17.10.08

Postman Prat

Everyone who lives in my country knows the state run postal services are a bit slow (In more than one way).
If you enter a post office it's like stepping into a time machine. Someone's slow nephew got a job there in the seventies and they're still sitting at the same dreary desk thirty years on.
Delivering mail has somewhat evolved. No more time for the cheery postman to sit down with the old folk and have a bracer before heading off doing the remainder of the delivery round on his bicycle.
They use cars nowadays in remote parts like these and certainly don't have time for chitchat.
We had to lay big rocks in front of our snail mailbox to rescue our front lawn. The postal vans would just drive up right next to the container, lower the window and pop in the letters without even getting out of the car. You can imagine the grass not standing any chance of survival when it gets run over five times a week.
Something has puzzled me all along: It is a postman's job to put the letters in the box or ring the bell if there is a parcel that needs to be delivered (They always used to ring twice). Well then why don't they do just exactly that?
They have a parcel, someone needs to sign for it. They just need to walk up to the house, knock on the door, let someone sign for it and hand over the goods.
But that's too straight forward, isn't it? What do they do?
They jam it between the metal bars that doubles as the support for the mailbox. Even if it does say 'fragile'.
Or they slip, along with the letters, a notice saying they've been to the door, no one answered it and you can pick up the parcel at the post office. Even when they never bothered to get out of the car!
This has happened on a number of occasions and this week was no exception. While in full view of the house, I saw the postman pull up in his little red van, fill the letter box and scarper off as fast as he could. When I went and opened it there was one of those notes. Dr Livingstone rang the post office to complain. They contacted the driver and rang us back (within five minutes, mind you!) he'd come round again with whatever he was meant to deliver in the first place.
When he came back about three hours later he didn't say anything except grump at me and made himself scarce as quickly as his lazy legs could carry him.
And you know what happened the following day? Dr Livingstone went to empty the letterbox and found some letters in the middle of the street!
Another telephone call.
I once had to send off a parcel, so I had to go to the post office. I had to pay an astronomical amount to ship it. I asked the man behind the counter: "Does it cost less if I break it myself?".
He didn't get it.
The postals'd better brace themselves when their monopoly ends, I suspect they're in for a bit of a shock.

1 comment:

nixps said...

Nice picture.

My postman is using a small motorcycle (like the pizza delivery people).
Not much complaints, the only thing is that I get my post at 13h, sometimes even at 14h-15h, which is ridiculously late.
Strangely it gets better in the holiday period, then I receive may mail at 11h.
Could be that there's less mail in the holiday period, but then again there are also less postmen working I guess...
Anyway, I know my postmen personally, and he's a nice guy.

An at least the Post is evolving towards becoming a full commercial entity, breaking away from hundreds of years of being yet another government institution.
They are miles ahead of our the train company NMBS, which, I fear, is terminally ill.