Friday, 20 April 2007

Late delivery

DHL are running a stopper scam. So is Parcelforce. Apparently, they're all at it. These are not my words, by the way, they're the words of the nice chap I spoke to on the phone this week, trying to track down our parcels of cosmetic chemicals so that Squirrel, Shark and Tiger can thrash around with beeswax and citric acid, making lip balms, bath salt combinations and soaps.

The parcels were all part of the grand educational plan for Nanjo and the triplets. 'Nanjo, please do home-ed things while I'm working and make chemical stuff to smear all over ourselves.' That's what I said three weeks ago. I would have liked to add, 'Here are the kits.' Then I could have said, 'First week, bath fizzies, second week lip balms, third week, soothing bath salts.' And at the end of the three weeks I could have offered the parting words, 'Here Nanjo, take home some delightful purple bath fizzies, strawberry flavoured lip balm and soothing bath salts. We have quite enough of them now. Anyway the food colouring we used (because I was too mean to buy the proper colouring at £1.60 extra) has turned my lips blue.'

Well, it didn't happen like that. We had no kits thanks to DHL and the stopper scam. Then the Easter holidays got in the way, because the UK has to close down in order to scoff cheap chocolate that smells suspiciously like brown lard.

So, for the last two weeks, Nanjo has not been making chemical confections but has been listening to Grit complaining and whinging, mostly along the lines of, 'Where's the bloody parcel. I've rung now and there's a bloody recorded message saying shove off we're closed for Easter. Damn, blast, drat. Where's the bloody parcel. I've rung again now and they're still not answering. Where's the bloody parcel.' etc etc. To her credit, she has been very patient and not told me to shut up. She just got on with making pink peppermint creams, planting herbs and boiling red cabbage.

The stopper scam is something we've experienced a long time here at The Pile. When I complain at the special Post Office place where we go to collect sad, battered, scammed parcels, all the front of house staff deny it and pretend stopper scamming doesn't exist, which is very irritating indeed.

I'm sure you've experienced the stopper scam too. DHL, or Parcelforce, or whoever, may pretend that they have attempted to deliver the parcels, and they may pretend to leave a card saying you weren't in, when you may have been hovering around the window all morning. Sometimes, bizarrely, they actually do leave a card on the mat saying you weren't in. This is extra annoying, because you were in, and were desperate for a wee. So you then probably suspect them of hiding behind the hedge waiting for you to leave your position behind the curtains at the window, just so they can nip up the path, and leave a card saying they called but look, it's all your fault, you weren't in. Then when you've finished tearing out your hair, stomping about and shouting abuse, there's all the trouble to be gone to about driving 150 miles to the collection point to collect the parcel you ordered which you thought would be conveniently delivered.

Nanjo's off today, back at work at university. And guess what. Thanks to several phone calls, a very nice man at Global Freight Solutions, and a lot of Grit huffing and puffing, today we have the parcels. And when I accused the delivery bloke of running a stopper scam, he looked at me with a studiously blank expression, and said, 'What's that then?'

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