Although we are located out in the sticks, as one of our customers referred to us, we are lucky in that our larger customers pick up from us, something I am very thankful for.
Otherwise, we have to send our cheese by courier. We have little choice over courier companies as few will collect from us, being where we are. We use two couriers: APC for small parcels up to 5kgs and Parcelforce for everything else. Our APC chappie, Dave has been switched off our route and we have a new person whom we haven’t got to know yet. Our Parcelforce chap, Steve is no stranger to this blog, is also my co-conspirator in Homelands 3 discussions and comes to us in the height of winter, snow, ice, minor hurricanes, deluges of rain, no matter what the weather conditions, he has never once let us down. We also receive large deliveries from another company, Langdons.
The problem is that whilst we have really good guys who come to collect from us, who have become friends, we have no control over our cheese once it hits ‘the hub’. On Monday, I booked an APC delivery and no-one came for it. When I called to check at around 3pm, I was told that they were too busy and wouldn’t be able to come, but they would phone me back. They neither came nor phoned back. I was not pleased because this meant a call to the customer to apologise for letting them down. This comes straight after they did the same thing last week and I got an absolute rocket from a customer, a crazed French chef who works at a Michelin restaurant in London. Actually, Franco is not crazed, he is absolutely charming, but this time he was really mad – and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it, other than apologise.
The new APC chap did arrive the following day looking so sheepish he was scarcely in our unit for more than 10 seconds, before I had any chance to grill him.
On Tuesday I had an e-mail from a customer to whom we had sent three parcels via Parcelforce. One had not arrived. I phoned Parcelforce and was told that ‘they arrived too late at the hub’. No amount of probing by me could explain why two arrived and the third did not: surely, they must all have been at the hub together.
Also on Tuesday we were expecting a large delivery, already booked in for 8.30am – 9am. With Langdons, Stu and I have guessing games, similar to how many pots of cheese we will make or how many cheeses a particular customer will order, as to when it would really arrive. We were both wrong because that too did not arrive, despite being booked in. So I phoned them up to enquire and was told that it had not arrived at ‘the hub’. I asked why was it booked in if it had not arrived at the hub. No response. I asked why they hadn’t let us know, because were waiting on it, no response. Two more customers I had to call and apologise to for letting them down.
This is so exasperating and such a waste of time. Ok, whinge over, I am off home to see how the builders have got on today.