I may have something of an obsession with the Royal Mail. That’s because I still use it, both for personal and business purposes. I am particularly exercised by the speed of delivery.
When the Post Office ran it, and even after the two things were split in some bizarre Machiavellian plan for privatization the delivery was pretty good. purposes It wasn’t that Machiavellian actually – the delivery service looked as if it could make a profit, the Post Office side didn’t. The odd thing I discovered running a business that relies on posting parcels out was that despite the alleged differences; first and second class parcel delivery speeds were virtually indistinguishable.
They are very different now.
Recently I have been on the receiving end of a transaction where the second class delivery took a week. I know there was a Bank Holiday involved and Brits love the excuse of a Bank Holiday for all sorts of unfathomable occurrences. Bank Holidays are to us as Alien abduction and Bovine mutilations are to the USA. They appear in times of need to explain disappearances that might otherwise be put down to drunken episodes, infidelities, psychopathy or general fecklessness.
In another case I sent an official form back to a Government Department in a post paid second class envelope and that took four days to arrive. No Bank Holiday, Aliens or deranged psychopaths involved (as far as I am aware).
I know that if I am dissatisfied with the Royal Mail Service I can change providers. Except it really isn’t that easy. There are other parcel services where I live, although it is a very small town/large village. But they are nowhere near as convenient and despite all the headline rates quoted, always more expensive.
So why am I complaining? I am using the most convenient and reasonably priced service in the market. What’s wrong?
Well …the way the quality of service has plummeted since privatization for a start.
I am not against the market. Where it works. But in this case I can’t help feel there is a deliberate downgrading of the secondary price service to drive customers to the premium priced one.
Also I have a big problem with calling something Royal Mail when it is just another joint stock operation designed to maximise profit. The Royal Mails have been organising communications between Crown subjects for many years principally because private services were unreliable and suspect, and the Crown needed secure communications to occur in the realm.
That’s one thing I don’t think has changed and the fragmentation of comms services brings as much confusion and opportunism for exploitative behaviour as it does innovation and service.
Anyway – just get my letters there on time!