Wednesday, 5 June 2013

When it rains, it pours

I went through great pains to describe my gripes with Australia Post lately (see here and here). However, as bad as Australia Post has become, there is an even bigger problem to be dealt with: its competition is not doing any better. And when the entire market is doing badly then it is us, the consumer, that suffers; and it is the entire economy that is affected.
Case in point: I ordered headphones from an online shop. That whole affair turned out wrong in so many ways that I will gladly describe in a future post, but for now I will focus on the delivery of the promised headphones. Those were to be delivered to me by a courier from Toll Priority.
I could see by Toll’s online tracking that I am likely to receive the headphones. And it happened last Thursday, a day in which I happened to be home (sick) by coincidence. I got up at 8:00 in the morning to look after my five year old; come 8:40 I noticed something strange by the door and went out to see the courier had come and gone. Gone, but left behind a note saying sorry they missed me (refer to the above photo).
Yeah, right. Very sorry. So sorry he (I’m assuming it’s a “he”) could not even bother knocking on the door. And yes, I am accusing the courier here, and I feel I can do so based on the fact that two other people I have never met before knocked on my door that same Thursday and they proved fully capable of attracting my attention. The courier, I argue, could not care less; he’s measured by time, not by the quality of delivery experience as perceived by the customer. And there lies the problem. Oh, and it also lies with Toll's call center, whom I called to rearrange the delivery: I complained twice about the courier inability to knock on my door, and on both occasion the guy I was talking to chose to ignore me. Somehow I get the feeling I am not the first to be raising such complaints.
I have to add that this particular case still does not equal the incident taking place a few months ago, which saw my wife out at our front yard and an Australia Post courier brushing by her to leave a “sorry we missed you” note by our doorstep. No, Toll’s case wasn’t as bad. But it was still pretty bad.

Taking matters to a higher level, I argue the whole idea of trying to deliver packages during business hours to residential addresses is silly to begin with. We are past the age of stay at home women; ignoring that only wastes everybody’s time, couriers and us.
It is time we start developing post box like solutions that would allow us to pick packages up 24 hours a day. In this Internet enables world of ours that should not be an issue; all it takes is for the likes of Australia Post and Toll to make an effort. Sadly, between their insatiable desire for money and their lackluster nature, it appears reasonable implementations of such solutions are at the bottom of everybody's priority list.


Sarah said...

Can you get things delivered to you at work and then there should always be someone around to sign for them? My hubby has done that and it has worked quite well assuming whoever is on reception will pass on the package.

Moshe Reuveni said...

An excellent idea, but the implementation is a bit complex. I tried it a couple of times and it worked; then they started saying we're not allowed to use the work address for non work stuff. Most people still do, though.
There are other issues to think about, too. What happens if I'm away (sick, for example)? Can I trust the package to get to me eventually? I cannot control who will accept the package on my behalf and what they will do with it.
Next there is the issue of PayPal. I haven't investigated it through, but some services seem to automatically ship stuff to my PayPal address. Do I want my PayPal address to be my work address? Probably not.
Regardless, I suspect that for most people on most occasions your suggestion would work great. Thanks.