A comment on a closed Facebook group, called Booker Symbols, from Premier retailer Adi Chauhan (Westleigh Convenience Store) went: “One for the guys that have been in the Post Office trade for quite a few years. Tell me it isn’t just me, but this job really does make you grumpy. It’s like customers come in just to be awkward. And this time of year it’s 10 times worse. Christmas makes you even more short-tempered.
“Roll on Xmas day when I’m chilling and don’t have to face any customers.”
When I commented, he added: “Maybe it would be nice to see an article about how grumpy retail can make you become. Surely there are many more who feel the same. Unfortunately, Post Office work is so monotonous; it’s definitely not the most enjoyable or rewarding job out there.”
Oh my, it triggered a whole slew of responses, not quite all printable, but with a lot of good points such as this one from Spike Millican: “If you were to walk into any franchise you would expect to be able to buy the same goods whether you’re in Derby or Stoke. With the Post office it doesn’t work like that.
“If you’re a Local you lose certain services even though you had them before. The most ridiculous one is First Day Covers and special stamps such as Olympics, or any other occasion. Which means that we can only have the bog standard Queen’s head stamps.
“They say it’s because of our lack of space for them, which is crap. A lot of Locals lose the ability to deal with Parcelforce and also certain business transactions. You can walk into one PO and buy some sort of insurance, but not others. We were lucky to get Christmas stamps. I could go on…”
He does go on, adding that he believes that the PO is shooting itself in the foot. An example: “Their stupid sizing and weight system that drives customers to use competitors. One gram over 2kg and it goes from a fiver to £12.98 by Parcelforce. Over 60cm and it can be £2.90 to £12.98 by Parcelforce. Customer just goes ‘bye bye Post Office, hello Hermes’.”
But perhaps the best responses were the comments about the customers themselves. “No, I don’t have Sellotape to seal up your parcel. Here’s your 20 stamps, now stick them on yourself! Can you take 35p out of your account?”
As a group they object to customers who think the PO counter is their office, and those who insist that letter boxes are bigger than the large letter size, and the ones that seal and write on their envelopes before paying for them.
And the pensioners that need telling every week that the card is in the machine the wrong way: “Turn it over, put your number in, press enter, press enter again, take your card out…come on man, you’ve only been doing it for 15 years!”