What does ‘Guarantee’ actually mean?

I’ll give you a clue.  It’s probably not what you think it means.

But I’m starting the story in the middle.

I was away from Wednesday last week, all UK based, travelling around the country, doing various things.

A colleague was supposed to go to Cork on Wednesday, just for the day, to support a client over there.  Unfortunately they had a family crisis and couldn’t go.  My diary was clear and so, like the wonderful chap I am, I stepped into the breach.

Here’s where the story really starts…

I was in the Midlands and the office managed to book me on a flight to Cork Wednesday morning from Liverpool.  My passport was in Edinburgh and I needed to be reunited.

So, my passport went to the Post Office and was dispatched to me using the Special Delivery which guaranteed my passport would arrive before 1pm… or so I thought.

Anyway, needless to say, my passport didn’t turn up in the Midlands; in fact it didn’t turn up anywhere.  It disappeared.  Apparently, after frantic calls to Royal Mail, it was the Post Office’s fault because they didn’t scan my packet.  The Post Office said it was Royal Mail’s fault because the packet was no longer on site with them.

The call centre lady said she thought the packet was at Edinburgh Airport, the sorting office guy thought it was at Kidderminster and I thought it was probably in Kenya.

Now, here comes the question…

My packet was sent for Guaranteed Delivery before 1pm.  So, when it didn’t arrive before 1pm we called and said, ‘Oy, what’s going on with this guaranteed delivery.’  Here is the answer we got, almost word for word:

‘Yes, we do guarantee delivery, unless we can’t deliver it, then we guarantee to give you your money back!’

Thanks very much.  What about the lost business?

‘Well, you didn’t take Consequential Loss Insurance, so hard luck.’

It got worse.  I have to go to Dallas on Sunday and I’ve had to book an appointment with the Passport Office to try and get a new passport issued on the same day.  Here’s what they said:

‘We can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to issue a passport on the day, only within 7 days.’

‘But it says, Same Day Premium Service on your website.’

‘Yes.  But we can’t guarantee it.’

Well, I suppose I know there’s no guarantee.

Later:  Yippee!  My passport is in the Midlands.  Boo!  The only realistic way of getting it back is to post it using Special Delivery Guaranteed for tomorrow before 9am.

I feel faint.

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