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Queues affecting Christmas delivery experience

20 December 2011 - 15:00 by Simon Crisp

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UK consumers are complaining that the need to go and collect parcels ordered via safe shopping online ahead of Christmas 2011 from their local Royal Mail depots, because they have missed the original delivery, is perhaps the most grating part of using e-commerce services this year.

A report by the Daily Mail has found that many people are having to queue for up to an hour and a half in the chilly December weather, as they wait to retrieve presents which the postman attempted to deliver while they were out of the house or unable to get to the door in time.

Some people said that Royal Mail should have hired in extra staff to help man the desks at the depots, so that consumers can be united with their parcels without having to hang around in the cold.

Of course the Royal Mail is experiencing the busiest period of the year and invests millions in expanding its workforce with temporary employees, although most of these go to sorting offices rather than to places where they will interact directly with customers.

Earlier in the year Royal Mail took steps to accommodate those who use safe shopping online but cannot reasonably remain at home to sign for special items or open the door when a parcel is too large to fit through the letterbox.

It chose to open 1,400 depots for longer periods in the evening and on Sundays, so that people had a better chance of turning up to collect their parcel after an attempted delivery.

Having to collect parcels after an e-commerce purchase is not a symptom of the Royal Mail alone, with most independent courier firms taking a similar route and delivery statistics not necessarily being better even if you take your business elsewhere.