November 28th 2009 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A new online delivery service aims to clean up the transport industry – www.findmycourier.com.
Findmycourier.com allows anyone with internet access, including business’, to list items for delivery where a network of national and independent couriers and shipping companies will bid to move their goods.
According to research by the department for transport (http://bit.ly/5d2jE3) couriers spend up to 25% of their time completely empty, so using this service they can keep their vehicles running at full capacity saving both money and unnecessary road miles.
Without the larger presence and advertising budget of some of the larger transport companies, some smaller operators struggle to get noticed in such a competitive field. Findmycourier.com allows courier companies large and small to bid for the same delivery; finally leveling the playing field for couriers and offering the customer huge savings.
Different from normal freight boards and load matching services, findmycourier.com uses a reverse auction style bidding system and allows the user to accept or reject bids as they please.
Keeping It Safe
In addition to the tools and services on findmycourier.com, there are several measures taken to ensure their users are kept safe from scammers.
Managing Director Paul Kutschmarski says “We wanted to ensure our users felt safe choosing a courier, passing over details and making payments so we’ve gone to every effort to provide them with the information they need to stay safe. Before you accept a bid you will be presented with all of the couriers information including whether they have relevant insurances and how much is covered etc”.
“Further to this you can see if they are a member of any trade or courier associations, all of which have strict entry requirements. Group all this information with our detailed feedback system and you quickly get a clear snapshot of the courier company before you decide to use their services”
In an industry where couriers face increasing running costs and the ever rising pressure to decrease their carbon footprint, findmycourier.com opens the door for courier companies large and small to excel both financially and environmentally.
Well, I haven’t yet offered up any of my courier-based stories relating to the delights that supermarket home deliveries offer, but it seems opportune to share with you the grocery delivery incident I had last week!
Firstly, the home delivery systems offered by most of the large supermarkets are, by and large, very user-friendly and it certainly seems to be the easiest way of getting a weekly or monthly shopping known to [wo]man! I’ve probably used most of the main ones by now, as I’m a bit of a fickle creature and tend to go with whoever can offer me the most at the point in time that I need it (and I am still talking about my groceries here … I know your mind, dear reader)! That said, I do have my favourite, as my local delivery guy who offers “roll-over” can testify (and I am still talking about my groceries … etc).
Anyway, last week I flitted to a more “value” provider whose courier duly arrived at my door, clipboard and boxes in hand. Thus equipped, he dutifully waited whilst I untangled the main beast (the one creature more fickle in her passions for all things delivered than I) from her best beloved new man, then tricked the puppy into the dining room (yes, there’s now also a puppy) and he then began the ceremonial handing over of boxes. My son, home from his shift at A.N. Other supermarket of European persuasion, kindly stepped in to help and soon we had a bit of a system going, Supermarket-courier-man, my son and I, with the dogs acting as enthusiastic cheerleaders from the sideline confines of the dining room! It all went very smoothly (considering my supplies required unpacking as we went because I’m still trying to be green so I’d eschewed my rights to carrier bags in favour of the more environmentally friendly loyalty points)! With both my son and myself unpacking our goodies from the delivery boxes it seemed only moments before we were waving goodbye to the gentle delivery man and turning back to organise our purchases into our cupboards. At this point the conversation went something like:
Me: Dear son, did you unpack the wine?
Son: Wine? Have we got wine?
Me: It’s for Christmas, did you unpack it?
Son: I haven’t seen it? Can I have one for helping?
Me: It’s for Christmas, did you unpack it?
Son: Oh, no I didn’t!
Me: Are you sure?
Son: No comment but a very disparaging look, almost daring me to go for the pantomime-like challenge his last comment had invited!
We hunted around the kitchen but no wine was apparent. It was then that the penny dropped and I (as you well know from previous posts, being one of those people who does not do running) flew out of the house at a somewhat surprising pace, to catch the nice young delivery man who was still putting his van back in order. He turned, alerted by the sound of wheezing.
“Have you any wine for me, please? We haven’t got the wine!”
He glanced back into the van and almost spammed himself on the forehead: “that’s because I’ve left a box in the van!”
We exchanged relieved smiles as he unearthed the box and carried it up to the door for me, six bottles of white and a box of tea bags.
“Of course” I told him, “it was the tea bags I was worried about, can’t do without tea bags!”
