Metro 217

Last week’s column about having to wait in for a delivery company driver who never turned up (but claimed that they had), chimed with lots of you.  Unbelievably the exact same thing happened two days later when the pick up of my parcel was rescheduled.

This time the people at the Early Learning Centre seemed to believe me and told me that they wouldn’t bother collecting their faulty item and would send me a replacement as soon as possible. They’d been let down by their delivery service.

I am a persistent kind of person. You know the popular phrase, “persistence of a herring”, that is named after me (admittedly it’s a phrase that I made up and am trying to popularise and no one is really joining in, but that won’t stop me).

I wanted to find out why I had had my time wasted twice, as much for all the people who’ve experienced the same treatment and had no recourse to get their complaints heard, as for myself.

What had made the driver say they had tried to collect my package when they hadn’t even rung my doorbell? I was going to be like a proper journalist. This could be my Watergate.

The company turned out to be Yodel, which if my Twitter feed is anything to go by, will not be a surprise to many of you. When I mentioned them I got dozens of tweets telling me stories of Yodel informing people they’d been out when they’d been in, or customers finding their package in the bin (which is a safe space with a bit of jeopardy, one day out of seven you’d lost it, like a game of pass the parcel crossed with Russian Roulette) or having boxes of electronic equipment thrown over fences into gardens.

I did ask for any positive stories about the company from my 182,000 Twitter followers and one man said he’d never had any trouble with them and a driver had once waited at the door for two minutes in the pouring rain. So not all bad.

Despite probing no one seemed able to tell me why the driver had claimed I was out when I wasn’t. There were lots of possibilities. They might have had the wrong address. Or be lying. Or all the other possibilities.

If I had had to make a prejudiced guess about what had happened I would say that the delivery driver was running late, realised that my house would take them too far out of their way and had decided to pretend they’d tried to collect the package. To do this twice was audacious, though possibly it was two different drivers.

But it’s too easy to blame the employee. You have to ask why so many people have stories like this. Why do the drivers lie? Because they weren’t being paid enough for each delivery? Because they are penalised by their employee if they are late? I have no idea what the answer is, but it’s hard to think of a reason that so many drivers would just make stuff like this up, unless their employers gave them no real choice.  

I informed Yodel I was going to write about this and gave them a couple of days to comment before my deadline. But they failed to deliver on time. Maybe next week. If I am in.

But kudos to them. It didn’t matter to them that I was a newspaper columnist writing about their business. They treated me just like any other customer. With minimal respect or interest. And they must be applauded for that.

Comedians can be a competitive bunch at times, but this weekend every stand-up in the country was united in joy over the success of the absolutely lovely stalwart veteran, Davey Johns. He is the star of the Ken Loach film “I Daniel Blake” which won the Palme D’Or  at Cannes.  Not bad Davey, but I’ve got a Chortle Award, so you’ve still got a long way to go to catch up.