Well, that was kind of weird. Ever since I moved to the area I currently live in, here in Glasgow, I've had issues with the post. Boxes of books sent to me would mysteriously vanish en route and, indeed, pretty much anything which might be perceived to be of value disappeared into the black maw of my local delivery office to never be seen again. I started thinking seriously about getting a PO Box, but at a cost of maybe sixty or seventy pounds a year for what came to maybe half a dozen large deliveries per year, it was too expensive.
In the end I wound up having large items of this nature delivered to a friend's address across the city. My feelings about Royal Mail weren't improved by past encounters with my postman. I hate to colour people with my own personal prejudices and perceptions...but the guy was a total ned. Or, if you're not from Scotland, let's just say that if you encountered him on the street, you'd give him a wide body-swerve.
I'd started to hope this was all over when packages actually started to turn up until I ordered a Kindle last week to replace my Sony Reader. It was due to be delivered yesterday, until I checked the Royal Mail website...which informed me the Kindle had been delivered to me (the precise wording is 'collected by the addressee').
Nope. No sign of it. That left me with only one conclusion: it had been nicked en route, something with which I am depressingly familiar. Calls to both Royal Mail and Amazon confirmed this must be the case.
I got a refund, since I knew a store in town sold them and I was going into town anyway; I'd have bought one there before, but they were sold out. I called the store...and they were still sold out.
By now I just wanted the damn thing already without any more hassle. So having obtained a refund for the first delivery, I went back to Amazon and ordered a replacement with next day, signed for, trackable and hopefully theft-proof delivery.
Today I got a card through the door saying the one I'd originally ordered was waiting at my local Delivery Office. The one, you'll recall, that had 'already' been delivered to me.
So I went down and collected it, even though I'm due to have its replacement delivered this same afternoon. I asked the woman behind the counter what the hell was going on. I said I'd checked the Royal Mail website, and that it had supposedly already been 'collected by the addressee'. The addressee being me, yes?
Absolutely, she said. She had no idea why the website would have said it had already been picked up if it hadn't. I didn't have that wrong.
Great. So I trudged back through the snow and slush with the Kindle that had already been delivered to me - supposedly - knowing another one is arriving this afternoon. Two conclusions: 1 - it was just a screw-up. Someone hit the wrong button somewhere, or did something that flagged the wrong message up on some database. 2 - someone tried to nick it, and changed their mind, maybe because my phone calls flagged up some automatic query, or because they realized the thing might not be usable since, as far as I know, each Kindle has a unique identifier, and that might not have worked if I'd told Amazon it had been stolen. It's all conjecture and guesswork on my part, but it doesn't do anything to improve my opinion of the mail service in this country. Not at all. Amazon are emailing me a posting label to return the one I don't need, but that doesn't help me after I wasted an afternoon on the phone when I could have been working.