Royal Fail

Where does the mail go ?

July 2004 The Post Office announces that 16,000,000 letters were wrongly delivered or lost in 2003. And 1,000,000 letters were stolen. I wonder, which category includes the sacks of mail fished out of the Isis earlier this year ? I presume that most of these thefts were carried out by postmen, but the BBC news item was strangely silent on this. I am amazed that such a large number of letters being stolen by postmen isn't front page news. Perhaps public expectations of the Post Office have already hit rock-bottom.


Time zones (part 94)

When the Great Western Railway brought Greenwich Mean Time to Oxford the most notorious hold out was Christ Church (now better known as Hogwart's) which insisted on keeping the clock on Tom Tower set to the apparent solar time, i.e., about five minutes after Greenwich. The Oxford Sorting Office has now gone one better. Householders in the OX2 area report that second class mail is now arriving over a day before the time on the postmark. My money is on there being a local bonus scheme tied to the time taken to deliver the post, which would at least provide an incentive for monkeying with the clocks. As the ancients said, O Tempora, O Mores.


Minister is ineffective shock

The Oxford Times reports on 16 July 2004 that Stephen Timms, the Minister of State for Energy, E-Commerce and Postal Services, has apologised to Royal Mail customers in Oxford for the "ongoing crisis" in the postal services. Getting to the heart of the matter, he said that Oxford's MPs had complained to him about the service and Alan Leighton (Royal Fail chairman) had assured him that he would fix it. So that's alright then.



Badly behaved dogs are a hazard that postmen should not have to face. Postmen who put up with the same dogs trying to bite them, day after day, have my sympathy.

However, the Post Office has its own private strategies for coping with dogs. One of them is the Dog Warning Card. The Dog Warning Card is meant to warn the postman of an unpleasant dog on the round. This is a great idea, but at the Oxford Sorting Office it doesn't work, because the turnover of postmen is so high that the postmen aren't trained adequately. At the Oxford Sorting Office, Dog Warning Cards are occasions for scatological humour.

Here is an example of a Dog Warning Card from the Oxford Sorting Office. This card was delivered to the householder despite the 24pt bold caps instructing the postman not to deliver. Remarkably, though, the card was actually delivered to the household on the card. The householder had a sense of humour, but I'm not sure the postmen do, so I've blanked out the name and address.

Dog Warning Card