Wednesday 25 November 2020


 I was moaning on about how appalling UPS is at delivering goods in rural Ireland. In July it took ten days to not deliver a book from Oxford to our gaff. Eventually they threw up their hands and subcontracted the delivery to a local carrier who knew where everybody in the parish lived. They mist have lost money on the deal. Why Oxford? Because, like many, The Boy won't deal with Amazon any more; he dealt rather with Blackwell's which has been selling books since 1879. We've just had a twelve day UPS delivery . . . from Blackwell's. At least this time a UPS van made the drop - fore-noon on Saturday - after we'd given up hope for that week.

UPS has a website where you can track your parcel. They [deliberately, I assume] make it difficult for customers to bother a customer-service person because every human-human interaction costs the company money. But dealing with a rogue parcel by their tracker-app is customer-time consuming - and decidedly frustrating as the punter tries to make sense of the reduced-instruction-set jargon excuses and explanations: "No phone number, trying to resolve" "Returning to depot" "Parcel has been re-directed". That last is obviously a catch-all because it popped up an our after The Beloved tracked down a UPS person and attached an Eircode and a telephone number to the tracking number. Eircode was a boondoggle costing we-the-people €20 million to set up a for-profit company. I've explained why it is a crappy ID system partly because it [for quite specious parity-checking reasons] assigns random numbers to houses within a delivery area which is more or less the same as a county. So F43 A103 and F43 A104 could be 20km from each other. In fact, making Eircodes unparsable by UPS and other carriers was deliberately implemented to give An Post, the government carrier, a logistical advantage. They are thriving on Coronarama: more than doubling the number of parcels they deliver each week - to 2 million.

In any case on Saturday I got to meet and exchange phone numbers with the local UPS driver who covers 100 of the scut-end of our county. I made a comment about UPS not believing in Eircodes. He replied "not me, mate, I use Eircodes all the time . . . if I can get the correct one. Head Office don't care though: they just put a random one on rural parcels, so I am skeptical about any added Eircodes". And Blackwell's is part of the problem because they printed a really telegraphic address label with neither Eircode nor contact phone number although both of these were requested and supplied at the time of ordering. Because there is no penalty for woefully late delivery, none of the commercial ventures in the transaction seem to give a damn. The extra time and stress is laid off on the customer who's paying for it all and the delivery driver who has to suffer the occasional tongue-lashing when he's been wrong footed by a spotty youth in Dispatch.

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