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Giancarlo (Giancarlo)
Username: Giancarlo

Registered: 11-2008
Posted From: 85.116.228.3
Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - 07:38 am:   

How's Royal Mail strike going on? Italian papers are silent about it. From what I can gather on the Internet the issue seems to be rotting. Three times I have paid for "Creatures of the Pool" but I haven't seen any of it yet. I'm playing on the probability of receiving at least one copy of the book. I feel cut out by the strike although different unknown factors might add their weight. I could devise an agreement to have the book privately shipped thru DHL with extra-charge for the cost...provided it works. I am looking forward to the promised Leisure edition of "Creatures of the Pool", coming out on April next year (or so they say), in the hope they maintain the text exactly as it is, not the usual re-writing exacted by Tor for their American anglo-phobic readers.
I think only Ramsey can say what it's to be expected from the Leisure edition.
Sorry to have bothered, I just wanted someone's shoulders to cry over.
Maybe I'll receive one copy at least after all, although the "when" can't be divined.
Have a nice day, You all!
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.171.129.74
Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - 08:06 am:   

As far as I know, Gian, Parcel Force, the parcels division of the mail service, shouldn't be affected by the strike in relation to delivery. It's only at the sorting office where it'd run into trouble. I sent a parcel across the country just before the weekend and it's arrived okay.
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.171.129.74
Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - 08:13 am:   

As an aside, I do hope the mail dispute is sorted sooner rather than later for personal reasons. My girlfriend and I share a credit card account, and one of our cards was cloned the other week, three computers ordered online through the accounts. We only found out on Thursday and the bank told us we'd one week, now the fraud had been reported, to return a completed and signed and dated form telling them about this in writing officially, or else we'd be liable for the first purchase. (The second and third they were able to scrub - so presumably the purchases weren't shipped out to the fraudster.)

The irony is of course that Michelle and I would rather like to be able to afford to buy a new computer but can't... Though may have little choice to, thanks to the postal dispute. I'm hoping the bank will be sympathetic to the unusual situation we're in.

Yeah, I can hear you laughing from here...!
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Giancarlo (Giancarlo)
Username: Giancarlo

Registered: 11-2008
Posted From: 85.116.228.3
Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - 08:33 am:   

Hi, Mark!
No, I am not laughing. As a matter of fact, I am rather loath to order items online. I am even suspicious about PayPal. No accident yet, though. I have a local Anglo-American Bookshop in Rome, nearby Piazza di Spagna, I generally order from them, but they are unable sometimes to get a hand on small press publications, so I have to have recourse to the net and card method, taking my risk with postal service. I am wondering about the Leisure edition of "Pool" as it can easily be obtained by ordering with them...and paying when the book is actually in my hands! Let's cross fingers for each other!
Ave. Joannes Carulus
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 80.225.208.93
Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - 09:43 am:   

Yes, I share your distrust of electronic commerce, Gian. But our suspicion -- unproven -- is that the credit card was cloned at a restaurant in Kent. The fraudulent orders began immediately after it was used there.

And of course, there's plenty of fraud with online auction houses, who use payment via PayPal etc. This weekend my brother and I went to fetch a computer desk that he'd bought online. When we arrived at the address we found it to be a bogus one. The lady whose house we arrived at, in the dark, with the usual chavs launching fireworks in adjacent streets, was terrified to see a couple of largish Yorkshiremen on the doorstep saying they were here to take home a computer desk . . .

So, complications there. We'd to calm the lady down and assure her we'd sort the problem out, because she was fearful of other people calling, expecting goods from the net. . . Shocking to think there are so many horrible people out there.

(Incidentally, with to- and froing, the journey wound up being 90 miles long . . . Would've been cheaper to buy a NEW desk in the end.)
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - 10:19 am:   

The only way the postal strike has affected me is that everything's turning up a few days late - but to be honest, that's actually normal now, so I haven't even been aware of the strike.

regarding online transactions, my view is that the risk involved is worth it for the convenience of actually getting the stuff. I buy almost everything online because I can't stand going into busy shops, and luckily I haven't been stiffed yet.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.47
Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - 10:50 am:   

oo-er
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - 10:58 am:   

Another important contribution to the debate by Weber.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.47
Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - 11:16 am:   

Would "fnarr fnarr!" have been more significant?

I was debating between the two...
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Mark West (Mark_west)
Username: Mark_west

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.39.177.173
Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - 12:12 pm:   

You can never go wrong with a bit of Finbar Saunders
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.47
Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - 12:36 pm:   

Which bit? and where are you going to put it?

Fnarr fnarr
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Mark West (Mark_west)
Username: Mark_west

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.39.177.173
Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - 12:43 pm:   

Ha!
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - 01:45 pm:   

Gian - if I were you, I'd email Pete Crowther about the non-arrival of Creatures. If Mark is right that Parcel Force would have been used, then it should have arrived. But Pete could tell you how and when it was sent.

Where I am, I haven't seen a postman (sic - we never seem to get postwomen) since before last week's strike - so whether we just haven't had any post or they're still on strike here, I just don't know.

