Saturday, August 9, 2014

Parcel Motel Review: a site every Irish online shopper needs to know about

There's a long list of things that get my goat. This one, however, will definitely strike a chord with any Irish online shopper who's tried to buy something online on Amazon.

 Ya know when your online and you see a few things that you like, you could be a good 15 or 20 minutes creating your online shopping cart only to go to the checkout and see, boldly, in red, 'Seller does not dispatch to this country'. Yeah. That. 20 whole entire minutes of your life gone, never to be gotten back. And apart from that, all of your little online shopping spree high is now shattered into little bit sized pieces. 

The second one that really annoys me is when you see an item you like, you then see the ever so tempting 'FREE Delivery on items over £10' and you think 'oooh, sure I'll have to get it now', only to go to the checkout and discover that the free postage is only for UK residents and the price of the postage is more than that item itself. Feck. That.

So pissed off was I that (very unlike me) I indulged in a rant. I sent Amazon an email something along the lines of the following:

Dear People of Amazon,

you really need to sort you site out. For the life of me, I really can't understand why you haven't created a function yet that allows international shoppers to only view items that are posted internationally. Instead of suffering shopping roullete everytime they go to the checkout. 
Also, for the benefit of international shoppers, could you please remove the 'Free Delivery' sticker??  I'e just been quoted £16 to post two mugs to Dublin. (yes reader, €16, €20 ... 4 glasses of wine). .... For that price I could nearly buy my own Ryanair flight for the mugs.  Is it that the mugs are going via the actualy Amazon?? And how on earth did you work out that it woud take 2 weeks to get here from  Southend?? I could personally swim and walk there to pick them up in person to collect them.

I was regaling this email in full to my cousin, (yep, not my usual shopping enabler Leah this time!) and he told all about this wonderful site called Parcel Motel. As the conversation went on I could feel my cortisol levels drop. It's such a great idea, one that seems so obvious you'd think 'how did no one come up with this before?'.

I'll admit, I'd seen the motels around the local petrol stations before. I'd been curious about it but if I'm honest, I kinda just thought it looked like effort. How wrong I was? In case though, you still don't believe me, or can't be arsed reading the site, I'll break it down for you.

  • you register on the site like you would with any other, name, address, phone number etc
  • you can either register a credit card or buy top up credit
  • you chose a pick up point to collect your parcel - there's loads to choose from.
  • you're given a personal id number
  • There are 2 addresses then to have your package sent to, one in Ireland if it's only national post, and one based in Co. Antrim if you're having an item delivered internationally. You enter one of these when you're shopping along with your id number
  • That's it! Parcel Motel do all of the hard work. They have the items sent to one of their two addresses and then  forward them on to your local pick up point.
Here comes the exciting bit. When your item has been delivered you get a text message with a pin number. At the fancy atm like screen you enter your pin and your phone number ..... and here it comes.... a mystery door pops open with presents inside! I'm such a child.

Each delivery costs only €4 which for me, was way better than 20 feckin euro. I would give the following tips though

  • items of a certain size can only be sent or delivered. Think along the lines of a pair of jeans, computer games, laptops, coats, dresses, stuff for the kitchen. 
  • The maximum weight is 10kg. They're not delivering bikes for 4 quid here.
  • It costs €4 per item sent per seller, even if you do all of your shopping on one day its not counted as one delivery. It makes more sense to buy all of your shopping from the one seller.

A service of Parcel Motel that I haven't used yet is posting or sending an item to Ireland or the UK.
It looks pretty straight forward. 

  • you enter the details online
  •  pay for it - prices start from €4.50, again using credit card or online top up credit
  •  print out a label with a barcode
  • scan it onto the screen and your local Parcel Motel ... and that's it
This will make life so much easier for a lot of people. For people working 9 to 5 jobs, who just don't have the time to make it to the post office or would like to spend their lunch hour actually eating, it means that you wouldn't have to spend your lunch hour queing up (again, effort) and that you could post the item whenever you get a chance. 

In brief, I heart Parcel Motel.

Head on over to for more information, or if all of the above sounded like confusing waffle. 

** please note, the Parcel Motel logo comes without the hearts, I'm just that sad.

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