How do you get your parcels at the pub? Well, Useyourlocal!

Published on 14 February 2011 in , , , , ,

When it comes to shopping, the internet has changed the world a lot. No more do you need to wander aimlessly round shopping malls and high streets. Rare goods can be purchased from specialist retailers based around the world. Just click the mouse and get it delivered straight to your door.

The Red Lion, Ealing


Except you’re out when the package arrives. See, there’s that dreaded slip saying “Sorry we missed you!” And the delivery company only do Monday to Friday daytimes when you’re at work. And their depot is in the middle of an obscure industrial estate ten miles away. And they only open 10-12 on Saturdays. And it’s a nightmare to get to even if you have a car. Which you don’t.

It’s a situation most internet shoppers will have experienced at least once in their life, and more likely, on a regular basis. Some companies, like Parcel PickUp have been set up to try and fill the void, allowing users to get parcels sent to a third party, usually a corner shop. The service comes at a cost – ParcelPickUp, for example, charge £2 per delivery (although the first is free.)

However there’s now a free option on the block based around a building that is the hub of many a community. The local pub. was set up to help ensure pubs keep that place in peoples hearts. Set up in 2008, the website is part of Heineken UK and offers the ability for users to send parcels to their local.

For the user, there’s a simple process to get started. Registration is quick and painless, and can also be done by using your Facebook login. Then you just need to search for a pub in your area that accepts parcels.

Once you’ve found one in your area, you need to register your parcel. After filing in a few details (like which retailer the parcel is from) you’re given an address to supply to the retailer which includes a tracking code. They send out the parcel as normal and when it’s delivered to the pub, you get an email to tell you you can collect it. It’s that simple.

Parcels shouldn’t be any larger or heavier than aircraft hand luggage, so you can’t pick up a new Plasma TV or anything, however that won’t be a problem for most people. Items are insured whilst they’re in the pub, up to a value of £300.

The benefit for the user is quite obvious. The local pub is a lot closer than the local delivery depot and has much more flexible opening hours. The ability to pick up a delivery at 9:30pm on a Sunday is just not something DHL can offer.

Obviously for the pub, the benefit is the potential of getting potential new customers through the door, who may stay for a swift half, or pop back at another time to enjoy a longer stay.

Myself and Catherine both used the site for a small amount of our Christmas shopping, picking it up at the nearby Prince of Wales, which just happens to be a pub we visit quite often. The biggest problem was actually waiting for our shopping to be delivered – three of the four parcels were delivered from outside the UK and took a while to get delivered. So long that we had an email to let us know the parcel hadn’t arrived.

So far about 1,000 pubs have signed up to the scheme – a tiny fraction of the 52,000 in the UK. However as the scheme gets better known and pubs start to see the benefits, more will surely join. And it’s a cracking idea.

Well. Any excuse for a pint…