Thursday, 24 December 2009

Season of Goodwill

A lot of parcels get lost in the post in the UK. Millions of them every year, and probably a high percentage of those around now since so many are foolishly entrusted to Royal Mail before Christmas. (Actually, I believe this is the safest period mail-wise because every parcel is assumed to be a present that has to reach its recipient. Royal Mail employees called off the strike that had been going on for several weeks in October and November because, otherwise, they would have been lynched by their nearest and dearest, let alone the general public. Nothing, but nothing is allowed to get between a Brit and his/her Christmas cards/pressies.)

Anyway, if you agree with the above statement, could you, please, go and tell those neighbours of mine (a young couple from Thailand) who have accused me twice in the past few days of stealing a parcel meant for them. Notice I didn’t say ‘addressed’ to them because, apparently, the sender made a mistake and wrote down my flat number instead of theirs on the label. It goes without saying (but it’s even better said) that I haven’t set eyes on their blasted parcel: all parcels are left with the porter on duty at the time (I know, it sounds ever so grand, but I assure you it isn’t), who enters the name of the recipient – exactly as it appears on the parcel – and the flat number in a book (which you sign when you collect your parcel).

The young girl came to see me first. Her English is practically nonexistent, but I eventually understood she had ordered goods from a company somewhere and the parcel bore my address. I told her that if I got notification of a parcel waiting for me in reception and the parcel didn’t bear my name I would, of course, not collect it and let the porter know which flat it was intended for.

She seemed OK with my response, but the following day, the young man turned up and said – in slightly better English – that he knew I’d recently had a parcel: he’d seen my flat number in the book. The implication being that it had been theirs. Er, no, it is Christmas and lots of people get parcels and, however surprising it may seem, so did I. The parcel, as the name entered in the book indicated, had been intended for me. I also showed the guy the box the stuff had come in – with my name on it.

No doubt their parcel is lost, like all the other unfortunate pieces of mail that never reach their intended recipients, and I expect the company is refusing to send them a duplicate of whatever it was they ordered from them and will carry on telling them, ‘Sorry we made a mistake, but you need to sort it out with the person who lives in that flat.’ I feel sorry for them, but there is nothing I can do. Please tell them that for me – again. And tell them not to turn up on my doorstep any more with an accusatory look in their eyes. They also accused the porter – five times – of the same offence. Enough already! This is England: things will go wrong.



  1. Nice neighbours to have!

  2. Unfortunately, one cannot choose one's neighbours. Fortunately, these particular ones live at the other end of the building so I will probably never see them again (if they stop bothering me).

  3. Neighbors can be so enjoyable. I had a downstairs one that kept on asking me to stop moving the furniture around at 4:30 in morning and could she call me at 4:30 just as a reminder? I told her if she called me at 4:30am I'd call her 3:30 am the next day so no she could not and no I wasn't moving any furniture at 4:30 since I wasn't up. Neighbors can be so enjoyable.

    Hopefully your neighbors will go to the mall from now to shop

  4. There are some very strange people around - usually too close for comfort.

  5. It raises the interesting question of how to prove a negative. I was once accused of doing DIY out of hours. But instead of coming to knock on my door when they heard the noise (thus finding me in my slippers watching TV), they wrote to the managing agents instead. How annoying is that. I was left going 'I didn't, I didn't'.


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