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May 2016

The Bellinghman
Date: 2009-10-08 14:46
Subject: On book deliveries
Security: Public
Let me tell you a story.

When I order something from Amazon, like a lot of people I normally set the delivery point to my workplace. But for a delivery last week, I had failed to do so, and Amazon dispatched it to my home address instead.

Amazon decided, for once, to use City Link. It will surprise few people that, when the courier arrived at our front door gone 11:00 last Thursday, I was not there to take delivery.

Now, if it had been Royal Mail leaving the card, I wouldn't have minded too much. The sorting office is about 2 minutes walk from the desk at which I sit, and I'd have dropped in there the following morning once I'd parked behind it. But that isn't the case with City Link. With City Link, it's a 60 mile round trip to visit their depot.

Drive 60 miles? Or take the morning off work? Or forget the consignment, which I could have replaced for £9.45 at Tesco. (Yes, it was the latest Pratchett book.)

The last option would be the most sensible of those three, to be honest. But on Friday morning, at 9:15, I called up City Link to inform them that the redelivery attempt wouldn't work and to ask them to change it. The lass on the other end of the phone took my details, and offered a change of address, but warned me the new delivery wouldn't be till Monday. She then took my work address, said "Oh, one moment, I want to try something", and asked me to hold.

About 5 minutes later, she got back to me.

At 9:45, I had the book in my hands. The driver had had it on his van, he'd not come round to our area of town yet, and he was able to deliver it.

So distinct plaudits to City Link for this - this was good service.

And now, tale told and on a topical note, I would like to plead to Amazon not to take their small package delivery business away from the Royal Mail. There must be many people like me who have either a sorting office or a Post Office much closer to them than the nearest courier depot.

(Yes, City Link's Cambridge depot is appreciably closer, about half the distance. But unlike us, it's not in Hertfordshire, and City Link's routing takes deliveries to us to their Hertfordshire depot, which is only just outside the M25, right down the far end of the county.)
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Dr Moonray
User: swisstone
Date: 2009-10-08 14:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Our last Amazon delivery came through Citylink, I don't know if this is a permanent arrangement, or a temporary one for the duration of industrial action in the Royal Mail.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-10-08 14:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's happened occasionally before, I think. And I was talking to the 'Amazon City Link' team when I rang them up, so I would assume they've been doing it for a while.
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User: martyn44
Date: 2009-10-08 15:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Our Royal Mail office is right in the centre of Morpeth, a stroll away. The City Link depot (along with the depots for all their competitors, UPS, TNT etc) is on the Team Valley estate in the next county, an exciting 20 mile drive down the A1 and then the same back.

Guess which I prefer.
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User: hawkida
Date: 2009-10-08 15:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've no idea where my citylink or post office collection points are now I've moved, but in Peterborough the post office was a 10 minute cycle away and Citylink was not only a 40+ mile round trip, as a non-driver it was practically impossible to get to. I needed to go to Grantham and then get myself about 4 miles from the station. Er... no!
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Earth-bound misfit
User: captainlucy
Date: 2009-10-08 16:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Aah, Citylink.

I remember ordering some CDs a couple of years ago that were "delivered" by Citylink. I happened to be off work on the day they were "delivered", and was sitting in the living room all morning. The front door was lying open, the television was on and the curtains were wide open, so it was very clear that someone was home. I felt in the mood for a cuppa, so after checking the porch (what, paranoid, moi?) I went into the kitchen, filled the kettle and set it to boil. When I came out of the kitchen, fully 30 seconds later, there, sitting on the carpet in the hall - inside the inner door, so the guy would have actually had to open the inner door and come into the house to leave it there - was one of the Citylink "Sorry you weren't in when we called" postcards. Running to the front door, I opened it just in time to see a white Citylink van pulling away.

I would like to think your experience is evidence if a massive improvement in Citylink's working practices; however, one swallow does not a summer make, and I remain to be convinced. And I wholeheartedly agree with your plea, as the only Citylink depot in the entirety of Northern Ireland is in Nutt's Corner, a good 14 miles from Belfast city centre - handy for the international airport, which is only about 3 miles away, but bugger-all use to almost anyone else in Northern Ireland.
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User: perdita_fysh
Date: 2009-10-08 21:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And lo, this is how I find out there is a new Pratchett. I'm just so out of it these days its untrue! Duly ordered *&)
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Sheep with a guitar
User: sbp
Date: 2009-10-08 23:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Citylink apparently tried to deliver to my place three times the other week without leaving a single card. My mum had to ring them and get it delivered to work.

And yes, their depot is somewhere awkward but luckily not 60 miles away. And you now have to phone them in advance.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-10-09 10:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's 30 miles for me, 60 round trip, since they're just near North Mymms. (As opposed to South Mimms. Spelling consistency? Nah.)
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