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Inspired by a story in the Gloucester Echo (16th December 2014) where Phil Norris’ parcels were placed inside his rubbish bin, ready for the refuse man to take away!


We’ve all had our share of flaky internet deliveries, in my case, with parcels left on the front door step in full view of the street or flung over my garden wall coming to rest underneath the wheels of my car- handy for when I’m driving out!


But the biggest problem is that pure play on line shopping seems (in principle) to be so deceptively easy that it encourages people to leave it later and later to buy their presents before Christmas, risking loved ones disappointment through post event arrival.


Like me - going on line to buy wine from Waitrose for a favourite uncle and spending precious minutes selecting produce, trying to remember a password that I hadn’t used since last Christmas, asking for a re-set email, getting frustrated that the email didn’t arrive promptly, setting up another account only at the end of all this to find that my Christmas present could be delivered on the 29th December! So I walked into Majestic Wines, bought face to face and arranged my own delivery!


As contrasted with Victoria Plumb – whose wonderfully clear web site demystified the process of buying the necessary components to create a downstairs bathroom in time for my Mother to visit for Christmas. Their fantastic customer service team and delivery logistics made sure that I understood exactly what was arriving when and gave me regular updates. Polite, professional delivery via ArrowXL and Royal Mail closed everything down and made sure that my builder got the bits when he needed them.  Even when I ordered the incorrect shower- one phone call sorted it.


So, for those of you, who have left the ordering to the last minute and are now impatiently climbing the walls, here are some tips.

  • Unoccupied waits always seem the longest – find something to do to fill your time – write those extra Christmas cards or email Aunty in Australia.
  • Solo waits always feel longer than those in a group – so get some friends round, sing carols and eat mince pies – the time will pass in the blink of an eye.
  • Remember the golden rule that satisfaction equals perception minus expectation (S=P-E) . So expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed!

And for the rest of us, given that 86% of us still buy and/or pick up our purchases in store, we can go home with the smug satisfaction that our Christmas will be complete, on time and with no parcels shoved in litter bins!


Wishing a Merry Christmas to one and all and see you on the flip side!


For those of you who want to know more about managing waiting experiences I recommend David Maister (to whom I’m obliged for the rules shown above – apologies for the Christmas re-work David) and Qmatic ( who manage the waiting experience for a quarter of the world’s population every year.