I call this the dreaded Christmas post delays as it's usually everyone buying items online for Christmas gifts and card giving that get caught up in the delays. However the delays start mid November. In fact last year (2020) the delays started earlier.
So, what happens to your online orders? I mean from any online seller, not just me. Most sellers that are using Royal Mail will ensure your orders are despatched asap. No seller will want to delay sending your items. However one it's in the hands of the post office or delivery office then there is nothing more we can do for a while. Royal Mail say 10 working days from it being posted before it's classed as lost.
Between us sellers posting your orders to it arriving at your door, there are a billion different routes it may go (probably not a billion but I'm sure it's not a simple route). Even if you live in the same town as your seller you may find you post still has to go from post box or post office, via a distribution centre that's not in your area before making its way back.
Every year there are customers that will say, "where is my order. I've ordered other things from different sellers on the same day and they've all arrived" and they will undoubtedly not believe you when you advise of potential delays. I've been called a liar. In fact someone last year gave me days of abuse claiming there were no delays despite us being in lockdown and it being well known about the driver shortage and staffing shortages across all industries. That person was adamant there were none where they live.
So what I really want to highlight is there may be no delays where you live, but you don't know the route of your order. Your order may have to go through a distribution centre that's had a sudden staff shortage so your order is stuck in a pile that didn't get sorted that night, yet another item you ordered the same day from a different seller didn't need to go to that same distribution centre. The next day another load of post arrives at that distribution centre and if the staff that are left get it sorted, they may get back to that pile of items they didn't finish from last night. They may simply end up adding more post to the pile, so yours is at the bottom. So another day has gone by. Then suddenly it's Black Friday weekend and the orders coming through are 100 times greater than they usually are. But no worries all the Christmas temps are starting. Thank god!
Well as much as we know they will be trained, there will always be teething problems with sudden high demand, low staffing and then loads of new starters. Your order has finally been sorted, but sadly in to the wrong cage and has been sent on a lorry to the wrong destination so you've got to wait even longer because it needs to be sorted and noticed that it's on the wrong route. What a nightmare.
We all say, I wish they would let us know when there are delays. However, Royal Mail won't know there is going be a delay until it actually happens. And they actually do advertise their 'known' delays. I say that loosely as they are going to advertise that your postie is off sick today just more of the big delays where perhaps there is a massive staff shortage or they share the information that not all post has been sorted. When it finally arrives, your postie tries to deliver it and you're not in, you haven't provided a safe place or your postbox it so tight that when your order go in, it get bent or doesn't even fit. It's one massive nightmare for everyone.
I even found out last year that the big companies like Amazon offload any parcels they could deliver of their own, to Royal Mail. If you know me, you'll know I really do not like Amazon, but that rant can be for another time.
The moral of all this is simple. Order well in advance. If you're ordering something that you then need to post on again, beware of the delays and if you really don't want to risk delays, ensure you ask for a GUARANTEED fast service such as Royal Mail special delivery. All other services are not guaranteed to be quick. A lot of sellers won't be openly honest either and will take the risk. Order way before any advertised last posting dates too as they are not guaranteed last posting dates. Provide the seller you are buying from some posting instructions they can write on your parcel, so your postie or courier knows what they can do with it if they need to leave safe somewhere. (Not all services will leave safe by the way). Lastly if you don't mind a risk and you've realised you want something last minute, I often find if you post after the last posting date your post may get delivered really quick depending on when it falls. As everyone has suddenly stopped posting.
Here's another tip. Avoid positing anything on a Monday. Mondays post has an entire weekend of post to deal with so most likely to have delays. Try a little later in the week if you can.
Please be kind to us small sellers this year, it's been tough for everyone recently and we honestly do not sit plotting ways to annoy our customers.
Happy Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy whatever you want to celebrate.
If you've gotten this far in reading my blog, there is a very useful link that isn't well advertised. This link is updated daily by royal mail on known delays in their service. So click on the link to see what's what, or simply type in Royal Mail Service update into your search engine.
I never mentioned Covid once until now. Yeah that spoils it for everyone. End of!