Unshackled Thoughts and Musings

Lately I've been having this overwhelming urge to write. Poetry? Prose? I don't know... Content? Fiction? Non-fiction? I'm not really sure... I do sit in front of my laptop for hours on end just strumming my fingers lightly over the keyboard. I do that sometimes, when I don't know what to write, yet the muse is shackled ever so slightly on my left shoulder. Never the right shoulder. I'm sure if she tries hard enough she could break free, but noooo.. She just sits there, quite happily restrained. Laughing. Then when the tapping of keyboard starts to bore me, I'd play around with a few sentences. Deleting them and start again. And so goes the process till I just close the document without saving. I like to write; I like to ramble about what ever tickles my fancy. Or scratches it, for that matter... Truth be told. I don't write hardly enough. So, pardon my ramblings, give me some space to clear the cobwebs out.

some postal education...

Posted by: ShackledMuse

Tagged in: Untagged 


The general consensus is that Postal workers are useless. Thats true about some SAPO employees, as it is with most companies. Most of us are hard working individuals who go the extra mile to give our clients satisfactory service.

Certain events this past week convinced me that the real problem lies with clients. (I'm not allowed to say that though, customers always being kings, and all) Not with a client itself, or with their regular populace, but more specifically their ignorance regarding our procedures. If someone doesn't get their way and throw a hissy fit, its viewed as childish and immature.

If, however, you are in some kind of business environment, be it home affairs or your local supermarket, and you throw some kind of tantrum, its viewed as normal. Its encouraged in fact, because your right as a consumer or client is being undermined. We're told to stand up for our rights, dammit. Without sparing a thought to the poor service provider on the other side of the counter. Forgetting that they, too, are governed by rules. Most of us value our jobs.

So I thought it might be useful to share some postal procedures. The more people who gets to read this, the more easier you'd make it when requiring some sort of service from a postal worker, and the better service you're likely to receive.

When collecting parcels:

This is probably the one area where most toys and tantrums are strewn about. Its important to remember that there are different types of parcels. When you approach a Post Office Teller, saying you're waiting for a parcel, (but you don't know when its posted or what type of parcel it is and don't have tracking number,) but it was mailed from Cape Town and is addressed to Box 70, and the teller tells you that she cant assist you with that information, but she'd be glad to help you if you atleast have a tracking nr, it doensn't mean she's a bitch who's out to get you.

It just means that at any given time, there are more than 200 DIFFERENT types of parcel in the parcel room at the back and if she has to go through them one by one looking for who its addressed to, the queue would get even longer and some one else would complain about that too.

The importance of Parcel notifications:

Usually, when we receive a parcel, we write out a notification and place it in the post box. You'd be surprised how many people approach a teller, claiming they never received any type of notification and they've checked their box seconds before entering the branch. In most cases, when I check their box, the notification is there. That little piece of paper, insignificant as it seems, has a pre printed number on it. That very same number is allocated to your parcel and sorted in the parcel room accordingly. A teller will take that notification, (on which you've completed your details, such as ID nr and signature) and know exactly what type of parcel it is, and on which shelf by which date to find your parcel. Simple.

If you don't have a notification, all is not lost. Get a tracking number then and phone the tracking services on 0860 111 502. They'll tell you on exactly which date the branch received your parcel. When you approach a teller with that information, she'll still know what type of parcel you're looking for and by which date to look.

The types of parcels and what we require for collection:

Large Items:

  • These are items too large for your post box, they were mailed as ordinary letters or parcels
  • They don't have a tracking number or special charges. They're just too big to fit into a box.
  • The notification can be blue or white, stating the item is too big for your box.
  • You don't need identification to collect this parcel.

Ordinary parcels/Econoparcels:

  • These items are your standard type of parcel.
  • They have PE xxx xxx xxx ZA tracking number. Econoparcels are small parcels weighing less than a kilo, but have the same tracking nr. Its like parcels and mini-parcels. lol. (tracking numbers are really important, not only can your item be traced if it goes missing, it also tells us which type of parcel you're looking for. Trying to convince a seasoned teller that you're tracking number begins with FA while we know that NO tracking number begins with FA is not gonna get you anywhere)
  • The notification is square white with red print, with all your parcel details
  • If your collect your own parcel, you'll need your ID/drivers license/passport. If you collect for someone else, you'll need both ID's. The person who its addressed too, and the person collecting it.