He handed the box to my son who was languishing on the front doorstep and then turned to me with one quizzically raised Roger Moore eye brow. Now anyone who knows me knows that I am horribly honest and can’t lie to save my life, and the whippersnapper’s eyebrow was enough to shame me! I dropped my gaze and came clean.
“I just ran down the street to get my wine, didn’t I?”
He nodded, woefully. I dared to look up at him.
“That doesn’t look good, does it?”
He shook his head, still woeful.
“You won’t tell will you?”
With a tap at the side of his nose and a hero’s knowing smile, Supermarket-courier-man returned to his van and I returned to the kitchen, to count my bottles and hide them from he who’s not getting his hands on them until Christmas!
Couriers are excellent at taking every possible step to ensure that a parcel arrives safely with the recipient and of course this does sometimes include dropping it safely off with a neighbour, rather than going off with it and leaving you to chase a re-delivery. As well as saving you that time and effort, an additional fun part of this customary practice is the insight that it gives you into the people who live around you!
Since I’ve moved to my new locality, the ‘pass the parcel game’ appears to be quite different to my previous neighbourhood. Although there is less than ten minutes’ distance between the two areas, the folk are very different!
At my previous address, finding a card declaring that our parcel had been delivered elsewhere instigated the following course of events:
* Very close scrutiny of the card to identify the door number of the neighbourly recipient.
* Whole-family conference and negotiation to delegate some hapless or hardy soul to go to retrieve said parcel (hapless or hardy being decided by the actual number on the card, thus the neighbour).
* In the case of a hardy soul being needed, re-negotiation to identify ‘back-up’ in case hardy soul should not be successfully hardy enough to complete the quest.
* A reconnaissance mission, of equivalent precision and vigilance as that show on military manoeuvres, to check out the required journey between our home and the parcel, particularly looking out for the possibility of the trip co-inciding with any one (or on one occasion, it appeared all) of the following:
- running a gauntlet of fierce dogs in the address’s front garden;
- the presence of Chloe, the neighbourhood’s demon child, repeated winner of her Class’s Most Likely To Achieve An ASBO Award (serious achievement at the age of eight).
- the presence of the local street drinker sitting (very loose term) on a wall at the bus stop (as this was at the bottom of our front path, it was our wall) and, whilst I am not cold-hearted, eye contact was not for the faint-hearted.
- a selection of local laydees at the bus stop (think Viz characters and you will know what I mean).
- police presence (in the manner of raiding the crack house on the corner, opposite the end of the road). If blue lights were flashing, all would be well and collecting the parcel would be part of a street party!
All of this of course also had to be considered when negotiating who was going to go a-calling for the parcel!
At times, even the next door neighbours were sometimes (although kind enough to take in the parcel), less than neighbourly about being called upon for collection. On one occasion, the elder male of the family answered the door, scowling in readiness at me. He spotted me meekly clutching the courier’s cheery card (on account of my being hapless rather than hardy) and I didn’t have the chance to utter a word before he snapped: “well come and get it then” before turning heel into the hallway and shuffling back into the front room. Obviously I had to follow the instruction and, by the time I entered the front room, he was back in his arm chair, resuming his ‘comfort’ position, presumably the one he was in before I rang the bell and, using the remote to un-pause his porn video with one hand, he soundlessly indicated the parcel on the table with the other. Not waiting to ponder any double-entendre from the only words he had uttered, I grabbed the parcel, uttered my thanks and legged it to the sanctuary of home!
Things are very different now. We are in a neighbourhood where the black recycling boxes also serve for the safe deposit of smaller parcels, so there is less need for the passing of parcels to the neighbours (recycling containers were not part of the old neighbourhood lest they be used for anti-social purposes – the mind boggles)! Nowadays, the courier’s card is scrawled with what looks like a drawing of a snake and two letter ‘b’s which broadly transcribes as ‘black box’, so all the family can venture to retrieve the treasures, no conference required, both the hapless and the hardy remain unchallenged! Where a neighbour has taken in a parcel, they invariably stop you as you come home, to chat about your day and to hand the package over with a funny story about how the courier just caught them on their way out to the Women’s Institute / doctor’s surgery / station or just as they were sitting down for a “nice cup of tea” – an entirely different kind of retrieving parcel conversation!
So, such are my tales of passing the parcel among the neighbours! I just know that couriers will have much more to say about their experiences of the dropping off process …any one want to go first?