Wednesday, December 15, 2010

William Wallace Has Stolen Our Presents

I have in the past gloated about the ease by which one can perform online shopping, the effortlessness of one-click ordering which at this seasonal time of the year means one doesn’t have to wade through the insulated body fat and BO of thousands of fellow Christmas shoppers as they fight to grab the last Toy Story 3 DVD from off the shelves.

But it has its drawbacks. Particularly in a wussy country like the UK which describes moderate snow fall as “unprecedented” and “unexpected” despite there having being snow in some form or other for every one of my 41 years in this country and the weather forecasters actually getting their predictions uncannily accurate for this year (anyone would think there is some kind of science behind this meteorology shit).

A whole heap of presents that Karen and I have ordered through Amazon and other online shopping companies are currently stuck in a post office distribution warehouse in Fife. This despite them being ordered in the last week of November so they’d be dispatched – ha ha ha – in plenty of time for Christmas.

It is now 10 days to go until the big day and things are getting down to the wire. The parcels show no sign of moving. I hear rumours of the postal service being so inundated it’ll take them weeks to work through the backlog (‘cos this level of post during the Christmas period is undoubtedly unprecedented too, right?) plus as most Post Office’s these days are down to one delivery per day anything that doesn’t get delivered for that day gets taken back to the PO and left for the next day where the same thing happens over and over again... or so I’ve been told.

Now, short of invading Scotland and grabbing our parcels ourselves there is little we can do. Karen has emailed Amazon but, to be honest, once the parcels have left their distribution centre they are in the hands of the Post Office gods who in turn are at the mercy of the weather.

And there’s more snow on the way apparently – end of this week and all through Christmas.

The kids have been primed that they might not get all their presents on the day this year. They seem fine with it but, let’s be honest, getting an IOU instead of a brand spanking new PlayStation game just isn’t the same thing.

And I daresay this scenario will be a very common one up and down the country this year. We won’t be alone in our present want.

It’s saddening. Very saddening.

But mostly it’s annoying. Annoying that it takes so little for the various services of this country to breakdown and grind to a complete and utter halt.

But I guess I should be used to it by now because, let’s face it, such breakdowns in service in themselves are hardly what anyone could describe as unprecedented. The wind blows from an unexpected direction in the UK and everyone wails and takes to their beds to recover from the immense shock.

I strongly suspect that lying at the bottom of all these abandoned parcels is a very special package indeed. Something this country has long mislaid and long forgotten is missing. It’s backbone.

If William Wallace wanted to invade now he could just wait for a light drizzle of snow and walk it.

And if he can bring my presents with him when he comes he’ll be sure to receive a right royal welcome at my house.



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51 comments:

Gorilla Bananas said...

I don't see why Amazon has to send its goods all the way to Scotland before returning them to civilisation, but that's beside the point. Tiny Tim never got a Christmas present, but that didn't stop him saying "God bless us, every one." If anyone wants a present, give them hard boiled eggs and nuts.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: hard boiled eggs and nuts? That's going a bit over the top, sir! I was thinking more along the lines of a lump of coal and an orange.

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

ooh, and here's me not even half through my internet Xmas shopping! At least I'll have a ready excuse other than my tardiness.

Kelloggsville said...

I wondered where all m'stuff was. I'm in a worse position, I have to have mine by Friday or all is lost. There is a like G-knaw-mouse Amazon distribution centre right near here, wtf are they doing sending m'stuff to the land of haggis? sigh. I guess we are all just going to have to remember the 'reason for the season' and get back to basics or decide to be Orthadox - dosn't that buy us a few more days?!

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

People are even worse here in Texas about the weather. After growing up in Chicago where I had to walk through blizzards to get to work in negative temperatures, I couldn't believe it when the first time it snowed here they cancelled work and sent everyoen home with the news, "Something is falling from the sky." I felt like Chicken Little as I scurried home that day unsure of exactly what might be coming. Turns out, it was rain. But, hey, I didn't mind missing work after all. Hope your presents arrive before Christmas, safe and sound! And I hope you all feel better soon.

Steve said...

Very Bored in Catalunya: I'm tempted to cancel all my Amazon orders, blame the post office and save myself a tonne of money... "oh I can't believe that new HD ready 8ft TV screen hasn't arrived, I ordered it weeks ago..." etc.

Kelloggsville: a change of religioun might be the only answer. Do I have to give presents if I decide to become a Satanist?

Steve said...

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip: that makes me feel slightly better actually... plainly the UK is just like Texas which somehow makes us feel beefier and bigger. Though still wusses when it comes to the weather.

the fly in the web said...

Yes...they cancel school!

Crumbs, why couldn't they have done that when I was freezing to death at bus stops all those years ago!

Mother often wonders what would happen if there was another Blitz....she said people panicked enough then so goodness only knows what it would be like now...no. of course, I'm forgetting, now people have counsellors to make things worse.

That's probably what's happening to your parcels..post office staff are being counselled in how to over come the trauma of having to work...

Steve said...

