The Royal Mail is reportedly struggling to cope under unprecedented hordes of parcels this Christmas with anxious customers chasing packages stuck at an overrun depot.
After people began frantically tweeting the @RoyalMailHelp account to report parcels being allegedly stuck at a sorting branch in Sheffield, Yorkshire, a veteran postie has called for calm.
The company has been responding to disgruntled customers – with just days to go before Christmas – to investigate the delayed and missing parcels, reports Yorkshire Live.
It emphasised it has been receiving an “exceptional volume” of messages about deliveries but is working hard to provide its usual standards despite the “increased uptake of online Christmas shopping”.
This year’s surge in digital purchases was understandably put down to the ongoing Covid restrictions.
23-year Royal Mail veteran Ian Grice said the 2020 festive season has been “by far the busiest” he has ever known, due to Covid but also, in part, to staffing issues.
“We ran three recruitment adverts between August and [the] end of September for new staff in my area,” explained Ian, from Selby, North Yorkshire.
“Candidates were not great. Out of the three we employed, one has left already. In fact, [in] our last session of interviews we only had one candidate. And that is when unemployment is on the increase.
“Yes, the work is very hard physically and people don’t seem to want to work Saturdays,” he continued.
“With the issues around Covid, this has made the situation even worse.”
Similarly, Maggie Barrow, whose husband is a postman, said those complaining about late deliveries should give Royal Mail workers a break.
Maggie, from Huddersfield, said her partner “works damn hard, even on working Sunday”.
“The amount of parcels he has to deliver and the amount that aren’t at home is unbelievable.
“So give them a break. They don’t get a week off at Christmas to spend with family, they get two or three days. So be kind to your postie; they’re doing the best they can in a bad situation,” she added.
And former Royal Mail worker Oliver Moore said: “I’ve worked in a sorting office during Christmas and it’s incredibly busy.
“Throw Covid on top of that and it’s going to be even harder this year with increased volumes of parcels.”
A statement on the Royal Mail website last week said: “Royal Mail is working hard to deliver the most comprehensive and high quality service we can to all our customers, large and small.
“The combination of greatly increased uptake of online Christmas shopping, in no small part driven by the recent lockdown, and the ongoing COVID restrictions mean that all delivery companies are experiencing exceptionally high volumes this year.
“Every single parcel, letter and card is important to us.
“Despite our best efforts and significant investment in extra resource, some customers may experience slightly longer delivery timescales than our usual service standards.
“This is due to the exceptionally high volumes we are seeing, exacerbated by the coronavirus-related measures we have put in place in local mail centres and delivery offices.
“In such cases, we always work hard to get back to providing our usual level of service as quickly as we can.
“Thank you for your patience and understanding.”