Well I was just going to blog about the disorganisation that occurred this morning, but I’ve been pressured into explaining the weirdness that I mentioned this morning on twitter and facebook.
Well let’s start with the disorganisation. At Christmas the postmen and women in my Delivery Office have our hours changed, and we have to start an hour earlier than normal – 5am instead of 6am. This is actually an hours overtime which we have to do.
Now for a bit of background info. We normally have two lorries each morning bringing us mail to be sorted/delivered. These arrive at about 5am and 6.40am. For the Christmas “pressure period”, ie the three weeks leading up to Christmas, this schedule is changed. We get deliveries from the Gatwick Mail Centre at 4am, 5.10am, 6.30am and 6.50am (approx). We also send 2 vans down to Hove Delivery Office (where additional sorting is carried out), to collect additional mail at 5am and 6.360am. Most of the letters are also pre-sorted by machine into the correct walk (mech-mail), and the remaining is done by hand in the office (manual).
So yesterday, we arrived at 5am to find that the revised lorry schedule wasn’t due to start until today! And there was no extra sorting at Hove.
Then today, the first lorry arrived on time with 5 yorks of mail* and the second arrive with 3 yorks on. Not much mail really. The first van went down to Hove and eventually located 1 york of mail for us – most of the staff didn’t know we were even going down there to collect it!
I had sorted and prepared the mail for my duty by 5.45. And then I waited. And waited. And waited.
The 6.30am lorry never arrived and the van that went to Hove at 6.30 returned empty. Finally at 6.55 the next lorry arrived with 9 yorks on board. This lorry contained our first load of mech-mail, but there wasn’t much of it. Most of the mail had to be sorted by hand.
I was finally ready to leave the office to start my delivery at 9.00am, ideally I should be going out the door at 8.20am – any later and I end up doing overtime.
So we had staff waiting around with no work to do for along period this morning – in fact I waited almost 1.15hrs! I ended up doing an extra 15mins at the end of my duty just so I could complete it. So all of the time I spent doing nothing was in effect paid as overtime! No one told us that the third lorry wasn’t being sent, and we sent a second van to Hove when there was nothing to collect. Obviously Royal Mail have never heard of the telephone.
Now for the “weirdness”. As I was bundling up the mail for my round I noticed something strange. There was one whole type of mail missing. Ok, time for a bit more background information.
We have four types of mail normally:
DSA (down stream access) – the mail that we deliver for our competitors, such as TNT, UK Mail and several others
Mailsort3 – this is a business product and can be easily identified by the “M” where a stamp would normally be.
Well today, there was very little (in fact almost none) mailsort3 amongst what I had. I asked my colleagues, and they too had very little of it. This was weird. There is normally a large amount of it. It consists of things like utility bills and bank/credit card statements. This meant that there was not much mail to be delivered – mostly Christmas cards. In fact, whereas the industrial estate I go to normally has severally hundred letters, I could in fact carry it all in one hand today. Several firms that have large amounts of mail had none today.
So I think the reason we were standing around this morning with nothing to do was because we were “missing” a large proportion of our mail. The question is “Why?” It’s possibly that there was very little mailsort3 for us, but that would be very unusual. Or it could be that it was all left up at the mail centre or even sent to the wrong delivery office. But I’m sure neither of those could have happened. I have my suspicion but I’ll leave it to you to make up your own mind. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if tomorrow isn’t a very busy day.
*A “york” is the roll-cage/pallet which we use to load lorries. It’s like a standard pallet but with sides and wheels and built just for us.