The fly in the web: I like the idea of my parcels causing some postie somewhere trauma... that would suggest an adult DVD of European standards or something unholy from an Ann Summers catalogue. Hold on a minute. What am I saying? The posties nick all that stuff first...

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

Are you going to have to tell the little 'uns that Santa is stuck in the snow in Fife?
I have a photo somewhere of my husband at a fancy dress party some years ago, dressed as William Wallace. I went as Audrey Hepburn. Odd couple.

Steve said...

Trish: did he wave a claymore around shouting "freedom!"...? It's kind of a prerequisite.

One of my aunts is a second cousin of Audrey Hepburn... just thought I'd mention that as it one of the few claims to fame that I have.

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

I'm certain he did shout 'freedom' and wave his claymore about a lot!

I adore Audrey - so your claim to fame impresses me HUGELY!

Steve said...

Trish: good man. And for your adoration; good woman!

Heather said...

In your situation I would be just as frustrated and annoyed. However I'm not there, I'm here and I'm laughing my socks off. Not about your Christmas presents, of course, that would be a tad mean, even for me, but at the whole 'unprecedented' malarky.

p.s -10C today in Lapland and nothing is closed, delayed or late.

Rol said...

I'm sick of snow.

I wasn't aware of the Amazon delays, but I'm waiting on quite a few pressies myself. Oh well!

More pissed off that I possibly won't be able to get to a gig on Saturday because of it... but then, I'm a selfish bastard.

Steve said...

Heather: so really no excuse at all then not to get me a Christmas present? ;-)

Rol: nothing wrong with being a selfish bastard. Just don't expect me to get you a Christmas present. Not because I don't like you but because with the snow it just won't get delivered.

libby said...

Don't give up...the magic may still happen!

Steve said...

Libby: alas, it may take the administrations of Harry Potter... or even Lord Voldermort!

Nana Go-Go said...

I fully sympathise with your predicament - I`m a stone`s throw from Fife - want me to go and kneecap somebody?! You can actually see it`s coastline on my latest pic but I don`t think you`ll be able to spot Amazon. Oh, and by the way....penicillin, the telephone,television - shall I go on?....remarkable discoveries and inventions from such an `uncivilised land of haggis`, don`t you think?

Modern Military Mother said...

Godamnit! That is mighty annoying! Bastards!! Read bastards in the way William Wallace shouts 'freedom'. Bloody lazy jocks - they are just doing it to piss the English off I am sure!

Steve said...

Nana Go-Go: no knee-capping necessary as I harbour no grudge or ill will against the Scots being 50% Scottish myself. However, if you could pick my presents up there'll be a wee dram waiting for you here by way of a thank you.

MMM: if they're anything like the posties down here in the land of the Sassanachs they'll be first and foremost doing it to piss off their bosses...

Nana Go-Go said...

footnote :: after the castle visit, I served up a huge pot of steaming lentil soup followed by haggis!(the `real` stuff and a vegetarian version for the wimps).The Kiwis loved all of it!

Steve said...

Nana Go-Go: I'm afraid my Scottish ancestry rears up and stops at haggis though I have been known to wolf down the odd bowl of cranachan...

Mark said...

I work for a distribution company serving retailers. On the WORST day of the recent snow in the North East, we failed to reach 6 retailers - the remaining 1500 got their supplies. If we can do it, why can't amazon! And yes, I'm waiting for about half a dozen parcels from them too.

Steve said...

Mark: can I order via you next year?

Fran said...

I've been hearing about this on the radio. Why does it all go to Scotland? Weird.

Being Me said...

Absolutely nought to do with your post except by rather extraneous link... but that carved monument of William Wallace at Stirling is so anti-climactic when you're standing in front of it.

When you invade Scotland, be sure to check it out. That WW is a pushover, if the likeness is anything to go by.

As you were.

Vicky said...

Okay, I can't blame the snow for not having my shopping done, I am just lazy LOL

English Rider said...

It's only December 15th. Why are you fretting about a problem that has not yet been proven to exist? Has someone changed the date of Christmas this year?

TimeWarden said...

They wouldn't put up with it in America! If the phone lines go down, they'll be back up the next day. Business depends on it! Not several weeks later as in the UK!!

We Brits won't say boo to a goose. An American friend of mine went to see her bank manager and told him to get his shit ass into gear! Exactly what Brown and Cameron should've done instead of pandering.

I'm emigrating to Narnia for Christmas where, even there, they manage to deliver on time!

Steve said...

Fran: you've heard about my presents on the radio? Christ! What has the wife bought me?

Being Me: so he's nothing like Mad Max then? That's a major disappointment.

Vicky: ah but at least you're in control of your own destiny!

English Rider: fretting because they're blaming the current delay on snow we had 2 weeks ago and now more snow has been forecast for this and next week...

TimeWarden: I'd be tempted to join you but I really can't stand Turkish Delight.

Janete Cabral said...

I really hope you them on time ! Fingers crossed for you and your family.

Steve said...

Janete: thank you!

rb said...

How annoying! I hadn't realised there was a problem. I only ordered my stuff from Amazon yesterday so I guess I might not now get it? Pah! And i wasted all that time writing Christmas cards too I guess if they just get stuck somewhere. Oh I so wish I hadn't bothered.

