Amazon are replacing the Royal Mail with something worse. No, don't laugh. I'm serious.
When the postal strikes kicked off last year and Amazon muttered about taking its business elswhere, I got quite excited. I had visions of Amazon turning abandoned retail units into local pick-up points, or doing something really radical and... Amazony.
Instead, they've switched to The Home Delivery Network, a rather drab courier company. And already the two partners are barely on speaking terms.
The difference between HDNL and the post is that HDNL require a signature. Which means you have to be in. Although, HDNL claim that it's Amazon who are asking for the signature... or, if you ask Amazon, it's HDNL who want the signature.
This means that the Home Delivery Network isn't any use if you're not at Home. At the moment I'm working in a Shoreditch Web Barn (effort hair and posh coffee). No problem, say the Home Delivery network when I call them, of course we can deliver to your work address. Just email Amazon and they'll tell us. Simple.
ME: Can't you do that now? While I'm on the phone?
So (Esther Rantzen tone on), I try "emailing" Amazon. It's not easy. I rootle around their site. Turns out that Amazon are fairly adamant they can't change the delivery address. I'll have to contact the courier. I ring them again.
HDNL: No, you have to speak to Amazon.
I do. I find a phone number. A nice lady is very helpful. No, she can't change the address.
ME: So neither of you can change the address of this package?
AMAZON: Good point. I'll give them a call.
After *a lot* of hold music, Amazon lady tells me that they can't change the address as it's in the wrong depot. But I can always pick it up from the depot. The depot is in Essex.
ME: So there's no way for you to deliver this parcel to me?
AMAZON: *awkward pause* We can ask them to keep trying.
I ask Amazon why this isn't flagged up on their site - Royal Mail are a terrible organisation, but my local postman is lovely and should win an award for actually putting things through my letter box rather than leaving snitty "you were out" cards.
AMAZON: We do still use Royal Mail for some things.
AMAZON: Well, the system decides when you order.
ME: So the system can tell me when I'm ordering? And then I can decide whether or not I want to go ahead?
AMAZON: No.... I mean, there's a fifty-fifty chance.
ME: So what about small books and CDs?
AMAZON: Oh yes. Those will go via Royal Mail. Or Home Delivery Network.
So there you go. Amazon want you to go to Essex. Or stay at home.
This is a whiny dull post, but it's kind of sad when a brilliant company tries to solve a problem with a bigger problem.