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On the last legs of a monopoly

The Swiss postal service tried to deliver an express parcel yesterday at 12:50. Since I was not home but rather engaging in what many workers do around that time — eating lunch — I got a note instead, with instructions on how to obtain the delivery: I can collect it at the central post office, which is about 15 minutes by public transport from my place, or I can pay 10 Swiss Franks for a second delivery.

I decided to first find out who tried to send me such important stuff and called their number; no answer. My phone tried on auto-dial every few minutes all of yesterday afternoon and this morning; no dice.

Finally, just now, I got someone on the line, 22 hours after the delivery was made, and I found out that the delivery is not as express as the sender thought, so I asked the guy whether he couldn't just make it regular, registered mail, which would come to 6 Franks.

He said he could not do that, he could only make a second delivery for 10 Franks.

Given that public transport and time would exceed those 10 Franks, I agreed and asked him to send someone this afternoon between 15:00 and 19:00 hours.

"Oh, I am sorry, but we cannot schedule deliveries; your parcel will be delivered within the next 24 hours."

Unfortunately, since the parcel was sent by registered mail in the first place, it is also not possible for me to have it sent to e.g. the university office, or some other place where people are basically around throughout the day. Hence my only option is to make my way to the central post office to collect the parcel.

The private carriers may still be a little more expensive (though the difference is shrinking), but they seem a lot more competent: if a delivery cannot be made, the carrier returns the next day within a specified time window. If the delivery still cannot be made, you are asked to call in and arrange for a third delivery, or a pickup. No extra costs are incurred.

It's high time that the private carriers finally deal with those companies who continue to rest on the laurels of their former monopolies. And this applies to other branches as well, e.g. telecommunications.

NP: Porcupine Tree / Voyage 34

Update: Cate tells me that not all private carriers are as good others, and I agree: DPD, for instance, will also not agree on a time of delivery.

And another benefit of the regular post office: unless it's an express parcel, you can pick up the package at the nearest post office on the next day. With private carriers, pick up is usually outside of the city.

For express parcels, I can kind of understand why they keep them at the central office for pickups — it's open most of the day until 22:00 hours at night, and even on Sundays. Still, I would have preferred to pick it up at a closer post office.