Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog

Delivery Woes….

I have issues with delivery drivers.

As I’ve mentioned before, our house is a farmhouse from the 1800s (oldest house in the village) that was divided into two in the 1930s. As a result, you can only see one house number from the road, and it’s the neighbours. Our road also isn’t recognized by SatNav or Google and is mislabelled, so you cannot get accurate directions to our house from either. A friend once drove around our village for a half hour because her SatNav kept taking her to the wrong street. And to complicate things further? The road we live on runs from our village into the next village, where it keeps the same name but the house numbers re-start. The people who were delivering our washing machine nearly took it to the next village over last year. I got a phone call from the delivery driver saying “I’m knocking on your door, but no one is answering”. To which I replied, “I’m at my door and there’s no one here!” So now I ALWAYS leave notes in the delivery instructions saying things like:

-House is attached to number x
-Behind green fence
-Go up the long driveway
-Look for garden railway
-Yellow farmhouse on bend
-Don’t use SatNav
-There are two 11s, one in Dunholme and one in Welton. We are the yellow house with the black door in Dunholme.

Etc, etc.

And usually, drivers don’t have any problems.

Except for DHL and ParcelForce.

ParcelForce is fond of taking my packages to my in-laws. They live around the corner from us, share the same last name, and even have the same house number. But it’s a different street and post code! My MIL is very good at refusing my packages and telling them how to find our house. And to be fair, ParcelForce rarely gets to see the detailed directions, since they generally act as a courier for Royal Mail, particularly overseas packages. So, I can kind of forgive ParcelForce for not being able to find our house.

But DHL? No excuses. The extra directions are PRINTED RIGHT ON THE LABEL!!

I put in an order for Boots online, something I do on a semi-regular basis, especially if I don’t feel like going into town or if I know what I want might not be available in store. I got an email two days ago that said my order was processed, and the expected delivery was today (Thursday). Since the email included a tracking number, yesterday morning (Wednesday) I decided to check the tracking to see where the package was. DHL’s tracking information said “delivered – left on porch” for the day before (Tuesday). But I didn’t have my package and we had been home all day. Not to mention our house doesn’t have a porch!

I rang DHL. They couldn’t do anything for me and said I needed to call Boots. Rang Boots and would you believe the person I spoke with had to put me on hold while he called DHL to find out the same information I asked DHL for 10 minutes previous? Crazy. Anyway, the person from Boots came back on the line to tell me that DHL “couldn’t contact their driver” and he would follow up with me later in the afternoon. The plan was for the driver to go pick up the package from wherever he had originally left it and bring it to me later in the day or the following day. At this point, I have no idea where my package is (no slip through my letter slot), Boots has no idea where the package is, and DHL has no idea where the package is.

I had a nurse appointment that took us away from home for a while, and after it Tim and I decided to run some errands and deliver a birthday present to my FIL. We returned home in the afternoon, to find a slip from DHL through our letterbox telling us that they had put a package in our shed. Sure enough, it was my Boots order.

I rang Boots back to let them know the package had arrived, and the person I spoke to checked to see if DHL had added any delivery notes to the order. Nope. We still didn’t know where the package had been.

Cut to about an hour later when we saw our neighbours in passing. They told us that last night they had found a package for me in their enclosed porch on the side of their house when they were going out for the evening, but as it was late, they didn’t want to knock on the door (good thing too, since I went to bed at 9:30!). They left the package where it was and figured they would catch us the following afternoon, but by the time they went to get it, the package was gone from their porch. They panicked, thinking someone had stolen the package and said they were afraid to tell me they had had a package.

Seriously? DHL put my package at number x, which is attached to our house, and didn’t bother leaving us a note through our letter slot? We clearly have a distinguishable border between our homes (a green fence) and the fence is clearly labelled with our house number, and we have a number next to the front door. AND DHL had even circled the delivery notes mentioning that our house was up the long driveway attached to number x. But not only that – but DHL hadn’t even bothered to knock on the neighbour’s door either time – when delivering OR when picking back up the package. If they had, my neighbour would have pointed them to our door straight away. And leaving it at their side door and not their front? Stupid. I could understand if the side door was more prominent than the front, but you have to practically go to the back of the house to access it! I didn’t even know they had a side door for MONTHS because it’s not obvious.

