(Warning: possibly unreasonable rant follows. But I’m too annoyed to care if it’s unreasonable! So there!)
‘Tis the season for the arrival of exciting parcels from distant lands! There are three such deliveries sitting on my kitchen table, waiting to be packed up with all our other stuff for our upcoming trip to spend Christmas at Mr E Man’s sister’s place. All were sent from the UK via Royal Mail and Canada Post, and all were left discreetly by the back door (which is hidden from the back alley – you’d have to come through a gate, cross the full length of our garden and climb a flight of stairs to be able to see it), with a parcel delivery notice pushed through the letter slot in the front door to alert us to their
presents presence. Easy peasy, no muss no fuss no hassle.
However, other recent deliveries have not gone so smoothly.
The first instance involved a parcel delivery notice stuck to the outside of our front door. Yeah, thanks – just alert everyone on the main road we live on that we’re not home. Lovely. Unfortunately, since I keep my bike in a storage area at the back of the house and Mr E Man had parked his car in the back alley that evening, we both came in the back door and didn’t see it. A second notice was left the next day, stating that
hey there’s no-one home again so come on in they’d made two delivery attempts and would now be returning the package to the sender. I called the number on the slip, found that because they’re based in Ontario they’d already been closed for several hours, called back the next morning, found out that the depot is located at the far side of Burnaby and is only open 9-5 Monday-Friday (thus making it impossible for either Mr E Man or I to get to without missing work), agreed to pay the $10 redelivery fee, had my credit card declined, called my bank, found out that the previous evening’s rapid switch from amazon.co.uk (sister’s Christmas present) to amazon.ca (Ricardipus’ prize gift certificate) had triggered a hold on my card, got my card unfrozen, called the courier back and re-explained the situation to a new agent, paid the $10, signed the sticky form, left it stuck to my front door for the courier (again, signalling to all passersby that there was no-one home), and finally got my package that night.
It turned out to be a book worth $15, unwrapped, and with no note saying who it’s from; all likely candidates deny all knowledge. Weird.
The second example involved a standard Canada Post parcel delivery notice, saying that the item had been taken to the nearest post office rather than left by the back door. This is very unusual and has, in the past, signified that we’ve been sent a really large parcel. Now, our nearest post office is about a 20 minute walk away (you can take the bus, but you have to go in the wrong direction for a while and then usually wait at least ten minutes for a connection), in the opposite direction to work, and is open 10-5 Monday-Friday and 10-2 on Saturdays. I had full-day commitments for the two Saturdays that fell in the pick-up window before they would return the parcel to the sender, and so I asked Mr E Man to get it for me. This is usually fine – same surname plus proof of address has enabled us to pick up each other’s stuff in the past. But this time he was refused – photo ID and a signature were required, and no they couldn’t tell him what the package was. This meant that I had to arrange to come into work late one day, and walk down there in the rain (I thought the parcel might be too big to fit in my bike panniers). After a long wait in the line-up and then for them to carefully inspect my ID and find my item, I was handed…
…a perfectly normal-sized envelope, with a Hudson’s Bay Company logo on the outside.
On the long slow bus ride back to work, I opened the envelope. The letter inside stated that due to new federal credit card regulations, HBC needs to verify all cardholders’ identities. The whole rigmarole of making very inconvenient arrangements to pick up the registered letter was just HBC using Canada Post to verify people’s identities: to get the letter telling you about the next step to keep your account active, you must have had to show proof of identity to a Canada Post employee. This winds me up no end – why is a private company allowed to use public employees to save itself the time and money it would take to check customers’ IDs themselves?! (Maybe this is a perfectly common and normal practice, but I’ve never come across it before). Why is the burden on me (and my friendly local postie and post office operators) rather than on the Bay?! It actually would have been far, far less inconvenient for me to be able to walk into the credit office in any Bay store (there are two very close by, and I’m in one of those two malls at least once every two weeks) at a time of my choosing to present my ID, rather than to have no choice but to take time off work on a weekday. I think at the very least they should have called ahead to explain the process to their cardholders, or to give people the choice of which method to use. I mean, what about working people who live way up in the north of the country, or in other remote areas far, far away from the nearest Canada Post outlet?!
There has to be a better way…