In the 25 April issue I reported on Kim Gorny’s loss of the lottery terminal in her post office owing to the goal posts being moved over minimum turnovers and resulting in her ageing village population having to go the extra mile themselves, as it were, to buy tickets (once Kim’s efforts to reduce miles were effectively thwarted by Camelot). This prompted two stand-out responses.
Diane Bell sent a fax from her PO/Stores at Nettleton, Wiltshire, saying: “This is a word for word account of our own experiences; in fact, it could be our little shop and PO.”
She adds: “Personally, I feel the fault is with the Post Office for not doing any research beforehand. We would never, ever sell £800-worth of lottery (the new minimum), but the terminal was virtually foisted upon us.”
The following day came an email from Pam Forey, sub postmaster at The Village Shop in Lurgashall in West Sussex.
She writes that she and the villagers were all delighted when they got the lottery via the Post Office; minimum sales were not mentioned.
“Now they want £800 pounds per week: IMPOSSIBLE!”
Pam wasted several phone calls trying to explain that one of the main reasons this was impossible was that Lurgashall has a parish population of just 500 and no public transport.
“With getting nowhere with Camelot I tried the Post Office, only to be told they are only an agent and have no control over what Camelot does.”
And she adds: “If you want to know how rural we are ask your group managing director as his mother and father live here.”
That took me back - to the late seventies - when Laurence Reed, father of current managing director Charles Reed, gave me my first job in grocery journalism on a magazine which morphed in 1985 into Convenience Store. It’s thanks to them that I’ve got this column today.
And how I wish I could get Camelot to reinstate the terminals in Lurgashall, in Nettleton, in Kim Gorny’s shop and in goodness knows how many other village post offices. Sorry to say, it’s all about the money.