At the moment, I'm just not ordering anything online unless I know they don't use Royal Mail (eg. Amazon). Our postal service is usually bad here anyway. I've had lots of things go missing or arrive damaged, particularly as one of the posties (we have several, never the same one for any length of time) seems to delight in bending things to get them through the letterbox or throwing them as far across the hallway as possible.

Personally, the sooner they do something to "modernise", and hopefully, improve, the service the better as far as I'm concerned.

As to credit card fraud, yes, we've had that happen a couple of times too. But our card company is great and always notices and deals with it quickly and efficiently. So that's one bank I'm quite happy with!
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.74.96.200
Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - 07:28 pm:   

Something that most people donít realise is that when youíre given a hotel room swipe card as a key all your credit card details are on that. So itís best to dispose of it yourself, rather than hand it to someone at the hotel desk who can claim not to have received it from you and then pass it on to someone to extract the details from.
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Giancarlo (Giancarlo)
Username: Giancarlo

Registered: 11-2008
Posted From: 85.116.228.3
Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - 08:36 am:   

Caroline,
the PS edition of "Creatures" found my threshold just yesterday, thank God! Still, I am curious about that forthcoming Leisure edition of the book, I like collecting different editions of Ramsey's works.
What you say about the postal service at your place made my jaw fall to the ground! And I wss thinking bad of Italian mail! But I'm going on thinking bad: it happens sometimes mailmen are caught burning their daily delivery or jettisoning it into the sacred Tiber river, all in desolate city areas, of course, or even carrying their post-bag home for later destruction. They are arrested, so it seldom happens now. The service has been leased out to private companies whose workers are employed on precarious short term and underpaid probably... so it's an understandable crime but still a crime! Working without a future, only blackness and fight for survival, what kind of old fashioned devotion to the job should we expect from them?
Bye from Rome. Joannes Carulus, primus palus secutor (just a gladiator, don't worry...ah!ah!)
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.164.57
Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - 08:58 am:   

Caroline, what Royal Mail calls 'modernisation' is a deliberate running down and casualisation of the service. Improvement is not on the management agenda. I strongly suspect that you could get away with ethnic cleansing in the UK if only you called it 'modernisation'.

The Royal Mail workers (the Communication Workers Union) are striking for decent working conditions and the integrity of a national postal service, in the face of a management onslaught on conditions and services that is designed to force through privatisation and to drive the union out of the picture. If the strikes continue, I recommend you go to a picket line and ask the workers why they are striking and, crucially, why the Royal Mail is a shadow of what it was even five years ago. I think you'll find the answers helpful Ė I certainly did.

They're also protesting at the pay freeze imposed on them in a year when when Royal Mail has declared huge profits and its management have awarded themselves colossal bonuses. But pay is not the core issue.

Everyone who wants a regular daily national postal service under public ownership, with sensible delivery times and rapid turnover, needs to support the CWU in its attempts to halt further corrosion and fragmentation of the service. Don't believe what you read in the papers.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.0.106.15
Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - 09:28 am:   

Well said Joel!

We're facing the same "modernisation" bullshit in the (soon not so) civil service. Pay freezes, drastic altering of terms and conditions, job cuts with those left behind expected to double up and double up, etc ad infinitum...

The perfect conditions are being created for complete meltdown of morale in all the public services which promises levels of industrial action the country hasn't seen since the 1970s (if ever before).
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - 09:57 am:   

Royal Mail bosses seem to have systematically dismantled what was once a great service. I don't see the logic. If there was any serious competition, the company would have gone under by now.
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Giancarlo (Giancarlo)
Username: Giancarlo

Registered: 11-2008
Posted From: 85.116.228.3
Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - 10:30 am:   

Exactly what has been happening in Italy!
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Ian Alexander Martin (Iam)
Username: Iam

Registered: 10-2009
Posted From: 64.180.64.74
Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - 05:52 pm:   

The task of any employer/corporate leader is not simply to make profit, but to INCREASE profit levels on a year-over-year basis so as to demonstrate to share-holders/other executives their continued potential to improve finances and increase market satisfaction. Merely making the same gawd-awful amount of cash as last year is perceived as a disaster; the amount must increase each year by a substantial amount. Logically (presuming you buy into the previous bit as being morally defensible) if you can find a way to do the same amount of work with half the workforce, or pay them half the wages, or ó by far the better, this one ó both of those options, then you do that.

The difficulty with that approach when running either a Government or a Crown Corporation is that there are no stockholders, nor are you the head of a corporation which exists in the same way as IBM or BP. The shareholders are people of the community, many of whom are your employees or customers. It is neither possible nor advisable to fuck-over either of those groups. Oddly, Royal Mail's executives, as well as many of Canada's current controlling heads, are following a business model they learned in Private Enterprise and their success in that field has made them attractive to the Government who haven't a clue how to run a country.

