Whether it’s via drones or the New York Subway, we’re always keen to hear of innovative new parcel delivery techniques used by forward-thinking couriers.
Recently, we read about Doddle’s quirky ‘Runner’ service, which could revolutionise the way packages are delivered in busy UK cities. The premise is simple; a consumer who wishes to return goods quickly uses an app to summon a trained runner, who collects the parcels and takes them wherever they need to go.
The delivery service is being launched in London, which makes sense as it is city residents who are most likely to benefit from this kind of offer. We all know how difficult it is to get around the capital during the day. Who remembers that early episode of Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson attempted to drive around the London Marathon course quicker than a runner? Needless to say, the runner won convincingly, which underlines the challenges that London-based couriers are facing on a day-to-day basis.
Few will argue that the Runner service isn’t a good idea, but it got us thinking how parcel delivery companies might change their recruitment policies in the future. Rather than hiring someone with 20 years of van-driving experience under their belt, maybe they’ll be looking for people who can run two miles in less than ten minutes.
If you were looking to return an item in double-quick time, who would you trust to get the job done? Here are some suggestions…
1) Mo Farah
The Olympic hero has become a bit of a divisive figure in recent months, but regardless of what you think of him, there’s no denying that the guy can run long distances very quickly indeed. Earlier this year, Farah broke the two-mile indoor world record in Birmingham, posting a time of 8:03.40.
If the double-Olympic champion decided to moonlight as a parcel delivery runner, there isn’t a vehicle in the land that could compete with him.
2) Amy Hughes
According to the Office for National Statistics, online sales increased by 11.4% in June 2015 when compared with the corresponding month in 2014, and with more people shopping via the web, it’s inevitable that the demand for fast parcel delivery services will continue to grow. As such, retailers need to ensure they have access to reliable couriers for 365 days a year.
With this in mind, we’d suggest that Amy Hughes would make an incredibly good delivery runner. She might not be a household name, but Hughes made the headlines in 2014 when she broke the record for completing the most marathons in consecutive days – an astonishing 53.
This kind of reliable, unrelenting performance would certainly come in handy when couriers hit the Christmas rush. We suggest the sports therapist could make a killing in January when everybody is returning their Christmas presents. There’d be no stopping her!
3) Usain Bolt
The Jamaican sprinting legend wouldn’t have anywhere near the levels of staying power as the previous two candidates in our list, but if you wanted a parcel to be delivered over a short distance in the quickest time possible, Bolt’s your man.
Bolt ran the 100 metres in an eye-watering 9.58 seconds in 2009 – a world record that is unlikely to be touched any time soon. You’d have to be extra careful when weighing your parcel, mind. Sprinters are made for speed and huge amounts of time, money and effort are spent on making these finely-tuned athletes as aerodynamic as possible. We can’t imagine the six-time Olympic champion would be too pleased if you asked him to pick up your rock collection.
4) Forrest Gump
With an abundance of couriers to choose from, consumers have never had so many options. This means that delivery companies need to ensure they’re offering exceptional levels of service at all times if they are to stay ahead of the pack. It certainly helps if your couriers are friendly and likeable – two words that adequately describe Forrest Gump.
“Run, Forrest, Run!” is one of the most famous movie quotes of all time, and we don’t think we’ve ever met anybody who hasn’t seen the 1994 classic film. Not only did Forrest Gump, played by Tom Hanks, win our hearts with his lovable naivety, he also demonstrated that he’s a pretty nifty long-distance runner. His affectionate nature, coupled with his impressive athleticism, make him the perfect candidate for a delivery runner role, though he’s probably happy enough spending his time eating chocolates in Greenbow, Alabama.
5) Tim Shieff
You’ve probably never heard of Tim Shieff, unless you’re a fan of edgy urban sports that is. Nicknamed ‘Livewire’ Shieff is a professional freerunner, a world champion no less, and is renowned for pushing the boundaries of what is safe and logistically achievable.
Anybody who is familiar with parkour will be aware of the kind of amazing acrobatics that the runners are capable of. The object is to get from one inner-city point to another, running, climbing, rolling and somersaulting your way through any obstacles that lie in your way.
It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s hard to think of many people better equipped to transport parcels around a busy city on foot than freerunners. We’ve got visions of a slightly unhinged runner gleefully sliding across the roof of a stationary delivery van as they race across town with several parcels in tow. In fairness, your package is probably going to arrive in better condition having travelled in the back of a van than it would in the rucksack of a freerunner who has a penchant for doing backflips.
What does the future hold?
We may jest, but who knows what weird and wonderful new ways of delivering parcels will emerge in the future? It seems that delivery drones are only a few years away from becoming mainstream and who would have predicted that a decade ago? One thing’s for sure, couriers are getting busier and are going to great lengths to ensure their customers’ needs are being met. That can only be good news for consumers!
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