And the fact that everyone was home on Tuesday makes it even more of a mystery. Tim and my neighbour were both working out in the gardens, and myself and my neighbours gf were popping in and out of the house regularly. How on EARTH did DHL even manage to bring a package onto our joint properties without anyone noticing?!

But I have my package. And Boots is awesome and even rang me again in the evening to make sure it had actually arrived and assured me they would be taking things up with DHL. I have no idea if this means I’ll get any kind of compensation or not. The problem is, I want DHL to pay, not Boots. And if I ask Boots for a refund on the shipping, I’m sure it would have to come from them and not DHL. OH well. But the important thing is that I did get my package in the end.

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on, my facebook page, or the RSS feed(s), please notify me.

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The Trick to Getting Companies to Fix Things….

…is to go to their Facebook page and complain. What company wants potential customers to hear that an item of theirs broke on you or dissatisfied you?

I’ve had good luck with contacting companies. Last year, when Boots No7 Foaming Face Wash made my chin break out in bacterial acne because I was unaware the product contained an item I was allergic to, Boots very nicely sent me a £15 gift card in addition to letting me return an unopened bottle without a receipt. For Christmas 2009 (really, January 2010 when we celebrated), my Mother-in-Law gave me a thermal cafetière from Scotts of Stowe. It started to leak a few months later and coffee got in between the walls of it, so it smelled really fusty. I contacted Scotts of Stowe, and they told me if my MIL called them with her customer ID, they would dispatch a new one. When the new one never arrived, my MIL called them back, and they sent out a second replacement (which did arrive, and I’ve been using since with no problems).

But lately…not so great service from emailing Crocs or Gelert directly from their “contact us” forms on their respective websites.

I have a pair of Crocs (the style no longer appears on their website. It was a pair that does not have any venting holes) and I was wearing them one day when I slid in the kitchen and my shoe went flying off. In the process, one of the little “rivets” that holds on the back strap cracked and would no longer hold the strap on. I first checked eBay for the rivets, but didn’t see any. Then, I went to the Crocs website where their instructions were to “take the shoes back to the retailer for replacement rivets”, so I sent them an email through their contact us page explaining that I had moved to the UK but had purchased my shoes in PA and could not take the shoes back to the retailer, but needed one single rivet in order to be able to wear the shoes comfortably again.

I received no response, so after a week, I looked for the company on facebook and posted to their Facebook page:

I sent off an email about cracking one of the “buttons” to one of my shoes and have not yet received a reply! I’d love to continue to wear these shoes, but it’s hard without a strap.

Within a few hours, I had a response giving me a different email address to write to with my address. Once I sent off the email, it was only a few days before a full set of replacement rivets arrived.

Most recently, Tim and I have been dealing with our flasks (as you know). Before we were trying to clean the newer ones, We tried to use another flask we had that was made by Gelert. Unfortunately, the stopper in the cap had a broken washer, and it was leaking. I tried to fix it, but even with clipping the broken washer back on, it still leaked. I went off to the Gelert website, and sent off an email asking for a replacement washer.

No response. So, I did exactly what I did with Crocs….I went to the Gelert Facebook page and posted:

Hello, I recently sent an email via your website in regards to a product of yours we own that has turned out to be faulty but did not receive a response. We own a 1L steel flask, and the lid has started to leak. I would like to know if it is possible to get a replacement new lid, or even just have the small washer that goes in the lid sent to me. Thanks!

And would you believe? Within a few hours, I had a response to that post informing me to email a specific email address, and I’ve since gotten a response to that and been informed they have put a replacement cap in the post for me.

Obviously, only contact a company if you really have a problem with a product and always check first to see if you can purchase a replacement. Things like phone chargers and USB cords are readily available, but something like the lid to a container might not be. I think it also helped that I was asking for small parts from each company – I don’t think Crocs would have sent out a new pair of shoes if I had asked for new shoes, but replacement rivets were no problem.

