Sometimes my customers don’t understand the postal process and it can be the cause of some friction. The truth of the matter is simple enough: once I have delivered the package to the Post Office, it is out of my hands. There is no more that I can do. For both domestic and overseas destinations, I choose a tracked method which is secure and offers some traceability. How much tracking is available varies from country to country, and the dependability of postal delivery varies, too. Spain, Israel, Hong Kong and Japan seem to have excellent postal services. France and Germany are good most of the time but sometimes there are unaccountable delays in delivery. Eastern Europe can be very difficult, as can Italy. I insure my packages and recompense buyers on the very rare occasions that a pen goes astray but of course it remains a severe disappointment for the buyer.
The USA, strangely, can be one of the most difficult destinations. Packages cross the Atlantic quickly but can spend a very long time in Customs. Even after the package has been released from Customs, the US postal system takes an exceptionally long time to make the delivery. Other times, the whole business goes very smoothly and it takes less than a week for a pen to be delivered to a US address, coming from Scotland. But on some occasions because of the delays I have mentioned, it can take three weeks!
The one benefit of the US postal system is how well the tracking works. Using the tracking number issued by Royal Mail the US Post Office gives detailed information about the current status of the package. That doesn’t hold true for many other countries. All that the tracking may say is that the package has entered that country. No more information is provided until the package is delivered and signed for.
However, it all seems to work very well almost all of the time. In nine years of selling pens all over the world, three have been irretrievably lost – that’s out of three thousand! One pen has been damaged because, somehow, the post van drove over it. The tyre tread pattern was clearly visible on the packaging. That’s what it takes to damage my very strong postal tubes!
9 thoughts on “How It Gets From Me To You”
Occasionally, I buy from a very friendly and reliable seller in Jersey – but for some reason (again possibly those kindly folk in Customs & Excise), the package takes much longer than I imagine it should. Whether Customs from that area open everything or whether it’s their brethren in the U.K., I don’t know, but for the distance involved, I could walk and deliver the thing quicker.
Most buyers here in the U.K. – and possibly the same happens in reverse, though I don’t know – gripe at the import duty levied when buying from the States, which means that a price contracted with a buyer ends up much more expensive that you had bargained originally.
You (may) remember the days when you could get photos developed through the post. One of the major players was in the Channel Islands which greatly upset the locals who had to charge VAT on their sales. To appease them the Government charges VAT on values over £10, hence the delays (The Channel Isles are not part of the EU).
Looks as though we may be paying more import duties and writing more Customs Declarations in the future.
I’ve come across that Channel Islands problem in both directions. A nuisance.
That’s my experience too.
I once ordered something from Jetpens, in California. The package traipsed through the USPS system like so: Los Angeles-Chicago-Miami(!)-Memphis-New York-Montreal-Toronto-Me. Forty-six days. There, in a nutshell, is the United States Postal Service.
If I place an order with Cult Pens, on your side of the pond, on a Sunday, I can have it by Friday afternoon. Five days. This has happened three times so it’s not a fluke. Parcels from Germany invariably arrive in eight business days.
US Customs seems to hang onto thing for a long time.
Also, it escapes me how anyone above the age of ten can’t understand that once one hands a parcel to the post, it is out of the sender’s hands.