With the demise of many local sorting offices, including Harringay this year and Hornsey early next year, many people are wondering what to do about about collecting their parcels.
For most of us round here, it'll mean a trip to Holloway and whilst making a trip to N19 may not be going to the ends of the earth, it's certainly time consuming.
But worry not, the Royal Mail are a step ahead of you. As I mentioned back in August the Royal Mail has quietly been rolling out an 'efficient' alternative.
The Delivery to Neighbour scheme has been in trial since November 2011. It means that by default, if you're not in when the postman calls, then delivery will be made to a neighbour. Apparently results of the trial have revealed that 92% of customers whose item was left with a neighbour were satisfied with the overall experience. The scheme was approved by Ofcom on 27th September.
Actually, for many of us it will herald the end of a Saturday morning trip to the sorting office and so may work out better than the current arrangements. It might also mean that neighbours who've never talked before actually get to meet.
But, what about people who, for whatever good reason, just don't want their parcels going next door? It seems that's been considered. Anyone can opt out of the scheme. By filling out a form, you can request an opt-out sticker which you are then asked to stick near your letter box. Whilst it's right to have the option to be excluded from the scheme, I'm not sure what I think of the solution. What will having an opt-out sticker on your door signify? Will it say to everyone "I'm just a miserable old misanthropist"? Or will it be seen as a message to your neighbour along the lines of "I just don't trust you, buddy!"?
The good news is that Royal Mail will look at other ways of identifying opted-out houses in future, which could potentially include an electronic opt-out system, or a less visible method.
The scheme roll out started in some areas this week. Watch out for a leaflet telling you when it'll be starting round here.
If you do end up opting out, but still don't fancy a trip to Holloway every time you need to collect a parcel, as I highlighted a few years back, there's always Use Your Local, a scheme whereby you can encourage your local pub to join a parcel delivery scheme.
More Efficient Alternative:
1.Postman places undelivered parcel in purple sack marked 'Veolia'.
2.Places purple sack on pavement by nearest street junction.
3.Addressee retrieves parcel from purple sack at own convenience that evening, next day, at end of week etc.
4.Royal Mail in conjunction with Veolia assure customers of purple sack security: "It will remain untouched and intact."
What about people who don't want to receive their neighbours' parcels?
I mean, you could have reasons to not want to open your door to just 'anyone' who says they have a parcel for someone else! or to not want to see your neighbours; or to not be disturbed at any time of the day; etc?
We've already argued about the sticker at our house, which has several households, some want it and others don't. So we've decided to put it on, but cover it with other instructions on days where something more convenient can be arranged. Still it's not ideal.
I will mourn the loss of the local sorting office and see it as a drop in the service...
I've refused to accept a delivery on behalf of a neighbour from a private delivery firm.
It was not a neighbour I knew at all - was a property a couple of doors up - and they said it was his prescription drugs and I would need to sign for them.
Given that I am often out in the evening, I felt it was a bit risky that he would be unable to get them from me for days and anyway, I'd never heard of him and prescription drugs are rather personal.
So I refused to take and the delivery man was very angry about it and really tried to pressure me.
Given that Royal Mail regularly deliver post for a house with same number number but different road to me, I imagine the risk is that they deliver parcels to someone else's neighbour instead.
I also would want to specify which neighbours they could deliver things too- some are fine, some may not be. I think dropping parcels off at the pub would probably be more convenient plus easier to spot a problem if parcels regularly start going missing.
I've had the problem of my neightbours being out/unwilling to open the door when I go to collect it (especially when it's dark outside and they're elderly/infirm). This means I have to try a number of times, over a number of days, to find someone in to pick up my parcel, and I always feel like I'm inconveniencing them :-/
Exactly! On one hand it can be a sweet opportunity to meet your neighbours and perhaps help them in return with something else, on the other hand you can simply be bothering them. Or both alternatively, depending on the hour and the amount of parcels they receive on a day...
Then there's the time issue, like you say. What if you need your parcel urgently or have paid for express delivery – then every so often it gets stranded next door for days because your unreliable neighbour doesn't notify you when he goes out?
Anyway, hopefully we'll get used to that weird system ...
I think its brilliant - wherever i have lived, in london especially, i have tried to make a connection with my neighbours & at least be friendly as we live in such a selfish world these days, so that if they or I need help, they feel able ask me, and I have had students live above me for last 8years and they are fab even if they need to be told sometimes how it is-
sorry but cant understand on any level why a neighbour would have a prob taking in someones parcel even if its prescription drugs- obviously watching too much CS! on tv
We're talking about replacing a professional procedural service with a variable, discretionary one. I think there are already some examples here as to why it's not necessarily so brilliant an idea. And just because you don't understand doesn't mean that people don't have their own reasons...
You're assuming that I don't talk to my above neighbours, don't have their house keys, or don't invite them to my parties. Perhaps you're wrong! We didn't wait for Royal Mail's initiative to take deliveries for each others.
You're also stating that I obviously watch too much CS on TV? what on earth?!? How can you assume that I even have a TV?
I don't mind the idea in principle but there are several risks/problems with the scheme as highlighted by some of the posts here. I'm not going to opt out - primarily because I get my parcels delivered to work - and I will see how often my neighbours' parcels get delivered to me before I say "yes" or "no" to accepting them - fine if parcels are sporadic but not if I have someone knocking on my door to deliver/collect every day... It's a good idea, I think, but time will tell how exactly it affects me.
Do you think signing this will make a difference?
Lynne Featherstone and Haringey Liberal Democrats are fighting to keep these services local.
One of these sorting and delivery offices is the Hornsey office on Tottenham Lane which will close. The service currently provided there for people in the N8 area will move to another site on Hornsey Road in Holloway. This means people will have to travel further to pick up their undelivered parcels and registered post.
We the undersigned object to the moving of these services and call on Royal Mail to keep the service in Hornsey.