A day in the life of postal worker at Christmas time
All around the country, diligent postal workers are keeping the wheels greased to make sure millions of items reach their destinations before Christmas.
But it doesn't go right a hundred per cent of the time.
Tempers run hot as a minority of postal customers find their parcels and letters missing or damaged, or get stuck in a queue at the post office longer than a school Christmas concert.
Here is a (fictitious) account of a day in the life of a postal complaints desk attendant.
8.15am Out the door. Traffic's a killer. Good luck getting anything delivered in this.
9.10am Call from another customer about the price of postage. Says it costs $14 to send something tiny to an address a few suburbs over. Why don't you deliver it then? I bet you won't. Ha.
9.25am Customer sends photo of an iPad that arrived in the mail bent in the middle at 20 degrees. Aren't they supposed to do that these days? I tell her she should have packed it in bubble wrap. She replies saying she did, and it had two layers of cardboard. The only way it could have got like that is if it got run over by the van. Sure, if the shoe fits! No refund, more bubble wrap next time, vans are heavy. We can look into it, but that'll take ten working days.
10.05am Email from a guy saying he lodged a complaint about a missing parcel and has waited 20 working days without a response. We'll take a look. Ten working days, mate.
10.15am Whack the kettle on.
11.10am Call from a bloke at a high street post office where the queue is 30 deep. Says it hasn't moved because there's a single staff member left to cover everything on their own. I tell him patience is a virtue. He asks how long it should take before he gets to the service desk. Ten working days lol. I should tell him that. Instead tell him to browse the great stuff on the shelves nearby. Ever seen a bobble-head Darth Vader key ring? What about some ink cartridges? You'll love it.
2.10pm Guy from the burbs calls saying his parcels were chucked over the fence and knocked over his bird bath. Now they're wet. Parcels and bird bath ruined. Tell him anyone could have chucked them, might not have been the postie. Says he has CCTV. They always have bloody CCTV. Tell him we'll get on to it in ten working days. He says something about the video going viral on Facebook. Whatever.
2.30pm Call from a lady who says the delivery driver keeps leaving collection slips without ringing the doorbell. Tell her she can't expect a postal service to bring her stuff. Go to the depot.
2.50pm Really angry chat message from a customer who paid a couple of hundred for postage labels through the online portal then had them disappear from her account. Are we a postal service or an IT firm? Try restarting Windows. Says she's using the iOS app. Then restart that! If it's still not working get a new phone or whatever. Just don't expect it to be delivered before Christmas lol.
3:10pm Irate call from a lady saying her stuff hasn't arrived for Christmas. To be fair, lady, it's a busy time of year. She says she ordered it online in October though. Oh well. Maybe they never posted it. She's got tracking numbers though. Stuck in a depot in Sunbury by the looks of it. Oh well. Ask her if she fancies a drive to Sunbury. She asks to speak to my superior. This always happens. Ten working days, maybe. Can't get her off the phone fast enough.
3.38pm Whack the kettle on.
4.30pm Take a wander to the tea room. Have a look at my mail tray. No sign of the books I ordered showing up yet. It's been three bloody weeks. Maybe I should lodge a complaint! Ten working days lol.
4.52pm Knock off.
6pm Check social media. That video of the parcels getting chucked at the bird bath pops up. Pretty funny to be fair. Not as good as the video of the magpie riding on the cat's back, though, that's amazing. Animals are great.
9.30pm Take a look at some work emails. Lots of angry people. Good luck finding another postal service in Australia with a legislated monopoly, folks. You can moan all you like. Time for an episode of The Crown then bed.