I'm an ex-delivery driver – why we take blank photos & use 'sorry we missed you' cards without even ringing the bell | The Sun

WE'VE surely all had it happen before – you arrange to be in all day to wait for that much-needed parcel to be delivered, only to receive an email saying 'sorry we missed you' or a calling card on the doorstep.

You can't understand it – you've been in all day, keeping a watchful eye at the window, and not once did you hear the doorbell or someone knocking, and no one called either.

It's infuriating, and even more so when you receive a photo supposedly proving they've been at your house, which turns out to be blank.

However, with drivers under a lot of pressure to deliver on time there are reasons behind the at-times seemingly bizarre and baffling etiquette.

Here, former delivery driver Mike Simpson, 31, explains exactly why your delivery drivers say they've missed you when they haven't even rung the doorbell, and why your parcel sometimes looks like it's done ten rounds with Mike Tyson…

Under pressure to deliver

First things first, there's actually a lot more to the job than leisurely driving around dropping off parcels – and drivers can be at risk of not getting paid if they aren't careful and resourceful.


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Mike says: "Delivery drivers are on a timed route and they have to deliver each individual parcel within a certain time period.

"Some drivers will set themselves extremely short stop times.

"This is the amount of time they have from stopping the van, delivering the parcel and getting back on the road – to ensure they can finish their day earlier so they can go home.

"Also, its common for them to have a few bad deliveries or get stuck in some traffic and then start getting closer and closer to the end of the set delivery window.

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"If it goes beyond that point it's considered a 'fail' and they don't get paid for delivering that parcel.

"You end up basically dumping the parcel on the door entrance getting a quick photo and then running away to ensure you stay within your paid delivery window."

Knock and run

So, if you're in waiting for a parcel and get a 'sorry we missed you' ticket without them knocking the door – what is that about?

They've been to your house after all, so why wouldn't they deliver the parcel?

​Mike says: "It's quicker to say we missed you than hunt around in the back of the van and then deliver the parcel.

"This could save five minutes and could be the difference between getting paid for delivering or not.

"Also when you're driving round all the parcels can get very jumbled up, and although they are organised for your deliveries at the start of the day, it's easy for them to get fully mixed up and lost throughout the day.

"If it gets to a point in which you cant find the parcel after a few minutes of searching its easier to say the customer wasn't in, find the parcel at the end of the shift then deliver it the next day."

Photo fail

At other times, you get an email to say you weren't in, and they'll try again another day.

These often come with a photo to 'prove' they'd been at your door – but it's even more baffling when the photo is completely blank.

​Mike says: "The black square is a classic way of getting out of a delivery.

"The rules are that you have to take a picture of the front door to prove you have been to the property and attempted delivery but if the driver is struggling to find the property or is running late they may take a black square photo.

"This means basically just completely covering the camera lens and then taking a photo, and claiming it was a fault with the camera as the black square can actually happen occasionally genuinely.

"The black square is also commonly used when actually delivering the parcel but its left in somewhere that isn't a pre-approved drop off point but you can use common sense to know it will be safe." 

Say cheese

At other times, the drop-off is successful, but you have to wait awkwardly while the driver gets a photo of your slippers.

Mike says: "The company I worked for had the rule that the picture just had to show the parcel with the customer inside an open door way.

"Because people don't usually want to model for their photo its easier just to take a picture of their feet inside the doorway. 

Why do delivery drivers just leave parcels on the doorstep even if it's not a 'safe place'? (I think you kind of covered this before) then take a pic of it? E.g. leaving a giant parcel under the doormat and taking a pic of it? 

You get paid per delivery so drivers will leave parcels in clearly unsafe places to ensure they get paid.

"If they were to take it back to the depot they would only have to try again the following day (and make that day an extra delivery longer) so they leave it in risky places.

A far from delicate delivery

Finally, if your parcel looks like it's been through the wringer – that's because it has.

Mike says: "Some drivers couldn't care less about the parcels.

"They get thrown about in the depot and crushed under other extremely heavy parcels in the van.

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"Very little to zero care is taken over the condition of the parcels.

"When i was delivering I would regularly have to pack my van in the outside parking lot and if it was raining then nearly every box was soggy and wrecked before I'd even left the depot."

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