Rural and wanting a courier.

I was left asking, is Hermes out of condition?

Now we live at the actual point within our postcode area that the postcode refers to. This can happen with you in a rural area. Rural postcodes here in the UK can be quite big. So from any given point in the post code you cannot see all the houses in it. But in our case, the point your satnav will bring you to is the top of our drive.

Like all these things it has advantages and disadvantages. It’s easy enough to tell people how to find us, even if they haven’t a satnav they can still look at google maps before they set off and mark us on a proper map.

It does have disadvantages, we’re where couriers arrive, almost always looking for somebody else. So I just direct them to their proper destination. Indeed over the years I’ve got to sort of know some of them. One of them from DHL is an excellent driver, he can casually back down any lane to let others through, and does. Another driver got out of his van, saw me walking towards him and said with a big grin, “At last, I’ve got one for you.”

Then there are the various fast food delivery companies. Unlike couriers who tend to arrive during the day, the fast food companies turn up in the evening. It has been pointed out that I could live forever of pizza that other people have paid for. But there are problems. Like the night we had a knock on the door about midnight to discover two Bulgarians standing there proffering a takeaway. They spoke virtually no English and our Bulgarian is distinctly rusty. One held out his phone. This means a swift retreat to find reading glasses. The poor beggars had been given the wrong post code. The right one was in the order but whoever had sent them had put the wrong one on the bottom of the bit they would look at.

I challenge you to explain that in Bulgarian!
Anyway eventually the information was conveyed and off they went, they were only six miles away from where they should have been.

But every so often I do get stuff on line. I was wanting a kneeling chair. (I’m ‘sitting on it’ now) and what with one thing and another I wasn’t going to get into town for a while. I didn’t have time to make a special trip, and a friend of mine showed me his chair which was both comfortable and could be adjusted to fit me. So he emailed me the link and I bought it off Amazon.

I ordered it on the Saturday. I decided not to pay extra for speedy delivery and it was fine with me if it came on Tuesday.

It arrived on Sunday morning. But still, I’d not paid extra.

So I assembled it. But one part (part e) is a pin which should have two threaded ends so that you can put the nuts on them to hold it in place. As you can see from the photo, somebody in the factory hadn’t threaded it.

Muttering to myself, I put the whole damned lot back in the box to return. All I needed was somebody to send me part e, but that isn’t apparently possible. So I ‘told Amazon’ and their web site said that Hermes would collect our parcel “on next business day (Mon-Fri: 8 AM – 8 PM, excluding Bank Holidays), as long as the collection is booked before 11 PM local time.”

We sort of made sure somebody was about all day on Monday but nothing happened. So I contacted Amazon and in the chat I was told that I had to give them three working days.

I pointed out some of us have to work for a living, and I had livestock to feed etc. I hadn’t time to sit with my brain in neutral waiting for the winged messenger of the gods to remember me.
Anyway after three working days, nothing happened. Indeed the Hermes page showed (and still shows) that they’re about to collect it. I mean, it’s barely been a fortnight since they were asked.

When they named the company, Hermes, did they know that “Hermes is the winged herald and messenger of the Olympian gods. In addition, he is also a divine trickster, and the god of roads, flocks, commerce, and thieves.”


Apparently I could take it into the one shop in our local town which deals with Hermes. (I’m not entirely sure whether the others won’t or whether Hermes cherishes some sort of air of exclusivity.)
The problem here, and a lot of rural people will doubtless back me up on this, I buy on line when I haven’t got time to keep going into town. I use couriers to ship stuff I don’t have the time to ship myself. Then there is the fact that Hermes think that we’ve nothing better to do that to sit for twelve hours a day keeping an eye out for them, on the assumption that they will, one day, turn up. Well it’s thirteen days and counting as I write this. Perhaps the winged messenger of the Gods is a touch out of condition?

