Sending Christmas Parcels During A Postal Strike
05 October 2009 - David Lynch
So, if the UK does become blighted by yet another postal strike in the months before Christmas, can you still get your parcels to loved ones? The answer is most definately yes.
Although Royal Mail and Parcel Force are generally the cheapest parcel services, customers are already looking for alternatives as the threat of a pre-Christmas strike intensifies and unlike letters, there are many parcels carriers to choose from. You may not have the luxury of a counter from which to despatch little Jimmy's scooter, but you can at least ensure it gets there.
Firstly, and simply because they have the most exposure, theres Parcel2go. At the moment, Parcel2go start at £4.99 for domestic services, although they do levy a £10 surcharge if you want the item collected - hard to avoid unless theres a drop-point and these prices are subject to VAT. The item itself is likely to go via DHL.
Theres DHL themselves, a service called DHLitnow, although not easy to work out if going directly to DHL might not work out about the same as Parcel2go once you've totted up everything but one assumes that Parcel2go are able to offer a reduced price with greater buying power. The smaller end of DHL appears to work on some kind of franchise basis so don't expect a large DHL truck. Their prices seem to start at around £10 but there may well be extra costs.
Another service worth considering is Fastway Couriers. This again is more a franchise operation but I've heard good reports of Fastway and they've been around since 1983.
There are numerous courier firms and the intention here is not to list like-for-like comparisons or offer a definitive guide to circumventing the Royal Mail network - besides prices do fluctuate, but if the Royal Mail does grind to a halt, you'll still be able to send parcels even with just a week to go before Christmas.
One other option that occurs to me, and I have no idea if its even possible, is to pay the full fayre on the megabus (the cheapest coach service in the UK), stick your parcel onboard and have little Jimmy collect it the other end. Theres probably small print that excludes this, but when you consider you can go from say Birmingham to Manchester return for just £7, it might well be cheaper to deliver it yourself via the Megabus - if you can spare a few hours...
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