Talking of stamps, I heard from a friend of mine back in England the other week that there was a bit of a post strike going on. When I departed from England’s shores two years ago, the UK’s postal service seemed a complete mess to me.
So now I live in Australia, what is Australia Post like? Let me tell you some stories…..
Australia Post Tales Part One.
Here in Australia, like America, most houses have a post box stuck on a pole at the end of their drive. Letterboxes in front doors just don’t happen in these parts. It does make sense, many driveways are quite long. Poor old postie would be quite royally worn out having to walk up and down all those drives.
But if the postal service were delivering a parcel, the delivery man would always drive up the driveway and honk his horn and if you were in, you’d go out to collect your goodies. That was until recently when I started getting these green “you have mail” tickets inside my mail box.
On the other side of the ticket, a standard tick box would have been ticked which said “we tried to deliver a parcel to you today at ……. but nobody was home. Please bring this ticket to …… anytime after………. to collect your parcel.
The three gaps would have been filled in with:
- The time they tried to deliver a parcel.
- The address of the Post Office the parcel was now being taken to.
- The time and date when the parcel would be available for collection, this is always the next working day, after 9 a.m.
The other day I picked up one of these green tickets from my post box and it said they’d tried to deliver a parcel at 11:52 a.m. I looked at my watch and it said 11:57 a.m.
“Hmmmm” I thought to myself, “Where was I five minutes ago?” Yes of course!
I realised with some certainty that I was right here at home just five minutes ago. So why didn’t I hear the attempted delivery? No doorbell rang. No van pulled up. I heard no honking horn.
The next day at the Post Office I decided to tell tales. “Your postman left this ticket but I was in, I was! I was! It’s not fair!” I said.
“Yes I’m sure you were in sir” replied the post office assistant. “Under our new contract with the delivery team, they are not required to go down your driveway or knock on your door. Unless they can effect delivery at your post box, they simply write out the ticket and go on to the next delivery.”
It turns out, after further questioning, that the only way the postman will “effect delivery” is if you are standing next to your post box at the end of your drive at the exact moment when the postman turns up. If you are, he’ll give you your parcel. If you’re not, it goes back to the Post Office.
How nuts is that?
Australia Post Tales Part Two.
I left the Post Office and was still shaking my head in disbelief when I sat down in the hairdressers chair to get my hair cut. “You won’t believe what I’ve just heard in the Post Office!” I said.
“OMG! You’ve heard as well!” said my hairdresser “I heard it too this morning. The Post Office is closing down because they can’t afford the $8,000 a week rent.”
Well no, that wasn’t what I was going to say. But it does turn out to be true. Apparently our local post office is going to close down because they aren’t making money. That will mean our nearest post office will be about 10 or 12 km away, about a 15 minute drive.
Australia Post Tales Part Three.
Breaking news: from the Courier Mail, December 08, 2009……
“POSTAL workers across the country will launch industrial action in the lead up to Christmas after negotiations with Australia Post failed to deliver a new enterprise agreement.
The action is expected to include work stoppages, as well as bans on checking for properly-stamped cards or letters, effectively meaning postage-free mail.”
Yes, we have postal strikes here too, but with a twist, it seems. Postal workers will stop bothering to check to see whether a letter has stamp on it. They’ll just deliver it. Now there’s a way to make your employer sit up and listen AND get the support of the customers too.
Looking back, the UKs postal service wasn’t perhaps in that much of a mess after all. In any event, Australia Post don’t seem to be any better. Apart from one thing….
Australia Post Tales Part Four.
Each year at Christmas, Australia Post issues a unique Christmas stamp to be used for delivering Christmas cards only and guess what?
They are discounted!
The regular cost of posting a letter here is 55c, but Christmas cards can be sent out for just 50c. Okay, it’s not a huge saving but it is almost 10% off. I think it’s fantastic that Australia Post offer this discount at what is clearly their busiest time of the year.
So they do have their good points. Now if they could just get their postman to deliver parcels properly………..