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Pants and pandemics; yes, at the moment we are still delivering

  • By Catherine Clavering
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Pants and pandemics; yes, at the moment we are still delivering

Photo - Collectif x Playful Swimwear collection. Yes, marketing swimwear when no-one can travel IS awkward, thank you for asking!

TL;DR Basically, we're still trading, deliveries can be slow, some countries won't accept them, I'll extend the returns period, please bear with us about delivery stuff. Mental health bit at the bottom cos I'm just your average former psychologist who sells undies, right?

In the UK the government considers Royal Mail a key service - so it carries on when other things have shut down.

So far, they also want to keep the supply of goods going, so our warehouse is still open. But, they do have to observe the 2 metres apart rule and similar things, and this makes doing picking, packing and posting slow. 

I'm not going to tell you that they're disinfecting every parcel because you're all perfectly smart enough to know that that would be nonsense. Any virus that could survive 2+ days on plastic in a postal setting is not going to be put off by multisurface cleaning spray.

The warehouse situation is similar for our main supplier, Playful Promises, so the combination is causing some mix-ups, especially as sometimes the staff most used to our products and processes are off work.  All the other suppliers are either in the same warehouses or work from home.

I'll change the returns period - which dates from when you receive things, not from ordering, by the way - to 60 days.
And realistically,  if you want a credit voucher (where you get an extra 15%) then it's vanishingly rare that I would refuse a return on an unworn item that was late in any event.

Some countries are not accepting post - so please check the Royal Mail info below if you have any concerns. I've also heard that some specific areas of France are refusing deliveries, but at the moment it's unclear where so we're trying to get more information.

 

"International Services: Country Suspensions

Key information –

  • We are working every day with our airline and in country partners across the globe to maintain services. The rapidly changing nature of the impact of Coronavirus means access to countries is changing and the global picture can vary day to day.
  • It’s important to say that most major export routes remain open and Royal Mail is continuing to accept, process and transport mail out of the UK for delivery across the globe.
  • However there is a lack of available air transport to a growing number of countries as authorities restrict the movement of people across borders. In some cases, there is also a suspension of in country postal operations. Where this is the case, we are strongly advising our customers against sending items to these destinations, for the time being.
  • As a result we’re suspending services to 31 countries (listed below). The suspensions cover all the services Royal Mail offers to these individual countries.
  • These suspensions will remain in place until further notice or until such time as we’re able to move mail into the affected countries for onward delivery.

Which countries are currently affected?

 

Albania

Cuba

Moldova

Sri Lanka

Armenia

Djibouti

Montenegro

Taiwan

Bermuda

Ecuador

New Zealand

Tanzania (DAR)

Bosnia

French Polynesia

Peru

Tunisia

Caribbean Islands (BVI)

Kuwait

Philippines

Turks & Caicos

Caribbean Islands – Dominican Republic

Lebanon

Samoa

Venezuela

Caribbean Islands –Haiti

Macedonia

South Africa

Zimbabwe

Cayman Islands

Mauritania

South Korea

 

 

Advice to Customers

  • We’re strongly recommending that you do not send items to these countries from today and for the time being
  • Other Royal Mail services, including those to the USA and many other countries remain operational.
  • Items for these destinations already posted will be processed or held, depending on the availability of outlets to countries.
  • This advice and links to information will shortly be available online and on our shipping systems. Where possible, we’re also removing these destinations as options on shipping systems.  

The information about our suspensions is being updated on the International Incident Bulletin. Here you’ll find information about this as well as our services to other countries, not affected by these suspensions. Here’s the link."


As for nonwarehouse staff well, we are by nature already distanced and isolated, before I knew those things were like, actual terms for the new cool trends, because for some of us illness is for life and not just 2020. 

As you can see I've been trialing distancing-wear for some time. This one is from FairyGothMother, courtesy of a project that is now shelved until travel restarts.

Basically my body likes to do wacky things, so I already worked from home and saw very few people (and now, no-one! yay!), and Maz already worked from home (she is doing a few hours every week to try to stop me from being quite so scatty).  Lou, who does the product development and makes the corsets and so on, well, that's more of an issue. We can't move industrial sewing machines back to her house, so at the moment she's occasionally picking very low-density travel times and going to the workshop (which hasn't had anyone else in it for 2 months anyway) to do some frenetic sewing and then scoots back home.



This is Lou, who as you can see does the travelling about that I can't

Like most tiddly businesses, none of us have access to an income if we stop running completely.
I do not have 1-3 months worth of operating costs stashed anywhere.
Nor am I insured for this (even if insurers were paying out, which, look, in like, 15 years of business I'm not sure I've ever seen insurance pay up!)
Nor, in a genius move, do we fall under ANY of the government schemes to help.  They've made the grants only apply to businesses that have a property, which we do not have precisely because I am already ill, and they are running the loans through the banks, which means they have put significant checks on them. Guess who doesn't have a great credit history or any assets I can use as a personal guarantee after 15 years of severe life-limiting illness, folks. Funtimes. I gather other countries governments organise things differently.

Anyways, all of which is to say that, if you are offended by my continued trading, I take your point, but perhaps you could direct your ire to the system that has produced this effect.


Lou also makes corsets, including this one for The Lingerie Addict, shot by the Togfather. 

In the meantime, my main focus is to keep Lou and Maz off the streets and me in essential medications the government also never supplies (especially as my usual healthcare has been cancelled for the forseeable), and I very much appreciate those of you who join us in that journey and can cope with my gallows humour throughout.


So, to not practical things. Look, my fellow ill people have been doing an excellent job of explaining to people how to survive extended periods of being stuck in one place and how you do still need to keep a schedule, wash, open a window, don't spend all day in the same pyjamas you slept in (look; you need day jammies and night jammies. That's just how it works), all that jazz, and there's plenty of other folks helping with keeping active or coping with being on your own or god help you coping with parenting solo. So pretty much most stuff you can search for. 

But I have noticed one thing which is that I am semi-regularly getting asked basically "is this reaction I am having 'normal'?"

And I'm a bit . . . oh . . . they told you all to go home and change your lives completely for an indefinite period with a lot of uncertainty due to illness - and forgot to mention that you should probably expect to experience this as at best as stressor and quite probably as loss, trauma and/or grief, depending on various circumstances, previous history, etc.

I started on a list of the ways people react to those then realised the answer is "every reaction under the sun and then some".

If you are experiencing something or behaving some way that you don't usually, instead of wondering whether your reaction is 'normal' (a concept I just can't get behind at the best of times), it can be more useful to think about what sense you have made of what's happening, and whether your response to it then makes sense.
You probably know how you would usually react to severe stress, loss or grief, and you may, unfortunately, know how you handle trauma, so, does the state you're in make sense in that context?
I hope that's of some use. None of us are 'normal' but most of the time we do have reactions that make some sort of sense.

Anyway - other than that, I hope you're all ok and properly supported to do what you can to avoid spreading this virus. I can see most of us are never going to want to hear "flatten the curve" ever again.

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