Last Friday, while I was in France, the postie attempted to deliver a recorded delivery item to me. They say on the card that they will hold RD items for seven days, and then return them to sender. I should have been able to pick it up on the way to Cambridge this morning as I wasn't driving in until mid-morning. But yesterday it turned out I had to come in at daft o'clock instead. There's no-one else to go and pick it up for me during sorting office opening hours (the cat's not so good at signing her name), so I called once they opened at 8am to see if they could hold it for me until Saturday when I could go in for it.
And the bloke in the sorting office turned out to be a total jobsworth, saying he wasn't allowed to: 'The sender pays for the service so he knows it's been delivered within a week,' he burbled.
'Erm, no, surely they pay for the service to ensure that it actually reaches me? And they'd rather it reached me in nine days than have to deal with resending it.'
'No, madam, it's going back to the sender at 1pm because it has to be signed for before then.'
He wouldn't even go and check the letter to see what it was, because I've absolutely no idea what it is or whether it's important. 'I can go and look,' he said. 'But I'm not allowed to tell you who it's from.'
After far too many minutes of going round in circles (and him insisting on continuing to call me 'madam' despite me asking him not to as it makes me feel geriatric) I gave up. He was completely insistent that if I couldn't come in and pick it up before 1pm this afternoon, it would be going back to sender and there was absolutely nothing he could do about it. Miraculously, I managed not to get sweary with him. And hung up.
So I called the Royal Mail complaints line. The bloke in the call centre agreed that the bloke in the sorting office was an idiot and promised to try and see if someone there could be made to see sense. He wasn't sure he'd actually manage to get hold of the manager - he warned me they can be difficult to pin down so they usually email them rather than call - but he'd do his best, and took my mobile number so he could let me know what he managed to sort out.
Ten minutes later, he called back. They are going to hold it until Saturday for me.
Though I have to hope that the office at Lewisham don't send it back anyway, just out of spite.