Stand and deliver

(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 (sister’s Christmas present) to (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…

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
This entry was posted in Canada, personal, rants, shopping, whining. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Stand and deliver

  1. Liz says:

    how strange about the anonomous book!

    I could rant and rave all day about package delivery frustrations. I live in a high rise so packages can never be left during the day if I am not home (which I never am). My experiences with Canada Post have been very positive actually. They drop things off at the nearest post office, which is fortunately only a 5min walk from my appartment.

    UPS is another story. I recently had a new laptop delivered by UPS. They left the notice stating they had made the first of three delivery attempts and I phoned them to say I would not be home for the next two attempts so not to bother and I would just pick it up at the depot. I was told that they had to make all three delivery attempts before it would be able to be picked up, which seemed like a complete waste of everyone’s time. After the third delivery attempt, I eventually made it to the depot, which was at the other end of the city and took me 45min each way by bus, and then a walk through a deserted field that clearly wasn’t designed for pedestrians. Anyway, I was pretty annoyed by the whole thing. (the new computer is great though 🙂 )

  2. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Wow – they had to make two completely pointless delivery attempts?! How ridiculous!

    It’s always the private couriers, isn’t it? Like the book… (I’m blaming the second problem on HBC rather than Canada Post 🙂 )

    I was actually just talking to a friend about this, and she says that because she lives close to work her nearest pick-up location is just two blocks from the office and she can go on her lunch break. I know that other offices also open earlier and/or later than mine – I just got unlucky with the location!

  3. cromercrox says:

    We at the Maison des Girrafes are currently waiting for the third of three attempted deliveries by UPS of a Mystery Parcel… I am commanded to wait in tomorrow and not leave the house until it is delivered.

    One day, many moons ago, when we had just moved house, I got a slip through the mail inviting me to collect the parcel from a sorting office several miles away on an industrial estate I hadn’t been before. Fretting about whether I’d be able to find it, I remembered – just as I was about to leave the house – that I’d need personal ID. I hadn’t lived in our new house long enough to have the usual proof of identity such as a utility bill and my driving licence was probably at the licensing authority where my change of address was being registered, so I grabbed what I thought was my passport (I expect you can guess where this is going.) When I got to the office I handed over the delivery slip and passport. The clerk looked at the passport, looked at me, and said ‘Oooh, you HAVE changed a lot since this photo was taken.’ It was of course Mrs Crox’s passport. But I got the parcel.

  4. Steve Caplan says:

    Enjoy the book I sent!

    Just kidding… 🙂

    • Mike says:

      Huh – trying to take credit for the first part of my bribe for next year’s BRC, wise guy?

      Cath, I also sent some further bribes under an assortment of false names, that correspond closely to your family and loved ones.

      Merry fishmass!

      P.S. Dear Santa, please send cadbury’s selection boxes this year.

      • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

        All bribes must be clearly marked as such, please. And all requests to have existing unlabeled bribes grandfathered in must be accompanied by a detailed description of the goods.

        Actually, we have two theories about the book: my sister sent it but doesn’t want to own up until Christmas Day so it feels more like a surprise; I have acquired a weird and crazy stalker via my online activities who wishes to demonstrate knowledge of my address before showing up to kill me. Hoping for the former, obviously.

        • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

          OK, mystery solved – I won it in a prize draw on Twitter back in October and completely forgot about it. It’s nice to know that a book called “The Secrets in Their Eyes” and that, according to the back jacket, features brutal murders and torture, is from a legitimate rather than a creepy source!

          Not that I have any blackmail-worthy secrets (not even close), but it was still a wee bit unsettling!

  5. ricardipus says:

    It wasn’t me.

    At one time, Dell had a policy that if you ordered from them, and you were out, the parcel would have to be picked up at the Purolator depot. By only the person to whom it was addressed. Ignoring the fact that if you answered the door at your house, absolutely anybody could sign for the thing.

    Purolator’s local depot is conveniently open from 9 to 8, only on weekdays.


    P.S. Canada Post occasionally gleefully stuffs boxes into the parcel compartment in our mailbox stack (just around the corner from the house) and lets you know by putting the key in your regular letter box. That’s fine, except for the occasions when the box fits through the back of the compartment, where the postal employee puts it, but not out the front, where there’s a little lip and the lock to get in the way.

  6. Nina says:

    I have fond memories of Canada Post. When my grandma in Vancouver was still alive and fit enough to send packages, Canada Post would have a strike every year or so, and she would try to send us a mega package full of (mostly useless) Canadian stuff, just before the strike to outsmart them. So, basically, those strikes left us with lots of goodies.

    Also, don’t get me started on NZ Post … Although they’re quite funny too. “You want to send this to EUROPE??? But it is very heavy. It will be really expensive. Are you sure???”

  7. Grant says:

    I’m lucky when it comes to receiving stuff I guess. My PO will hold parcels until I pick them up. (I believe it’s a side effect of that the PO offers PO boxes to some local semi-rural addresses with no delivery to their door/house/farm. Since I’ve learnt that I direct what few parcels I get to the PO box. Might not work for very large parcels, like a new workstation though. They hold parcels much larger than my small PO box, but I’m guessing there is some limit to which they get a bit annoyed!

Comments are closed.