LIZ JONES: White van man was a lockdown hero. Now it's total chaos
LIZ JONES: White van man was a lockdown hero. But now he’s gone back to delivering total chaos
During the pandemic, delivery drivers became heroes overnight. They rendered it unnecessary to venture outside to the Co-op, where the shop assistant, shielded from you by a huge Perspex screen, would then lick her fingers to open your carrier bag.
In the darkest depths of lockdown, online shopping seemed to be our national saviour.
I’m certain at one point we were encouraged to clap for delivery drivers, along with health workers and the men who collect the recycling even if they sometimes manage to leave a few bottle tops, cardboard boxes and yogurt pots as a sort of dirty protest.
And I’m such a loyal customer, I must have been photographed in just knickers and thick socks more often than Pamela Anderson as proof that my parcel has been delivered.
So it saddens me to say that I am now at war with my delivery drivers. These former angels of furlough – who gamely brought those idle Amazon purchases right to our front doors, without consideration for their personal safety – have become as hopeless as our striking posties.
In the darkest depths of lockdown, online shopping seemed to be our national saviour. Pictured: Stock image
Even the generally nice man from Waitrose. Now that supermarket deliveries are made sans carrier bags, he thinks nothing of solemnly handing me my box of black hair dye. It’s all so familiar and disdainful. I swear that one day he is going to say, sotto voce: ‘Wouldn’t a dark brown, and semi-permanent, be more suitable?’
Last week, some other idiot delivery man knocked on the door, then just stood there, mute.
‘Speak, man!’ I said, above the noise of my dogs’ barking.
‘Is this number three?’ he said. I pointed to the big number eight on the front door.
‘Molly?’ he said, trying his luck again.
‘No!’ It was clearly a Valentine’s gift. ‘Do I look like I have a boyfriend?’
‘Frankly, no,’ he said, shuffling away.
My postman is no better. He knows he sets off my dogs, but still insists on delivering leaflets for funerals and Sky Glass tellies. Whenever he brings me a parcel, I ask him: ‘Something interesting?’
‘I doubt it,’ he replies, deadpan.
What’s got into delivery men? And my postwoman, for that matter, who recently shoved a card through my door, despite me being in (listen, lady, I’m not Usain Bolt…).
When I caught up with her later, I was told my package was now at the local depot. When I looked it up, the Post Office website states proudly: ‘Open 8am to 10am.’ What do they do for the rest of the day?
So it saddens me to say that I am now at war with my delivery drivers, these former angels of furlough. Stock image
DPD can be quite reliable (John-Paul, I salute you!). And Lewis, who delivers my coffee beans from Coffee Plant on Portobello Road once a month, you are a life-saver.
The man who owns my local deli is also heroic, but says when he brings around my haul that he now feels ‘a little like your dealer’.
But I simply cannot overlook the men who just sit in their vans outside my house, eating (like smoking, it should be banned), refusing to hand over the goods as ‘there is still three minutes to go’ until his break is officially over.
Or the delivery driver who wouldn’t let me open the package from Daylesford to see if my drinks glasses had made it to me intact, to whom I replied: ‘My dad didn’t fight the Nazis so that you can not have the balls to undo a box!’ Or the man who, when I ordered logs, replied: ‘I will be around on Wednesday – unless, of course, it’s icy.’
And I am not alone in my despair. TikTok and Twitter are awash with incidents of parcels being thrown in a hedge or dropped into a wheelie bin.
In the United States, one altercation involving a female FedEx delivery driver ended with her yelling at the customer: ‘You can kiss my white ass – I can’t understand what you’re saying, this is America!’ (The driver later apologised, saying: ‘I’m frustrated. It’s cold outside and I’m just trying to gather my thoughts.’)
My worst experience with delivery drivers came just before Christmas. I’d ordered a book on gardens as a gift, knowing it would easily fit through my letterbox.
But no. I returned home to a card that stated it had been delivered to a DIY shop in town. I drove to the shop, melting ice caps along the way. I told the man inside that him being a delivery hub defeated the whole object of online shopping.
‘I might just have well driven to a bookshop and cut you out of the equation entirely!’ I told him, as he fumbled through hundreds of packages with all the speed of a dead snail.
‘I’m just a cog,’ he told me, caring not one jot. (It’s the indifference that really riles me.)
Being deaf, I misheard him. ‘At last! Some accountability! Thank you! You are, indeed, a c**k!’
Meanwhile, I can no longer buy a Phillips screwdriver within a 25-mile radius of my home. Am I going to have to order one on Amazon?
Cyber-flashing? All I get is OAP abuse
I watched, fascinated, Asking For It?, the Emily Atack documentary about cyber-flashing on BBC1 last week.
She gets hundreds of unsolicited pics of male genitalia sent to her every day. All I’ve received in the past few weeks is a letter (remember those?) from George, who is 70. I don’t believe he has a smartphone.
‘Dear Liz. I enjoy your writing, but you seem to have been under more sheets than the Ku Klux Klan. You also have the sort of face a dog wouldn’t lick.’
I wish, darling George.
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