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Christmas Parcels

Friday, 20 December 2013

Going to the Post Office is never high on my list of things to do. The only plus point about going to my local one is that there's a really good charity shop next to it. The downsides are that the parking is horrendous, it's always got ridiculously long queues full of deeply slow and annoying people and, after a couple of not-very-good dates with the man that works there, it's now somewhat of an awkward experience to step foot in the shop. I don't go there unless I have to.

Christmas is a-coming and that means things need to get sent across the country to various pals. Once I've done all the hard work of wrapping the presents and festooning them with curly ribbon, what's the alternative to a trip to the Post Office? For me, a nice stroll to the local offy. No, not to buy booze to dull the pain of queueing to send the parcels. To use the Collect+ service.

It came across my radar at some point earlier this year when I was returning yet another ASOS order. I really don't have much luck with buying things from there. A good 70% of what I order ends up going back. Anyway, I saw it listed as a return option, whacked my postcode into the search box on the Collect+ website and found out that there's a shop close to my house that's part of the network. Ever since then I've been using it for online shopping returns and even the odd order collection.

Woo, pretty parcels! I don't like sending boring brown boxes to people.

Earlier this year I started using them to send parcels too. So much easier than going to the Post Office and way more convenient as the shops tend to be open early and stay open till late, plus they're open at weekends. The prices are really reasonable too. In the interests of strict fairness I should point out that I'm not entirely au fait with current Royal Mail parcel prices but judging by the grumbling I've heard from friends, I believe they're now pretty expensive although they would probably have the edge on smaller, lighter parcels. There are two options with Collect+ : delivery to a store close to the recipient is a flat £5.29 for up to 10kg and delivery to a house varies from £4.89 to £9.29 depending on parcel weight and how quickly you want it to get there. Print out a label, whack it on the parcel and then trot round the corner, admiring the pretty houses as you go.

I haven't had a problem with them so far so it's a definite thumbs up from me. Char got the email to say her parcel had arrived today and had a bit of a 'mare when she collected it, having to wait almost an hour for them to locate the flipping thing but I think that's more due to the ineptitude of the staff in the shop she was collecting from rather than a flaw with the service as a whole.


ps - This post was written and waiting to be published with no involvement from Collect+. I subsequently got talking to them on Twitter and they very kindly offered to refund the cost of both parcels. I'd have published this without that though - it's a dead handy service and if you don't know about it already I hope it's been useful!


  1. A total 'mare, indeed, but that isn't down to the Collect+ service, but the people working at the petrol station. In fact, when the manager called the Collect+ helpline, they were able to look into the barcode info and tell us exactly where and when each of them had been scanned. It's still a much better option than Royal Mail offer, as their opening times for collection are (exception at Xmas) not much more than work hours, so that doesn't really help folks who've missed a parcel due to, um, work.
    And yeah, prices are expensive, although to be fair, RM have accepted their earlier error and reduced the price of sending a small parcel and also increased the size limits for that category, I think because they'd lost a LOT of business with the last changes.
    p.s Thaaaanks for my giant parcel!

  2. I've used them a lot for returns, and my refund has usually come back quicker.
    I now live very close to a shop which offers Collect+ and will consider them in the future. But as Royal Mail have reduced the small parcel rate most things I send are now £3 first class, and within the UK I've never had a problem with them, sending around 12 parcels a week UK and worldwide.

  3. I'm gonna click on your link after posting this! Sounds really useful.
    Mind you, I have 2 local sub POs, both of which are always helpful plus I haven't dated the woman that works there! (Or the chaps at the other one)
    While I type your parcel is languishing behind a cupboard, Chars' is in the airing cupboard and Danielles', well I've lost that one!
    Z xx

  4. Thats a great option to have, I hate the forever wait to be served and then then the moans from the queue because I actually want to post something! I think people forget thats what post office were originally for. lol

    X x

  5. That's really handy to have as opposed to just using the Post Office. I'm going to have to locate my nearest one now! I love the ribbon and the paper too, the best bit about sending parcels for me! - Tasha xxx

  6. I've never really thought of using Collect+ except for returns, but sending anything that ways more than about 500g with RM is stupid expensive, and I too am allergic to the queues. Collect+ has become steadily bigger on my radar, and it's definitely going to be my first place to check next time I have an eBay session.

    P.S. I send boring brown parcels, but in my defence, they currently have lots of pretty red, cream and gold ribbons all over. And your green stripey paper is the doggies whatsits.

  7. Oh my goodness I didn't know you could send parcels through it! The garage which is about a 30 second walk from the cost is a collect+ place, this is invaluable knowledge!

  8. I've used them for returns a lot as my nearest is literally a few yards down the road. I certainly think they get my returns returned quicker than when they go via the PO which is great. i've used it to collect some Very parcels before...kinda mixed reviews on that because sometimes they can be really strict with ID and the parcel is in my name but it's never me that collects it. Plus I don't own a passport or driving license or any bills or anything that they list! As for Royal Mail, the newer parcel system is a lot better for me. I'm used to sending a lot of shoes (eBay) and often was just out a cm or two in height. It's cheaper than it used to be.


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