Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The postman always rings twice (but not the UPS man)

It's that time of year again. We've had Black Friday and then Cyber Monday, and Amazon is emailing me ten times a day to tell me about its fabulous 'holiday toy deals'. Never mind the opening of the Advent calendar, the first of December means online ordering kicks in and UPS and Fedex vans, the modern day Santas, are out in full force.

This time last year I was writing this and bemoaning the fact that the London postman NEVER delivered packages, even if you were in, but put a note through the door asking you to go to some god-forsaken depot. Here it is a little different. Packages are delivered, and the delivery guys don't bother to ring the doorbell, even if you are in; they just leave the packages sitting outside on the driveway.

Now, I realise that this is probably testament to the low crime rate in the town where I live, and this has to be a Good Thing. But it never ceases to amaze me. This morning we had a huge wooden play table delivered, and it was just left outside by Fedex, despite the fact that I was here - I can't even carry the thing, so there it will stay until The Doctor arrives home later today. Then a UPS man appeared with another heavy package and just shoved it into my arms and ran off as I was walking up the drive with the Littleboys. (The boys, of course, are incredibly curious as to the contents - so far I've got away with pretending it's 'something for Daddy').

Walking past another house on the street, I saw the most enormous object sitting by the front door - it must at the very least have been a tractor in a box. Our neighbours had a laptop delivered once, and that was just dumped outside with a note. If there were any criminals, they'd be having a field day.

The postman (I really should refer to him the carrier, as that's how he instructed me when we first met) on the other hand, is lovely. If I see him coming up the drive, he brings the mail up to the door instead of putting it in the box; we pass the time of day and have a good chat, and he waves at me when I drive past him in the car in another part of town. (I'm still waiting for him to exchange his uniform of shorts for winter trousers; surely he will when it snows?)

If there's any mail not for us, he keeps it back - I can always tell when he's been away as random letters for previous occupants start appearing. And best of all, here you can leave letters in your own mailbox to be posted, rather than making a trip to the mailboxes in town or the post office. All so much better than my experiences with Royal Mail, although the queues (sorry LINES) at the Post Office for purchasing stamps are just as long.

Now if only I could find some Christmas cards that don't have naff Santa-themed envelopes.....


Nicola said...

OK now you are just trying to make me jealous, annoyed or both!

It's not like that where I live. I spent the morning in the post office waiting an age behind 2 customers. There was just one lady on duty. She was so pleasant when I got to the front of the queue (sooo nearly said 'line' there but stopped myself just in time. phew) but could not have moved any slower to get me 4 stamps and 6 padded envelopes.

I am also so lax at emptying my post box. Usually I am so weighed down with boys and bags that it is too much of an effort to use the key to open the box and empty out the kilos of junk mail dumped in there. So my mail CARRIER is not very happy with me and often leaves me rude notes asking me to 'empty your mail you lazy cow - I cannot possibly shove another catalogue showcasing clothes you can no longer afford until you remove the huge freebie discount food voucher pamphlets...'

I guess she has a point.

Iota said...

I have a friendly efficient smiley mailman, who goes out of his way to be helpful. It's like being in a 1950's cartoon strip. He's always cheery.

The Post Office, though. That's another story. There are signs up saying "DO NOT let your children sit on the counter" "DO NOT let your children touch the items for sale" "We have LIVE LIONS and will feed your children to them" (I'm exaggerating about that third one, but you get the picture.) And the staff are slow and inefficient.

But I love my mailman.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

What did we do before online shopping? It is a godsend!

Anonymous said...

Hoe funny that they just leave things on the drive. They wouldn't last five minutes here before someone had helped themselves.
The Royal Mail seem to be much worse now but thankfully we have Amazon delivery drivers who are much better! Coincidently, I have just received a red postcard telling me to go to a depot miles away and collect something-or-other. I'm expecting many more of those!

Anonymous said...

I got a voicemail from my last delivery guy:
"Hi, this is John the delivery guy, I can't find your house. Can you call me?"

Well yes, if you'd left a number.


nappy valley girl said...

Nicola - don't worry, am with you on the Post Office, it's appallingly slow here and there's always someone having a massive row. But we're lucky with the mailbox - it's one of those classic US ones down the driveway, and the boys are still excited about opening it, so I can never forget to empty it.

Iota - I NEVER met a cheery postman in London. It makes such a difference. But yes, am with you on the Post Office staff (see above). Along with the DMV staff, they seem to have taken a course in how to be grumpy and rude.

BritinBosnia - it is indeed a godsend, and how I intend to do most of my shopping this year.

Rosie - it was the same in London, you would never have left a delivery on the doorstep. In fact if you wanted to get rid of something, all you had to do was leave it outside for five minutes...

Mud - that is v. funny. And haven't these people heard of maps?

erik said...

I am quite envious with the place that you are living in. I can't imagine that no one tries to get your package outside. It is a model community!
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A Modern Mother said...

I call them the mail man. Didn't know they had changed to carrier. We had a similiar experience when we were in La Jolla. But it was a mail woman. She pretty much knew everything about me. And yes I could tell when she was off.

Sounds like the boys are going to get quite a Christmas!

AND have been to the post office twice so far -- and I was home. So annoying.

Mwa said...

We've had a package dumped on the doorstep, which annoyed me a lot, because our door is right on the street.

Anonymous said...

Royal mail drive me up the wall - they never bother to bring parcels round anymore and will just dump one of those red notes through the door saying 'sorry you weren't in'. Well I was, and I want you to deliver my damned parcels! I wouldn't mind so much but the collection point is too far away to walk to and you have to pay a fortune to park. That's if you can even find a space.

Expat mum said...

I get our neighbour's mail almost every day, and sometimes the people in the next street! I do love the fact that you can hand your outgoing stuff to the "carrier" though.
AND if you go to the USPS web site, you can order your stamps too!

nappy valley girl said...

erik - It is indeed impressive. Of course, now I've blogged about it, something is bound to be nicked....

Susanna - don't worry, I haven't gone online shopping crazy. the boys are getting a train set and table for Christmas -hence the heavy boxes. But I'm also ordering stuff for my sister who's coming for Christmas.

Mwa - ooh, those lazy couriers. Still, if you haven't signed for it, it's their responsibility I suppose.

Glowstars - yes, it was like that when I lived in Clapham. And queuing up at the sorting office with 2 small kids was appalling.

Expat Mum - oh, good tip about the stamps. I still can't get over the fact you can't buy them in the supermarket.

Mom/Mum said...

I still love the mailbox at he end of our driveway - after 4 yrs here it's novelty factror hasn't worn off, but like you, I find it annoying I cant buy all the stamps I want at the supermarket. Though some ofthe drugstores (Walgreens & CVS) seems to sell packetsofthe first class stamps.
What makes me laugh about the mailmen/carriers thouh is how lazy they are. If somone prks their car close to a mailbox round here, they wont get out of their little mailvans to walk all of one pace to your postbox. Oh no, they just drive off! With your mail. Plus once, I was home and saw the mailmn drive his little car all te waty to my front doorstep, only to lean out and drop a parcel on the step, beofre he reversed off and out of my drive. Talk about supreme laziness!
Plus, I once got told off from my carrier for putting some prty invitations fo my neighbours in their mailboxes. I didnt have stamps on the envelops as I was hand delivering them, but she said it was a 'federal offence' and was 'tampering' with their mailboxes as only certified m,ail carriers are allowed to touch the mailboxes.
Am now fearful the feds watch my every mail move....!