Monday, February 22, 2010
The saga of the Christmas Jumper
You cannot fail but to be interested by the saga of my Christmas Jumper.
My Dad and StepMum in Cornwall, being very thoughtful people, heard that I was in the market for a new jumper for Christmas. They decided to go to the home of great knitwear to source one for me and ultimately ordered a very lovely little number from Victoria Gibson in the Shetlands.
It was despatched from the Islands and was much anticipated. I do love my jumpers!
When it failed to arrive before Christmas I was fairly sanguine, you will recall the big freeze that stopped any mail from arriving for at least a week (when the LibDems ran out of salt, grit and anything else that could be usefully used to get rid of the ice on our roads and pavements)
However, when it had not arrived in early January we realised there was a problem. The shop had sent the parcel by special delivery so I was able to track it and was told that as 3 weeks had passed, they were very sorry but I was to assume the parcel was lost and that Victoria Gibson needed to claim for the loss and use the money to knit a new jumper and send that on to me.
She duly submitted a claim only to be told, on Thursday last week, that the parcel was imminently about to be delivered.
So when it had still not arrived today, some 2 months after it was first posted, I went to the Liverpool SE Sorting Office on Wellington Road expecting to be able to pick it up. I didn't have the tracking number with me and the staff could not help me without it, apparently they keep the tracked items in a different place to the untracked items (I think that is a real flaw in the system, personally. Knowing my name and address was of no use to them in locating the item). I had to phone Dad in Cornwall who then had to phone the Shetlands and get the number and pass it back to me. I hung around in the Sorting Office for nearly half an hour while this went on. Then when I finally had the numbers, the staff went off to look for it.
After about 10 mins a man came into the waiting room, introduced himself as the manager and asked me to join him in his office, this sounded serious!
He very carefully explained to me that they had tracked my parcel down to the morning of 19th December when it had left their depot bound directly for my house. That it was being carried in an unmarked white hire van, hired to help them get through the large number of Christmas parcels and post, and that unlike the RM red vans, this van carried no tracking device. The Postman evidently left the engine running while delivering a parcel to someone else on his round, and while he was away from the vehicle, it was stolen by a passing opportunist. (How very convenient). This driver/postman has since been dismissed.
The manager told me that he had specifically asked the driver/postman whether he was carrying any special delivery items but the guy could not remember and any paperwork was in the van (another flaw in the system?) so they had believed that there were none until I arrived this morning.
He also said that he assumed that when Customer Services told Victoria Gibson last week that my parcel was imminently about to be delivered to me, they had read 19th December 2009 as 19th February 2010 (a flaw in the system perhaps?) and did really think that it was on its way to me. He also said that because the last thing on the system for the tracking clearly showed that it was setting off on its last lap from Wellington Road to my front door, that they had to think it was going to arrive with me at any moment. Because the sorting office did not know that the stolen van was carrying my parcel, they had not updated the record (ooh, could that be a flaw in a system?)
So, I am to tell the lovely people at Victoria Gibson that they must try again to claim for the lost item, but this time they have to tell customer services what we now know to be the facts, and they need to name the manager of the sorting office as someone who can verify the claim.
And then when they get the money back, they need to knit me a new jumper and despatch it me.
In a final irony, the Delivery Manager at the Sorting Office did say that it would probably be the summer months before my warm Christmas Jumper finally arrives; Indeed!