DECEMBER 13TH - THE PERSONAL TOUCH
Normally we can be confident that posting cards or gifts on a certain date will get them where we want them to go by Christmas Day. But 2020 hasn’t been a normal year, and the effects of Coronavirus are dogging us right to the end, in many different ways. This week Royal Mail admitted that customers may face longer delivery timescales than usual, and in fairness, it’s understandable.
Strictly following Covid-19 restrictions has caused procedural delays, and with large numbers of staff self-isolating, the record volumes of items in the mail are leaving Royal Mail with a mountain to climb between now and December 25th. Social distancing has sent millions more of us online to complete our Christmas shopping this year, with an estimated 200 million additional parcels in the postal and courier system as a result. More pairs of hands can help, of course, and 33,000 extra seasonal workers have been hired, but frustrated customers haven’t kept their frustrations to themselves – when do they ever? – and social media platforms have been swamped with complaints about delays.
Sometimes it’s helpful to focus on the things we can control. There may well be delays in the post this Christmas, but nothing can delay delivery of cards we buy locally and deliver by hand. It’s unfair and upsetting that we can’t reach everyone we want to reach and greet everyone we want to greet. It’s been that kind of year. But we can greet the people on our doorsteps, because in Cwmbwrla it’s been that kind of year too.
Everyone in my street is getting a card through their letterbox this Christmas, and plenty more people in the streets around me are getting one too. Not out of charity or just for the sake of it, but because they’ve made me feel like part of a community in 2020. That makes up for delivery problems with Royal Mail and it even makes up for the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. It makes me proud of where I live, and I’ll never forget that. The personal touch can take us a long way.