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Rant & Rave (18/11/12)


Last week, Royal Mail admitted what everyone knew: that about half the post it delivers is junk mail, and that it intends to increase that amount. The confession triggered an avalanche of complaints, which is like an avalanche of junk mail but with fewer two-for-one pizzas deals.

However, Royal Mail does claim to have a good excuse: if it didn't make money from "marketing" mail, we'd all have to pay lots more for stamps. The real problem, of course, is not with junk mail, but that first-class post now tends to arrive at lunchtime, several days after it was sent, and that packages often don't get delivered at all.

Anecdotally, posties report that there's no point carrying someone's heavy online shopping around and trying to deliver it to a household where everybody's out at work – that's why they leave it at the depot and post a "Sorry you were out" card, even when you're in. To be fair to Royal Mail, it's better than most delivery companies, who consider their job done if they've delivered your shopping anywhere, eg, someone else's house, or the bin. On the other hand, perhaps if our posties weren't carrying so much junk mail, they'd actually be able to lift the post we do want.


Supersize a fizzy drink for the clever people at Empire Cinemas, which last week launched its 10-point guide to cinema etiquette: no crunching sweets, no public snogging, no feet on the seats.… Given that Britain is so full of people who don't seem to know how to behave in public, please can we now have guides to good manners in all areas of shared life? Let's start with: no slow walking down busy high streets with two dogs on strings, no children kicking the back of your bus seat and absolutely no public snogging anywhere.…