On Saturday November 7th, I missed the first half of a very important delivery of documents. Tragedy? Not really. A red Royal Mail card had been dropped through my letter box, and all I had to do was stop by my local post office on the way home from work on Monday to pick it up. 54 hours after the first delivery, the documents were safely in hand.

On Wednesday November 11th, I missed the second half of the same delivery. This time it was a tragedy. This time the card wasn’t red; it was blue. The delivery company had come by mid-afternoon on a weekday looking for my signature, and were surprised to find I wasn’t at home! I called to arrange redelivery only to find the customer service office was only open from 9 to 5, so I had to go online and trust a website service to sort it out for me. A confirmation email did little to comfort me – I would receive my delivery on Saturday the 21st, 10 days later, sometime between 9 and 5.

On the appointed day I was awake well before 9am, and spent the whole day waiting. I never strayed more than a few metres from the door, never stopped straining my ears for the sound of the delivery arriving. I kept reassuring myself that it would come at any time, any minute now I would be freed from my waiting. By mid-afternoon I couldn’t take it any more. I called the dispatch office. “Your delivery failed this morning ma’am. When would you like to have it redelivered?” My delivery has what? Someone came by at 8.45 and no one was there to receive it, she said. Had I not received a blue card? No, of course I hadn’t. I had been waiting by the door all day. No one had knocked, no one had called, and wasn’t 8.45 outside of the delivery window anyway? She repeated that the delivery had failed, and would I rather collect it during the week? Anytime between 9 and 4, the nearest location was only thirty miles away.

After much frustration, and completely wasted attempts at reasoning, I was assured that it would be delivered the following Saturday as a priority, and I would be given a shorter delivery window. On the morning of the 28th, I call to check on this. “Sometime between 9 and 5, ma’am,” says the innocent on the end of the line. I resist the urge to yell at him. I calmly explain the situation, explaining the conversation I had with his colleague. He understands, is terribly sorry, but there is nothing he can do. Four hundred and eight hours after that first attempt, two Saturdays lost sitting and waiting, and still I’m empty handed.

So here I sit, waiting for a delivery, thinking fondly of that little red card from Royal Mail. I shouldn’t sit idly. ‘Tis the season for Christmas shopping, the websites all tell me. But which of them will deliver through the only people I trust?