In the end, the worst thing a company can do is tell you no or ignore your request. As it’s lots easier to ignore email, I went straight to Facebook, because I felt the companies wouldn’t ignore a negative comment left for all the public to read. I may have been right!

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on, my facebook page, or the RSS feed(s), please notify me.

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Save your Feet!

I bought a new pair of HIGH heeled boots a few months back…and when I say high, I mean high.


(pardon the pasty legs, the flash went off and I was wearing nude tights!)

The heel on those is about 3 inches. And these are for a person who never wears heels. I mean, I do on occasion, but my usual heels are only about an inch or so. But I loved these boots!

I wore them a lot to try to break them in, and I moved the insoles out of a different pair of heels to try to make them more comfortable. Tim bought me these thick heel wedges at Pound Stretcher to try to help…but always, after an hour or so, the balls of my feet would be in terrible pain from all the strain/pressure.

It really upset me, because these were NOT cheap boots (though I did score them on a sale!). I figured I would just have to suffer through it until my feet got used to the height of the heel, but then I was in Boots a few days ago and I found these. Ball of Foot cushions. They don’t go in your shoe, it has a loop for your second toe and then you position it under your tights/sock/whatever. And my feet felt so good! The only weird thing is getting used to the toe loop, but honestly, after about 10 minutes I forgot it was there. The pads are washable, too, so if they start to get funky you can just wash them in the sink. I’m so happy. Now I can wear my fantastic boots all day, everyday.

I also like that since it doesn’t stick to a shoe, I can use them in other pairs of shoes. Maybe my chorus shoes won’t be so painful any more!

[Please note: I am not being compensated by Evans, Scholl, or Boots to advertise their products. It’s just a product that works for me!]

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Update on Boots

I contacted Boots via email about the face wash, and got a very nice apology email and was asked for my mailing address for them to refund the cost of the original product. Imagine my surprise when I received a gift card in the mail for £15 – twice the amount of the original product!

I have to say, Boots went over and beyond the call of duty on this one. Both times I spoke with someone from Boots – in store and in email – I made it clear that I had purchased BOTH bottles with £5 vouchers and both times I was refunded the full price of the product and then some.

I have switched to a different No. 7 face wash that does not contain “Acer”. It doesn’t feel as nice as the foaming wash does, but it does the job. Now I just have to figure out how to get rid of the bumps left on my face from the old facewash!

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Read Labels Carefully!

A few months ago, I went into Boots in search of face wash. A few friends of mine from us2uk recommended the No. 7 line, so I went to that counter first. The woman I spoke with suggested the Gentle Foaming Cleanser, so I bought a bottle. Since I had a voucher for £5 off, I bought a second bottle before I was finished the first one.

I started breaking out on my chin badly. Regular pimple cream wasn’t taking care of it, but some antibiotic cream did, so I was really confused as to what was causing it. I got to the end of the first bottle of face wash, and was separating it for recycling when I noticed “contains maple”*. Uhmmm….so I scanned the ingredients list (which I had looked at in the store) but still didn’t see maple listed. I was frustrated, but glad to find the source of the spots.

I decided to start googling all the ingredients listed, and sure enough, the scientific name for a sugar maple tree was listed. Because, doesn’t everyone know the scientific name for everything they are allergic to? I sure don’t. And I found out that every type of maple tree has a different scientific name. Fortunately, they all start with “acer”, so I should be okay in the future.

Fortunately, the Boots store let me return the unopened bottle and I purchased different face wash, but I’ve learned an important lesson:

Always read the little blurb on the back of bottles. Even if it is full of adjectives telling you how nice the product is.

*Maple, along with oak and sycamore, make up the bulk of my allergies. Really, I didn’t even think the UK had maple trees!

