stool so I can’t really use them properly yet, and probably won’t be able to until next week sometime. Sigh. At least they work, it’s just annoying not to be able to configure the setup properly yet and just play. The best thing is that my wife has her piano set up now, which was in 2 of the 4 boxes that made it through the transit minefield; it’s really good and she seems most pleased.