Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Royal Mail part 1: A British institution

But who wants to live in an institution?

So the Royal Mail are about to strike over pay and conditions. Again. The main outcome of this, for most of us, will be that the Royal Mail will appear to be not doing their job properly for a couple of days. Is it cynical to ask how appearing to not do their job properly for a couple of days is going to seem any different to the standard state of actually not doing their job properly that seems to preside over any dealings that I have with them?

Yes, this post will probably catch the eye of one or two Royal Mail fans and supporters, but(*).

This post, as ever, is about my own experiences. Any generalisations are flippant and you're welcome to comment with your own counter-examples, experiences and opinions. There will probably be a certain amount of hyperbole in evidence as well. Don't get angry; just divide by three. But my experiences include the following:

Letter delivery
My local Royal Mail employees don't seem to be able to read or count very well. We regularly get letters for people who live at different house numbers, or on different streets, or, most worryingly, a mixture of both. It makes me wonder how much post destined for my hands wanders off and ends up somewhere far removed from the destination written on its front. I can only hope that it undergoes some kind of holistic experience and, although not ending up where it was intended to be, finds itself where it needs to be to play its part in some grander scheme.

We also get lots of post addressed to somebody called 'The Occupier'. I can only assume that this is the self-selected moniker of a local Timelord or archvillain, but unfortunately there is never an address included so I can't forward his mail.

What annoys me most, however, is the amount of post we get through our door that isn't addressed to either of us, or anybody else. My email inbox has facilities to deal with such nuisance droppings, but unfortunately nobody has yet mass-produced a real-world-spam filter to fit my letterbox.

To be continued...

* I work in a profession that is constantly vilified by certain strands of the media and the types of people who get their opinions from somebody they've never met but knows how to mouth-off in print, and think that rather than being paid anything, we should pay for the privilege of being allowed to work in this particular job during the week, and at weekends should be paraded through town centres, battered and bloody, on crucifixes rather than being allowed a rest. I know what it's like to be almost exclusively unappreciated (in a work-life sense) by certain sectors of society. I know there are some Royal Mail workers out there who are diligent, devoted and do their jobs to the letter. I know that you must feel crap that everybody is moaning about you at the moment. Please come and work in Kettering and make my experiences with your company that little bit better, and I'll gladly remove my voice from that crowd.