COULD it be possible that our national postal service isn’t actually using our expensive post code system? Well, that would appear to be the case if the tale of one well-travelled West Cork-bound parcel is anything to go by.
Yes, while one organ of the State urges us to use the system, accompanied by glossy TV and radio ads, another seems to be happy to ignore it – An Post.
The fun started when I ordered a gift for a certain (very) close relative’s birthday on April 3rd, for an April 12th birthday, giving me nine full days to get it to my Skibbereen address.
For some reason the last line of the address kept snapping to ‘Bantry’ online, but since we are equi-distant from both towns, and anyway the post code was intact, I decided to let it lie.
I got another email from the website on April 9th saying it had been despatched and, as a result, my guarantee had now been activated.
When the birthday had come and gone, and I had convinced Himself that I hadn’t actually forgotten him, I rang the website to find out where my parcel was.
They told me it was in Bantry, and gave me a tracking order. When I punched in the tracking order’s number, the following fascinating itinerary for my package came up: April 10 – An Post hub Dublin; April 12 – Bantry sorting office; April 13 – Portlaoise; April 15 – Portlaoise (still); April 19 (am) – Bantry; April 19 (pm) – Little Island, East Cork; April 20 – Portlaoise; April 20 – Skibbereen; April 21 – Portlaoise.
The next day (April 22) I was informed it was back in Bantry.
And finally, on April 23rd – a full 13 days after it had left Dublin, travelled to Portlaoise (three times), Bantry (three times), Skibbereen and Little Island along the way, it arrived at the proper address – in Skibbereen.
It was only after tweeting the crazy travels of my parcel (promting lots of comments about it having more of a social life than the rest of us), that I received a response from An Post which said: ‘We require a valid postal address for correct delivery.’
The press office confirmed to me that even though I had the correct Eircode on the item at all times, the correct postal address was needed for ‘local delivery’ because it would not be ‘feasible’ for the postmen to use the Eircode for each parcel.
It leads me to wonder: why did we spend €38m on a postcode service that, it appears, is not being used by our postal service? Answers on a postcard … wait, make that email, to [email protected]