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NHS After Hours

I have had the misfortune to require a doctor after office hours twice this week. In the US, if I needed my doctor after office hours I would have to call into the answering service, leave a message, have my doctor (or the doctor on call) paged by the answering service, then wait for a phone call back from a nurse or secretary to tell me what to do (usually wait until the following day or head to the ER as those were the only options). Here in the UK, you call your regular GP number and if it’s after hours it will connect you automatically to the after hours operators. They will take down your information (I needed to provide my NHS number and tell them a bit about my problem plus give a phone number I could be reached at) and you’ll get a call back from a nurse a few minutes later. That nurse will ask you more questions (obviously, their first goal is to try to diagnose you over the phone and to make sure it’s not a true emergency). In my case, it was determined that I did not have a life-threatening emergency requiring A&E (Accidents & Emergencies, AKA the Emergency Room in the US), but that I did need to see an after hours doctor. Fortunately, we live only about 6 miles away from the county hospital that provides this service.

The after hours GP at the county hospital is located right next to A&E. For being after hours, it was surprisingly fairly empty both nights. The first night, there was one person waiting to be seen and 2 waiting for test results. The second night had a few more people, but it still barely made a dent in the waiting room seating areas!

The first night I went in, I saw a GP. He was able to access my NHS files to see what I was being seen for by my GP and what prescriptions I was on. After giving me an exam, he decided I needed to be put on more antibiotics and a heftier pain killer than regular paracetamol (closest US match: Tylenol/Acetaminophen ), so he wrote up a prescription and the nurse directed us to an “all night” pharmacy.

The pharmacy turned out to be the local Boots store we visit on occasion. They have a walk-up window instead of you actually going into the store so it was a little chilly while waiting!

But we were soon home and only spent £14.40 (the visit to the after hours was, of course, free and included in my NHS care).

The following day when I called, they did their best to reassure me and calm me down (I was having a problem related to the previous night), but in the end it was determined that I needed to see the Nurse Practitioner at the after hours just to be on the safe side. My visit with the nurse took 10 minutes or so, but it was enough to assure me that I was okay, and enough to assure the nurse that I wasn’t in any danger.

This is just one more reason in a long list of reasons why I really like the NHS and wish a similar system existed in the US.

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A Day Out

I took the bus into Lincoln today because I had a few errands I needed to run.

I got off the bus at the “top of the hill” near the Cathedral, as my original plans were to talk to the people at the pub we want to use for the reception in person, but that didn’t work out. As I was walking down Steep Hill (yes, it’s called that) I happened to spot a volunteer sign in the window of the Cancer Research charity shop. Since my application for OxFam must have been rejected (never heard back from them!), I was still looking for some place to volunteer, both as something to do, and as part of the new requirements for seeking citizenship in the UK. I walked in, asked about volunteering, and 10 minutes later I was “hired”. I’ll be working every Thursday from 1-5PM, which goes nicely with my other activity on Thursdays – an all-female Barbershop group (part of Sweet Adelines).

After landing the “job”, I went to Primark to replace some of the items I accidentally shrank in the wash* and then to Boots (drug store) to use some coupons that expired at the end of the month, and to place an order for photos to be printed to go with my insurance claim form. Then, it was the trek over to the other side of High Street to Argos to make a return. Right as I got to the barriers for the train, they went down, so I sent a text to Tim. He called and played “big brother” on me by looking at me through his CCTV! Item returned and new item purchased (I needed a new small crock pot), I walked back only to get to the crossing right as the barriers were going down again.

I met up with Tim and we went shopping for Mother’s Day cards and Birthday cards and then decided we’d just go look at eyeglass frames at one of the discount stores. I found frames for both regular and sunglasses that I liked (and they were only £70) and so we asked about making an appointment, and there happened to be an opening right then, so this afternoon I had an eye exam and got new glasses and sunglasses! I pick up the glasses on Thursday.

We also did our weekly run at Tesco, and now I’m busy (at midnight) finishing roasting a chicken so I can use it tomorrow in a stew I’m making for Tim’s grandad.

I just need to keep my eyes open for another half hour….

*Last week when I did the wash, I forgot that temperatures were in Celsius and I set it for 60…..60C is a hot water wash, not the lukewarm water wash I thought it was.

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