But as a business model, is it anywhere near sustainable? Something is shipped from the People’s Republic of China, put in a warehouse, shipped out to a destination somewhere in England. One small part is faulty, so it’s stuck back in the box, eventually shipped back to the warehouse. Then what happens? Somehow I cannot imagine that the warehouse manager gets on the phone to a colleague in China and says, “Can you have a word with Old Wang Mang on the lathe, he’s letting part e slip through without threading it again. Oh and drop us another part e in the post will you please.”

So what happens to all these kneeling chairs and other things which are faulty? Do they get sent back to China in disgrace? (I have a mental picture of the battered tramp steamer of shame making its slow way back, avoiding busy shipping lanes and only entering harbours late at night)

Are they sold off dirt cheap to some bright lad or lass who goes through them, salvages what they can and sells them from a market stall in Barnsley?

Enquiring minds want to know.

But anyway, whilst I was getting irritated with Hermes it suddenly occurred to me that it might make more sense to just fix it myself.

I took offending part e out to the workshop and luckily the smallest die in my tap and die set fitted it. So I threaded it, took it back in the house, assembled the chair and I’m now kneeling/sitting on it. It takes getting used to but I’m happy enough with it.
Hermes on the other hand…….


I recommend dealing with the eternally reliable.

Or from

As a reviewer commented, “This book charts a year in the life of a Cumbrian sheep farmer. It’s sprinkled with anecdotes and memories of other years. Some parts (especially when featuring Sal, the Border Collie) were so funny as to cause me to have to read them out loud to my husband. It’s very interesting to read these things from the pen of the man who is actually out there doing it – usually in the rain! A very good read.”

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22 thoughts on “Rural and wanting a courier.

  1. rootsandroutes2012 February 13, 2022 at 5:11 am Reply

    Six miles?! Did the 13 become 12?

    • jwebster2 February 13, 2022 at 6:31 am Reply

      One of the letters was wrong in the second half of the postcode

  2. rootsandroutes2012 February 13, 2022 at 5:15 am Reply

    You’re an unending source of useless information, Jim. I had no idea that such a thing as a kneeling chair even existed… but at least I’ll know where to come when I’m sent a part that’s liable to make a bid for the throne (‘Deformed, unfinish’d, sent before [its] time
    Into this breathing world, scarce half made up’).

    • jwebster2 February 13, 2022 at 6:31 am Reply

      I specialise in it, it may be a gift 🙂
      Which is fortunate if now is the winter of our discontent

  3. xantilor February 13, 2022 at 6:55 am Reply

    My workshop is in Hoxton, central London. I ordered a roll of bubble wrap from Amazon. Hermes tried to deliver it between 7pm and 9pm, twice. There is no way to tell them you are only there during the day – you can only ask for a different day. Then they said they would have another and final go to deliver between 3pm and 5pm. I got quite excited. But they didn’t. Once again they turned up after I’d left for home.
    Getting a refund was the only option. Must order more bubble wrap…

    • jwebster2 February 13, 2022 at 7:19 am Reply

      That’s what got me, looking round the website where I was watching their ‘tracking’. There appeared to be no simple way to communicate with them.
      I suspect they just don’t want the hassle of talking to those they’re supposed to be delivering to.

      • rootsandroutes2012 February 13, 2022 at 7:49 am

        SAYNOTO0870.COM can be your friend under these circumstances. In the case of Hermes it brings up a long list of local office numbers. They might not all be reliable, but in my experience (with other businesses) they’ve got a pretty good strike rate.

  4. Stevie Turner February 13, 2022 at 10:09 am Reply

    I sympathise, Jim. We have a similar problem in that our house is sited on a road that is not part of our address. A neighbour more often than not ends up with our post and vice versa.

    • jwebster2 February 13, 2022 at 1:23 pm Reply

      The idiot thing is we had a courier drop several hundred pounds worth of veterinary drugs at a neighbour, leaving them outside her house, whilst forging my signature on the ticket to say I signed for them
      Because of the nature of the goods the courier needed a special licence to handle them and when I told the company who sent them to me, they threatened the courier with losing their licence if it ever happened again

      • Stevie Turner February 13, 2022 at 1:47 pm

        Wow. Sometimes here they take a photo of you signing.

