In which Lady Bracknell is decidedly unamused
One firm from which Lady Bracknell will never again place an order employed a driver who claimed to have left the parcel in question in her shed, thereby indicating that he had made no attempt whatsoever to track down Bracknell Towers: had he done so, he would have realised that Lady Bracknell has no shed.
Before Christmas, Lady Bracknell received a telephone conversation from an honest and decent young chap further up the street who had returned home to find two parcels addressed to her ladyship on his doorstep. He was kind enough to deliver said parcels in person, for which service Lady Bracknell was extremely grateful. She then dictated to the Editor an email communication to the firm from which she had ordered the goods, expressing her disappointment that, despite the quality of the items sold by them, she would not be able to place any further orders given the unreliability of their chosen carrier. Part of the purchase price for the goods was immediately and cheerfully refunded. Whilst in some ways a gratifying result, this signally failed to resolve the underlying problem.
Some days ago, Lady Bracknell (again, via the good offices of her Editor) placed an order with a certain online domestic pet requisites store for, amongst other things, two very heavy bags of The World's Best Cat Litter*. The online store sent her an email when the goods had been despatched. This email contained both the parcel reference number and the carrier's website address. It explained that, were one to enter the reference number into the appropriate box on the website, one would be able to track the progress of the parcel. Despite the Editor's best efforts, the website stubbornly and persistently refused to recognise the parcel reference number.
Lady Bracknell returned home from her various external obligations at about 4.15 on Monday afternoon to discover a note from the carrier to indicate that an attempt had been made to deliver her parcel. She phoned the automated "helpline" to hear that she could arrange for redelivery for the following day if she did so before 5pm. She followed all the necessary voice prompts, and spoke clearly (as is her wont) and slowly (which she finds rather more difficult) at all times. Having at no point spoken to a real person, Lady Bracknell was by no means sanguine that all would go as planned.
Nevertheless, she remained at home between the hours of 9.00 and 5.30 yesterday in constant expectation of a ring on the doorbell. Readers will not be surprised to learn that no attempt at delivery was made.
Having once again had obligations outside Bracknell Towers today, Lady Bracknell arrived home to find - wonder of wonders! - a note from the carrier. This one told her that her parcel would be retained for collection at a depot several miles away for seven days, and then returned to the sender.
If Lady Bracknell were capable of driving herself several miles, and of lifting heavy items into (and back out of) the boot of a car, she would not pay through her aristocratic nose for delivery. Girding her metaphorical loins, she telephoned the "helpline" once more, this time refusing all options which seemed likely to lead to an unproductive conversation with a recorded voice.
The upshot of her frustrating conversation with a woman who did not even bother to apologise for the failure of the automated "helpline" is that the parcel is promised to be redelivered Thursday next (the next weekday on which Lady Bracknell can guarantee to be at home constantly between 9.00 and 5.30). It would be ill-advised of the carrier to attempt to levy an extra fee for this "service".
In the intervening period, either Caspar and Bertie will have to keep their legs crossed, or Lady Bracknell will have to impose on the good nature of Dude the chauffeur, as she is entirely incapable of carrying even a small bag of cat litter home from the nearest supermarket.
*The claims made for this product by its manufacturers may strike Lady Bracknell's readers as being exaggerated, if not downright misleading. They are not. The product is not cheap but, as with so many things, one gets what one pays for. Neither is it as expensive as it might initially seem, for it is extremely economical in use. Lady Bracknell wholeheartedly recommends its purchase to those of her readers who share their homes with feline companions.