A tumultuous relationship can be characterised by the frequent to's and fro's between the two, if not many, parties in said relationship. I am therefore to surmise that my relationship with the English Postal service is certainly not tumultuous. It could be called one of gimp and master, or Jack Bauer and Terrorist sans name.
This tale of woe starts many years back, when as a small GAME OVER, many letters were written, much correspondence sent, betwixt myself and other game states. Everything was received and sent without worry or fear. There were no delays. The system worked.
Things, however, have a habit of changing, and change they did.
Privatisation occurred, or as the then government liked to call it, "The ability for competition to exist in the postal sector." And why not? Competition could only be a good thing surely? Something cute and fuzzy that encouraged the habitation of small animals like bunnies, friendly water voles and the like to flourish with plenty of room for all the family. Who could have thought that it would result in more strikes, constant if not regular losses, poor service and a delivery time nearing that of the natural lifespan of a galactic centric black hole?
No one in government obviously.
This is where the meat and potatoes of my gripe sets in.
Three years ago I visited that scary scared nation, the USA. Besides the fingerprinting and iris-scanning to enter the USA, there was little to irk me, besides their love of "terror". Being the good friend I am, I duly purchased duty free cigarettes for a friend of mine, and once returned to blighty, attempted to post them. I say attempted, as getting the damn brick inside the post box was not happening. This is because the slot on the post box was near the size of a mayfly, due to being able to restrict the size of the letter bombs the IRA used to gleefully send around. Fortunately for me a friendly postman arrived, who was more than willing to alleviate me of my item, so he allowed me to dump my package in his sack (Ooh err!).
14 days later and nothing had arrived the half of the way up the UK that I had sent it. Indeed to this day they have not shown up. An unscrupulous postal worked squirreled them away and I do sincerely hope they contract cancer of the lung and possibly the eye to teach them a lesson.
This is not what has incensed me to construct a dazzlingly witty and overly verbose post on the matter. What has is my UK to Sweden relocation, which, 6 months later, is still ongoing. I sealed all my effects in four large tea chests, neatly packed and given ample room all around with several layers of newspaper and bubble wrap. A short taxi ride to the post office and £600 later, I left clutching four tracking numbers in my sweaty mitt, and empty wallet in the other.
Upon arrival to Sweden a week later, I picked up my mail declaring safe arrival of half of my belongings. 'Fair enough' I thought. The Royal Fail do tell you to allow 25 days for your items to traverse customs, and as I had a large amount of spices and other cooking supplies, these could be mistaken for the crack-cocaine I secretly wished them to be, and may have to be opened and delayed. I was also somewhat unfazed as my PC and clothes had arrived, pretty much everything one needs for working in another country. My entire financial history was still in transit somewhere in the North Sea, along with the cooking supplies and several other important, but not life threateningly so, items.
Someone who I shall call Captain Stampy has been at my packages with his feet. Stamping on them, perhaps as you may have gleaned from his name. 90% of everything that could be broken was broken. This man must surely be an artist. Either this is true, or the Royal Fail have gorillas for handlers. Both are probably true.
25 days later and no new arrived were available. Off to the Royal Fail website. The form one must fill out for lost international mail is gleefully "Available from your nearest Post Office.", "Just pop in and ask for the form!" the website happily chirruped at me.
Google Earth thinks that the nearest post office to me is in the Shetland Isles. Google Earth is correct. Thankfully, the Internet can never let you down, only your poor search terms can. So one and a half hours later I managed to find the form and print it off. Incidentally, the Google search took only 0.000085 seconds, slightly faster than the 5 hours round flight time to the Shetland Isles, provided I could charter a private plane, and not have to change somewhere or take the ferry. Whenever Google figure out how to teleport someone via the Internet, I will be first in the queue.
One thing I made sure to do was make a copy of everything I sent back to Royal Fail, as the one thing I could be sure of was that they would probably "loose" everything going into the complaints department.
30 days later I received a letter with the Royal Fail stamp of idiocy all over it. "Hurrah" I thought. They have sent me compensation for all my insured items. Hoping to have a large cheque to fall out, I instead found two letters of acceptance. Acceptance of my original letter of complaint. Wow. 30 days to open a letter? No wonder there was a delay. They must have literally so many lost items that it takes them 30 days to get round to opening the backlog of claims. No wonder the Royal Fail lost out on their "competitive" bid to take over the fire departments rapid response unit. I was assured that there would be action taken on my problem within 30 days or less.
30 days later and one of my boxes has turned up. Captain Stampy, I must say, has become a master of his art. Not a single thing that could be broken was left intact. Even the metal teapot had the lid caved in. Captain Stampy is the new Banksy.
Not only that, but the large curry powder container had been torn to smithereens. That mixed in with the water in the insulating inner layer of a mug formed a lovely yellow paste all over the other clothes and, well, everything.
Captain Stampy 1 GAME OVER 0