Always Rings Twice? It’s A Miracle If The Postman Rings The Once

It’s probably fortunate that I didn’t have a blog at the time, but a few years ago, the local sorting office decided to start telling lies about me. I’m sure of this, because various bits of post – including test items that I sent to see if my suspicions were true – were returned to sender with a sticker on saying ‘Gone Away’. It was annoying (especially as it was just before Christmas), and ultimately a serious problem, as the bank (not entirely unreasonably) saw the ‘returned Gone away’ on my statements and suspended my account. Thanks Royal Mail, I hope you enjoyed the money that you were paid in advance to perform a service.

Anyway, that eventually stopped – though not without a lot of hassle from my end – but in recent weeks it appears that the local postman has found a new way to not do his job properly but still take home the pay. A fortnight ago, m’wife was home and went to check the post at about 11am, and saw that there was a ‘Sorry You Were Out’ card on the mat. However, not only had there been no buzz on the buzzer (and she wouldn’t have missed it, ours is very loud), but the ‘attempted delivery’ was noted as having been at 11.45am. Being one who enjoys a touch of sarcasm, she immediately called the local sorting office and asked if our postman was the owner of a Tardis.

They made suitably apologetic noises, and confirmed that yes, the parcel was waiting to be picked up – given that we’re nowhere near the end of the route, it seems probable that the parcel never actually left the sorting office, and that the postman had decided to drop the card in without trying to deliver so he didn’t have to carry the parcel (not a large one, incidentally). I mentioned the above in passing at work the next day, and a colleague agreed this was likely to have been the case – he’d heard a card being dropped through the letterbox (without any knock or ring of the bell), and run down the road after the postman and asked for his item, to be told that er, um, actually the parcel’s back at the depot.

This morning, we received another Sorry You Were Out card – again, with no buzz at the door – and after Mrs Soanes and I had grrred and ground our teeth a bit, I Googled to see if other people had experienced the same level of non-service from Royal Mail. I expected a few matches, but there were literally dozens of people who’d received You Were Out cards with no attempt to establish if they were in fact out. Startling.

Those people, mind, were strangers, and so I’m keen and eager to know if you good people, who actually have names and some of whom I’ve had the good fortune to actually meet in person, have had similar experiences. Have you chased a Royal Mail employee down the road to be told they don’t actually have the item? Have you had cards dropped through without the doorbell being pressed or a knock at the door? Or are you a Royal Mail employee who could disabuse me of the notion that sometimes the post staff just write up the Sorry You Were Out cards in advance, and leave the items at the depot so they’ll have less to carry? Like the Jeremy Kyle research team, we want to hear from you (though you won’t get shouted at ).


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  1. Oh yes I’ve had that one a few times, though it does seem to occur when the regular postie is away and has been temporarily replaced, though normally our larger parcels tend to be delivered by a man in a van at the crack of dawn. I had it happen two days in a row when I was in and the lounge door was open. First time I heard the post fall through the box ut wasn’t expecting a parcel so didn’t rush. Second day I buzzed the postie into the building and waited by the door to get the post and there was another red card, I opened the door but he managed to run down the stairs pretty quickly. Annoying thing was that when i collected the parcels, the first one would have fitted through the door no problem. I think it’s just pure laziness. But judging by the comments and constant queues in the sorting office, it seems ot be something that happpens all too frequently.

    I’m sure a consumer organisation will eventally take them to court for not fulfilling their contract i.e. door to door delivery.

  2. Shy postal workers? Just a thought.

  3. It sounds like your postman has gone ‘rogue.’ A common problem, actually. I suggest you get a tracker in. They’ll be able to find him or her by following the trail of elastic bands down the street. Then, I’m afraid, you’ll have to deploy the elephant gun.

    Let me know how you get on.


  4. They let elephants deliver the post these days?

  5. Ah, this one’s not shy – when he does ring the buzzer, he shouts ‘Postman!’ like Len Goodman yelling ‘Se-vern!’ on Strictly Come Dancing (not that I watch it, you understand).

    He’s crafty, though – he posts the red rubber bands through the letterbox, presumably in an attempt to hide his trail… more rubber bands than letters, a lot of the time.


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