Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Friday, 3 April 2015

A Mail Mystery

We've all seen a marked deterioration in the postal service.  Higher charges, less collections, less deliveries, less staff to do the job.  I think it's called 'efficiency savings'.

Today, among the junk mail on our doormat, was this envelope:

Inside it was a letter we'd posted to London on 1st February

By March 3, it appears to have reached Belfast, where the guardians of the nation's postcodes decided that there was 'no such address'.  So they took a look inside, and sent it on its way back to us in Bristol, a journey of another month.  And we're no further forward.

I can just about understand that the postcode N1 9DY could be interpreted by some 'efficient' sorting machine as being somewhere in Northern Ireland - possibly Londonderry?    But somewhere, at some point, there must have been some of the Mail's remaining human hands making a judgement on the addressing.   And getting it all abysmally wrong.   Maybe it's a reflection of the sinking morale among the staff, maybe it's just that they have absurd targets to meet, 'lost' letters to process?  Even so, such a consistently inept two months of mismanaging the mail (it's not as if the letter had got lost) stretches credulity to the limit.

A conspiracy theorist might even believe there was more to it; a letter addressed to a radical bookshop might have less chance of getting delivered intact than your average birthday card.   But that would be silly, of course.


between-the-lines said...

My friend who has worked in a RM Sorting Office says that the most likely, if banal, explanation is that your letter got caught in the bottom of the sack either at the tipping table or the imp and then when the sack ended up in the sack heap the letter stayed there for however long it took until the sack was used again. If the sack got used for a consignment of letters going to the Six Counties it could well have ended up there and gotten finally shaken out. This would explain the month-long delay in it turning up again in Belfast.

It is a recognised human propensity to see patterns in random data:

Sadly perhaps however, the scientific explanation is often perceived by us as less satisfying.

Stockwood Pete said...

Thanks, btl. You'd think the sacks would be turned inside out when emptied, just to make sure? Or maybe I'm thinking of sacks as they used to be. Still doesn't explain the second sack it got caught in on the way back. Or perhaps it was just a bad crossing!

I like the idea of apophenia. Nice to know there's a word for it!