Late in the Year

I’ve noticed over the last few months that things coming from the UK to Ireland are getting heavily delayed en route, which is probably a sign of things to come. Last year my Royal Astronomical Society diary arrived in October. This year’s – complete with new logo – arrived yesterday (Friday 11th December):

The subscription to Physics World that comes with my IOP membership has suffered even worse disruption. Since I moved to Ireland I noticed that copies of this magazine take at least 6 weeks to arrive. After the pandemic started however, they stopped coming altogether until I contacted the Institute of Physics last month. They sent a package of replacement issues, which arrived promptly. The December issue arrived last week, in a white paper envelope instead of the usual plastic covering. Why that would make a difference to its speed of delivery I don’t know, but it seems to.

Usually I get an IOP wall planner every year, but the 2021 version hasn’t arrived yet. I’m not too worried about that, however, as the 2020 planner in my office is probably the item that proved of least use for me in 2020. Come to think of it, I haven’t had much call to use the RAS diary, either…

Some weeks ago I ordered a couple of chairs through a website with a “.ie” address. The chairs were actually made in Spain though and had to make the journey to Ireland through the UK. This process took much longer than I thought it would but when I queried with the supplier I was eventually given a delivery date of last Sunday (6th December). They didn’t show up. Using the tracking facility supplied by the company, the two packages seemed to have been lost. The customer service people had no information either. I was about to cancel the order and asked for a refund, but they showed up in Ireland on Thursday night; I received delivery this morning and am very happy with them. All’s well that ends well, I suppose, though the disruption to shipments coming through the UK is obviously not going to stop anytime soon.

My strong preference in shopping online is to buy from local (i.e. Irish) companies. Sometimes, though, businesses based elsewhere have a website in Ireland but nothing else. A lesson from this episode is to check carefully where the goods are actually going to be sent from before you order. Those that have to travel through England will probably arrive very late.

6 Responses to “Late in the Year”

  1. Phillip Helbig Says:

    “Sometimes, though, businesses based elsewhere have a website in Ireland but nothing else.”

    Is that due to, shall we say, creative tax laws?

  2. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen my monthly copy of PW in months. I’m sorry to say I haven’t really missed it – the magazine seems to have changed target audience in recent years. I seem to remember that you’d regularly find feature articles and book reviews by top physicists in a given issue. Nowadays, all the main articles are written by ‘science writers’ who are not specialists on the topic at hand. More and more, I find myself avoiding the articles that touch on topics I know something about…

    • telescoper Says:

      Cormac, I know quite a few people who haven’t received their copies for many months. I suggest you contact the IOP if you want to get the missing copies. I agree that the content isn’t great, though, so it might not be worth the effort. I am seriously thinking of resigning my IOP Fellowship anyway.

      • Jonivar Skullerud Says:

        My father in Norway has been receiving his copy regularly throughout the year. I wonder how much mail sent to colleges is just disappearing because nobody is there most of the time? On the other hand, my copies of Fra Fysikkens Verden have arrived although Physics World has not.

  3. I rarely read my copy of PW either. I wonder if it is possible to opt out of he hard-copy mailing? It would be a nice saving of resources.

  4. It used to be a great magazine, with well-written feature articles by leaders in the field. I used to get such a thrill getting insights from top players in the field, writing for larger audience. Nowadays, the feature articles always seem to be aimed at non-physicists, I don’t understand it

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