Insured parcels:

  • Same as an ordinary parcel, but with an insurance option. (2% of the value of the contents)
  • PA xxx xxx xxx ZA tracking numbers.
  • The notifications as white with blue print, also all your parcel details will be on there
  • Same as with ordinary parcels, you'll need your id if collecting for yourself, and both if collecting for someone else.

Registered Letters:

  • A standard or non-standard envelope. Usually banks and lawyers sent their important documents via this route.
  • RD xxx xxx xxx ZA tracking numbers
  • Notifications also white with blue print.
  • ID requirements, same as above.

Foreign Parcels:

  • Items from across the big blue ocean. lol. These are trickier processes as they have custom duty charges and documents to be signed etc. In  most cases you'll pay a fee, can be anything from R15 to R2000 depending on the type of parcel (again, we don't calculate these fees, if you feel like biting someone's head off because you feel you're being ripped off, pardon the pun, then ask for the International Mail Centre's number. I spent an entire morning on the phone with various mail centres trying to help a client understand why she had to pay what she had to pay. And after all my effort I was still the one who her tantrum was aimed at. I really dont take well to being vloeked at when I go out of my way to help someone.)
  • II xxx xxx xxx ZA for parcels or RI xxx xxx xxx ZA for letters.
  • Same notifications as the Insured parcels.
  • You'll need ID's (same as above,) as well as cash or bank issued cheque to pay the charges, and will also be required to sign every page of the parcel manifest (tis only three pages. lol)

Speed Service Courier Parcels:

  • Overnight/priority mail items. (its only overnight service is the sender posted it before the cut off time the previous day. If the cut off time is 12pm and they posted it at 3pm, after the truck already left, there's no way the parcel will be at its destination on time. There's really nothing the teller can do about this.
  • These tracking numbers include TA, TB, TC, TF, and TM.
  • a orange notification
  • Only the ID of the person collecting the parcel is necessary.

Secure mail Items:

eish... Headache material right there....
  • These are either credit cards or other sensitive documents that cant be mailed in the normal stream of post. We abide by the rules set out by the different companies mailing said items, (such as blue bean, absa, standard bank, etc.) One of these very strict rules: we can only deliver the item if the initials on the delivery document corresponds with the initials in the ID Book. If not, then the recipient should get the company to fax us an authority letter giving us permission to deliver the item to said person.
  • RZ xxx xxx xxx ZA or RA xxx xxx xxx ZA
  • The notification is not issued by us, but mailed from the dispatching company. On this notification it clearly states that only green barcoded ID books and passports are acceptable. ONLY. No driver's licence. There's also a portion to complete to authorize someone else to collect on your behalf. We'll require BOTH signatures on the form as well as BOTH ID books. If you didnt receive a notification, you can contact the company in question to get your reference and authority number and complete a special delivery notification in the branch.

For all of the above mentioned items, the ID issue is not negotiable. If you dont have any form of OFFICIAL identification, we cannot deliver your parcel to you. Again, this doesn't mean we're bitches out to make your life hell (you'd be surprised how many times I've heard that line...) it just means that those are the procedures we follow and there's nothing we can do to change it. Hearing how the postal workers of 20 years ago from the previous state of affairs delivered parcels without so much nonsense doesn't change the fact that those are our procedures NOW.

Okay sjoe, this turned out to be a pretty hefty post. I hope it'll help some to better understand how we operate, instead of sparking of a debate, which i'm sure is gonna happen anyway... lol.

Next, I'll tackle third party payments  :P

oh, And while you're standing in a post office, please remember that we're human too, be bleed just like you and we have feelings too.

I'm not suffering from insanity, I'm enjoying every seconde of it...

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Comments (2)Add Comment
written by EgbertFly, September 21, 2009
I spent about six month working in the post office's data center in Pretoria. Those were a bunch of lost souls. I am glad to hear that the post office at least does have one able bodied individual. Your post was most informative.
written by ShackledMuse, September 21, 2009
hehehe thank you, i try my best :grin

Even if only a small group of individuals take this post to heart, it might make the life for other able bodied employees out there just a tiny bit easier lol

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