Voters seemed to reject at the polling places anyone who smelled of "a politician" and elected 'sound businessmen' instead; forgetting that business and government are in no way interchangeable. It's the 'Peter Principle', innit? "Everyone rises to their own level of incompetence. Once you get to a job that you do really quite well, someone rewards you with a promotion to the next level up where you're just barely able to cope and there you stay ad infinitum".
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - 06:34 pm:   

Oh, I've no doubt that Royal Mail's management are rubbish too - it's just that the people who scrunch up letters and parcels to throw through our letterbox with such force are posties, not managers. The people delivering (no pun intended) the service need to be properly recruited, trained and motivated, and it's a management problem when they're not.

Royal Mail clearly has problems from the top down, and I think the whole organisation needs a complete shake-up. If that means getting rid of people who aren't doing their jobs properly - both front-line staff and managers - then that's what needs doing as far as I can see. Customer service is at an all-time low and it needs sorting fast. Like Zed said, they wouldn't exist if they were competing in the marketplace as no-one would use them.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.203.227
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 09:05 am:   

And, of course, competition between franchises has led to lower prices, more reliability, better communications and improved safety in the rail service. (Not.)
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.171.129.68
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 10:16 am:   

The onslaught began with the restrictions imposed on Post Office Counter services. While praising competition and commercial market places, the government(s) prevented Post Office Counters from engaging in the open market by restricting the range of services they could offer.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 10:33 am:   

The main aspect of Royal Mail 'modernisation' in 2009 has been the cutting of 63,000 frontline postal delivery jobs. If anyone can explain to me how that improves the service I'll be most grateful.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.126
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 10:53 am:   

"Royal Mail bosses seem to have systematically dismantled what was once a great service. I don't see the logic. If there was any serious competition, the company would have gone under by now."

There's no logic if you assume that society in general should benefit from the service. I sometimes wish I could think like a free-market capitalist - I think I'd finally understand the world. It'd be like having those glasses in THEY LIVE.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.126
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 10:54 am:   

Isn't it true that in Victorian times you could send a letter in the morning and receive a reply before the end of the day?
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 11:53 am:   

It was all done by fast mail coach in those days and the way the world is going we could be heading for a return to horse power... and I'm not even joking.
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 01:23 pm:   

>>Isn't it true that in Victorian times you could send a letter in the morning and receive a reply before the end of the day?<<

If only that was the case nowadays!

I did actually get some mail this morning - but not the prescription pre-payment certificate which the NHS tell me they sent out on 5th October and have already been taking my money out of the bank for. I think it's lost without trace. But, thankfully, my local chemist DOES believe in customer service and believed me when I told him - so I haven't had to pay twice for my prescriptions. That would have resulted in me having to put a claim for a reimbursement in the post - and goodness knows whether that would have reached it's destination, or whether the refund would have arrived too.

Joel - where do you get those figures from about cutting front-line services? You may well be right - you probably are - but there are two sides to every argument and I don't think the posties (and union) are entirely blameless in all this.

Oh and did I mention the postman we got one time who decided it was easier to use the cat flap than the letter box. TWICE he broke it by flinging stuff through it with force. I spoke to him after the first time, I even put a notice on the cat flap saying "this is for cats, not post", but he still did it again!
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.47
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 02:01 pm:   

I know a postman or two on a social basis as well and I can tell you that what Joel is saying is correct. If you talk to them you'll find out a lot more than the tabloids will tell you. And you'll have a lot more sympathy with them as well (although it sounds like the guy who delivers your post is a bit of an idiot but one bad front-line worker doth not a bad organisation make - that's down to the managers)

For once recently, I'm on Joel's side on this one.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.47
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 02:06 pm:   

Typical example, because there are less of them expected to cover the same distances in the same times, they're expected to walk at an average of 4mph, with their heavy mailsacks, stopping at every door but keeping that average speed at 4mph... Try just walking at 4mph for 4 hours wihout stopping...

Is it any wonder your postie tries to stick things though the biggest of the holes on your front entrance?
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.47
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 02:08 pm:   

By that I obviously mean he tries to put parcels through your catflap not your letterbox.

Now even that sounds rude...
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.227.44
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 03:12 pm:   

I'm on good terms with my postman and he once told me that people can't believe the pain and accidents caused by bad letterboxes. Think about it - you really don't know what's on the other side of that door, do you? An angry dog? Some other lifeform perhaps, unspeakable or otherwise? A full injection needle? A cactus, a guillotine, a box containing the inhabitant's collection of razor blades?
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 05:24 pm:   

>>(although it sounds like the guy who delivers your post is a bit of an idiot but one bad front-line worker doth not a bad organisation make - that's down to the managers)<<

I'm not disputing that, Weber. I'm not saying it's all down to bad posties (BTW it's not just one but several in our case - they keep changing, which doesn't help as they don't know the round properly). I agree it's all down to bad management ultimately. Royal Mail needs a properly trained and motivated workforce, and the absence of that is definitely down to management incompetence. What I'm saying is, the whole organisation needs sorting out - top to bottom. They need properly trained and motivated managers too!

And our letterbox is very tame and gentle - it doesn't bite, and the only thing on the other side of it likely to cause any damage is me when I get angry about the postie ruining a book or an autograph, or something nice I've ordered like that.

>>Is it any wonder your postie tries to stick things though the biggest of the holes on your front entrance?<<

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