      • jwebster2 February 13, 2022 at 2:51 pm

        Back then not many people had cameras with phones 🙂

  5. Eddy Winko February 13, 2022 at 10:55 am Reply

    It took me two years and countless ‘report a problem’ forms for Google to recognise the road I built across a field to get to our house, despite the fact that it is clearly visible on their map, apparently there was no way to verify it!

    • jwebster2 February 13, 2022 at 1:24 pm Reply

      Did you suggest they looked on google 🙂

  6. Doug Jacquier February 13, 2022 at 11:35 am Reply

    Had a similar issue with a telescopic ladder from China that was damaged in transit. I won’t bore you with the extensive correspondence that took place but the bottom line was that they didn’t want it back and weren’t prepared to send a replacement. Fortunately my barely existent DIY skills were sufficient to making the ladder at least workable. Somehow I suspect this is built into their business model and a crafty purchaser could develop quite a small business from ‘damaged in transit’ goods. 😉

    • jwebster2 February 13, 2022 at 1:24 pm Reply

      Apparently One company was discovered to be auctioning those goods ‘they couldn’t deliver’

  7. Cathy Cade February 13, 2022 at 12:36 pm Reply

    We know our Hermes guy quite well – we give him the insulated boxes our raw dogfood comes in for his falconry group. We’re a terrace of 12 dwellings in the middle of fields and the Hermes man from the nearest town is often delivering to our drove.
    Returns are another kettle of fish though. We’re still awaiting the proper refund from one UK company who’ve refunded a much smaller amount for the wrong item (which I didn’t return). Unfortunately, the courier who collected the return (not Hermes in this case) forgot to give us a receipt for it (it was bulky and heavy) and I forgot to ask for one.
    Regarding Amazon returns though, I believe they are generally just dumped – there was something of a scandal about it being stirred up before Christmas, but other scandals pushed it out of the newsfeeds.

    • jwebster2 February 13, 2022 at 1:25 pm Reply

      I’ve been told that courier companies are very variable in some areas, if you get somebody good, then the company will be good.

  8. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt February 13, 2022 at 6:28 pm Reply

    For real people, every individual object and return is important; for the online merchants, a 10% (or whatever) loss rate is part of doing business. It is a basic incompatibility.

    Glad you could fix the chair. I eventually got my money back from Paypal for a pair of Chinese sandals because the company never answered Paypal’s inquiry. I think that is part of the company’s business model – people don’t complain, or don’t do it within the returns window (which they cause to happen – deliberately – because you get nowhere for so long trying to contact them. But most people just lose their money if they’re unsatisfied.

    I would never do it again – the amount of effort getting $35 back took wasted hours of my time – but I was mad. I also do NOT buy from FB (the original source of the ad) or, if I can avoid it, China. However, the mobility device I depend on, an Airwheel S8 is Chinese and wonderful – but I bought it through Ebay, and had a similar refund experience because of the pandemic; I used the funds to buy a new one on Ebay (I always pay for the extended warranty) as soon as there were more for sale.

    Global economy + pandemic = huge mess.

  9. colleencamacho59 March 3, 2022 at 2:33 pm Reply

    Yes, they should leave a note. And this note should contain the necessary information.

    However, it depends on the company.

    DHL will bring it to the next post office or Packstation and you can fetch it the following day. But you need the note to fetch it.

    hermes post tracking germany has their own shops. So you have to go there.

    DPD has no shops, they will retry twice and then send it back.

    You should probably try the Sendungsverfolgung (tracking) first. You need the ID of the package fromn the sender, then you can track it on the website or in the app.

    • jwebster2 March 3, 2022 at 2:52 pm Reply

      The problem was that whilst it was on their website as going to be delivered, there didn’t appear to be any way to contact them from the website. Anyway after I got it fixed I gave up and just told Amazon who then did kick off with Hermes who finally contacted me.

  10. colleencamacho59 January 26, 2023 at 8:07 pm Reply

    I also tried the Sendungsverfolgung (tracking) first. You need the ID of the package from the sender, then you can track it on the website or in the app.

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