Working in the courier industry can be great fun – hard work for sure, but also pretty rewarding. If you like seeing different parts of the world, long-distance and overseas work can be great. OK, even with SATNAV it’s not always easy to find delivery addresses located in the obscure back streets of Brussels, Lille, or Paris but it’s certainly fun trying! It can be even more fun if you have to stop and keep asking for directions – that’s when you realise that English isn’t quite as widely spoken as you’d read.

Then there is the courier client contact. Nobody’s going to pretend that sometimes that isn’t a bit stressful. If a client’s paying a premium price for fast and secure delivery then they can, quite rightly, be demanding about the service they receive. They’ll also quite understandably be inclined to let you know if they think you’ve failed to deliver (literally and metaphorically).

Yet sometimes, it’s the customer who can cause the courier a few issues now and then. Take the time a motorcycle was dispatched to pick up a package described as being “10 x 10 x 6” only to discover upon arrival that the measurements related to feet rather than inches or centimetres! That would have taken some explaining to police as you wobbled along with it on your bike.

Then there was the occasion when one motorcyclist courier arrived to collect a parcel estimated at “about a kilo or so” but which was, in reality, so heavy that it took two men to lift it!

Then there are those than provide incorrect delivery addresses but can’t understand why you couldn’t deliver it anyway. One company actually fast couriered and correctly delivered, a parcel to the Paris office of their client only to find that the client had meant to send it to an address in Hull. Hull, Paris – they sound similar so it’s an easy mistake to make – right?

Perhaps one of the funniest stories going around was the request to courier a package from one London company to another, and it was only the driver that upon collection, pointed out that the destination office was diagonally opposite the sending company and certainly less than 1 minute’s walk away. Perhaps it was raining and they didn’t want to get wet!

Just about every courier company has lots of amusing stories and some of them have become the stuff of legends including; the parcel where the contents desperately started trying to dig themselves out of the wrapping (actually a small robot that had erroneously activated and started to try and push its arm through the box); and another parcel that started to sing (a recording in a player managed to switch itself on).

However, the reality of life is that working in the courier industry isn’t a continual bout of horsing around and hilarious laughter. The vast majority of people in the industry are hard working and dedicated to providing a good service. They know that their customer’s very business may depend upon them doing the best job possible and they’ll do their utmost to achieve that.

Weather, strikes, traffic, roadworks, volcanoes – all these things sometimes seem as if they’re conspiring to stop us getting things from A to B; but the dedicated courier will keep fighting to get through. As a courier, do we deserve applause or are we just doing what we should be expected to do as part of our normal job responsibilities? Only you the reader can decide but perhaps many of us deep down inside, secretly wouldn’t mind a bit of spontaneous applause from time-to-time!

Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world’s largest neutral trading hub for the same day courier and express freight exchange industry. Over 2,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading courier services and capacity in a safe ‘wholesale’ environment.

By yanam49

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