I've lost count how many times I heard this today.
I got fed up explaining.
But, for all you out there that wonder, here's the reason why the post I was delivering was late. So before you start screaming at your postman, just think how bad their day might be.
I'm currently working on what is known as an Accelerator Service. All this really means is that I drive one of the Crew Buses. I ferry six posties and all their mail and packets out in the mornings. I drop them off at the start of their rounds with their first bag of mail, and arrange times and places to meet them with their second, third, fourth and sometimes fifth bags. In between those times I personally deliver all the firms' mail, the places that have a bulk of letters and such that would fill a bag on their own, or those places that have such long driveways it would be unfair on the posties to walk all the way up them. That's the theory anyway.
The proper Crew Bus for this round is off the road at the moment. I don't know why, it wasn't there on Monday and that's all I know about it. But I've had a replacement van. Six passenger seats and a lot of storage space in the back, no problem. Except that yesterday lunchtime the lock on the back doors broke. This is on a brand new van that had less than two thousand miles on the clock. So, I had to take that van off the road for repairs.
This morning, when I turned up at the transport office to collect a van, I found that the one assigned to my round had two passenger seats. Now I don't claim to be the brightest person around, but even I could see that there was going to be a problem here. Pointing this out to the, for want of a better term, Person, in the transport office, I was told
'You don't seem to get it into your head that there are no vans.'
Oh, the joys of problem solving with the intellectually deficient. Or in this case, defunct. I'll spare you all the details of the argument except to say that he and I don't see eye to eye; but I did get a vehicle with more seats.
Yup, six posties, their bags and a knackered suspension. I chatted to the guys I was supposed to be running out and persuaded two of them that it would be in their own best interest to find their own transport. Which still meant that I had to take four guys and all their first bags out, drop them off and then travel all the way back to the office to load in all their other bags and all their packets.
Unfortunately on the way back to the office the steering column broke on this car that I'd been given.
Oh, how they laughed when I went back to the transport office to take the car off the road. Actually they didn't laugh, but I can't write what they said because it isn't printable by anyone's standards. But fifteen minutes later I am given another car. Yup, still no vans. Oh well, I loaded all the bags and packets into the car like a good, conscientious postie, and then noticed that the car had a flat tyre.
Is anyone getting the impression that this just wasn't my day?
So, out come all the bags and packets again, and the car gets taken off the road.
By now the guy in the transport office is being more than openly abusive to me. Three vehicles in less than 24 hours. I now hold the record for most vehicles in one day. So that's always a plus.
The minus was that there were no more vehicles. No vans, no cars, no minibuses even. I offered to just change the tyre on this last car, but we're not allowed to do that. Not under any circumstances.
Fortunately one of the mechanics was in the yard at the time instead of in the garage where they do all the work and, even more fortunately, I was able to grab him to change the tyre for me. I did have to promise however not to take any more vehicles off the road that day. Their work load was heavy enough now, thank you, very much.
I promised and was able to eventually get all the bags loaded back into the car and get out to give them to the posties, some of whom had now been waiting well over half an hour. Things then started to calm down and seemed to be working properly. I got all the guys their bags when they wanted them, I delivered all the packets for their rounds as well. I then picked them all up at the end of their rounds and brought them back to the office so that they could then finish and go home. I was then able to start delivering my round to all the firms.
The first company I delivered to today got their mail at 10:30am. The last got theirs at 11:15am. Normally the last gets their's at 9:10am. So you can understand why they were curious. I can't understand, however, why they were rude, obnoxious or sarcastic.
What I do know, however, is that in my rush to get everyone their post as early as possible I came a cropper on a dodgy step and hurt my ankle. Now I'm home and have taken my boots off, it seems to have swollen a little. Actually I can't walk without the aid of a stick.
So, a final message to all those that I delivered to today, because of your constant badgering as to why the mail was so late, tomorrow it's going to be even later. I can't walk and therefore can't work. You now have no postman. I didn't take another vehicle off the road; I took me off it.
So, before you next have a go at your postie as to why your mail is late, just remember that there is probably a very good reason... and believe me, it can get a lot later!