Hope yours turn up on time. Hopefully they will. Christmas is ages away yet, isn't it????? Surely it is.

Steve said...

rb: there is still time but it's running out all the time and the weather forecast isn't good... you might be OK though if your goods are dispatched from the South rather than 'oop North...! Fingers crossed all round, eh?

London City Mum said...

Don't get me started on the snow.

When I was a girl....

LCM x

Steve said...

LCM: by 'eck, is this gonna be a tale about newspaper shoes and lumps of coal for Christmas...? ;-)

planb said...

To be fair to the Scottish posties, they're working harder than I've ever seen a postie work before - we had no fewer that TWO deliveries on SUNDAY (sorry for the capitals but I really did shriek when I saw Andy the postman on a Sunday... and then again...).

Oh, and you can rest assured on one thing - William Wallace would be sorely disappointed with them, because they're backlogged on the ones that belong in Scotland too...

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Brilliant post, Steve, as always. I am in complete 100% agreement with you, and you have worded it so wonderfully. This country is naff. Totally shite at coping with anything. I'm 41, too, and in my 41 years I haven't known the country to be so ridiculously managed that the post office can't even deliver weeks before Christmas. I've ordered loads of stuff online (I can't drive this year and it's scuppered lots of shopping trips, boo hoo) but online is supposed to be convenient, taking the strain out of shopping. However, the post office have made things difficult once again, if they're not on strike they're struggling to cope with the weather. It's pathetic. Absolute garbage.

I could go on, but this is your post and your brilliant writing, so I'll shut up and just nod my head instead.

CJ xx

Steve said...

planb: my hat is off to the Scottish posties then because they're obviously working harder than our lot down here in England! My post wasn't meant to pick on Scotland at all - more the country (UK) as a whole - it's just that Fife is where my presents are currently residing. However, as others have pointed out... there is still time for all to come good! Robert The Bruce can still come and claim his victory!

CJ: that's immensely kind of you and the comment above yours has given me hope that the situation may yet be redeemed for you, me and all those others who have embraced the modern world to shop online only to find that practically speaking the UK is still operating in the Dark Ages...!

The Sagittarian said...

Haven't even started Christmas shopping yet! Oh I lie, I bought Scowly Teen ice skates but she's been using them this term anyway...I like the idea of a lump of coal!

Steve said...

Amanda: given the snowy weather closing in around us we might be using the lump of coal to cook over...!

Löst Jimmy said...

Well I'm a lot further north than Fife, and we've had snow for over 3 weeks now maybe 4 I can't remember.
Hope you get your presents soon, I'm sure they will.
It is not the fault of Scotland by the way

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: my friend, I have been at pains to point out in my comments above that I am in no way blaming Scotland - more the UK as a whole - for the willy-nilly way we deal with a bit of weather. I fixed on Scotland only because that is where my own personal hold-up is occuring... I actually suspect your countrymen are a lot more weather hardened than us soft southeners... but it does amaze me that the UK downs tools when the white stuff falls and yet other countries in similar or worse conditions just carry on as normal.

joebloggs said...

Ah my good man, good to see you have managed to claw yourself out of the mire of sickness and vomit of the past few posts.My sympathies lie with you and the dear lady wife for we to have suffered at the alter of Armatage Shanks, bally shame old man. Now as for the dilemma present before you regarding the useless wretch that is the once Great and Mighty Postal Service of Her Majesty The Queen there is but one solution my boy...Gird up your loins , stiffen that upper lip and tell those blighter's they jolly well better get their act together or her will be hell to pay I tell you... harrumph! Either that or you could get your self what is known in the vernacular as "a nine and go postal on dey ass" Indeed.
Good day to you sir

Steve said...

Joe: I'm veering towards "a nine and going postal on dey ass". Suddenly this could be a most enjoyable Christmas...! ;-)

lunarossa said...

Received items from play.com, O2, tesco entertainment, etc but nothing from amazon. With me they've blamed their distributors not the Royal Mail. The road have been clear for days if not weeks, even in Fife. I blame their bad organization! Good luck. Ciao. A.
PS. I've found another Lego box but maybe I'll wait until after Xmas to post it...

femminismo said...

Well, I will be waiting with bated breath to hear the international news about postal deliveries. Sorry if there is a bit of worry on your street, in your house! More snow, eh? Have you read "The Dark is Rising?" I watched the movie made from the book and sort of liked it, even though it was more modern than the book. If you get snowed in this would be a good one to read.

Steve said...

Lunarossa: that's interesting to hear where Amazon are passing the buck / laying the blame. As for the Lego - thank you, thank you, thank you!

Femminismo: thanks for the book recommendation... perhaps I won't order it from Amazon though...!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Ah well, at least there'll be some things to look forward to in the New Year as well.

My trouble with the Christmas season is the terrible come-down afterwards.

Steve said...

Laura: that's a truly positive way of looking at it - this year we may genuinely enjoy 12 days of Christmas. Or 2 months if the winter is particularly bad.