Not all of you run post offices - and if you are thinking of taking one on, you should know that it’s not for the faint-hearted and you need to be good at sums (always impresses me, who is so rubbish at them), of good character and probably very patient - so you probably don’t know that the dear old Post Office has been at the heart of the high street/community for 400 years. With eleven-and-a-half thousand branches, it is the biggest retailer in the country.
So modernisation is on the cards. The plan is to get 8,000 of those branches to survive without government subsidy, to move to a transaction-based commission, and to get the current £200m subsidy down to £80m in a couple of years.
The message is: transform or take compensation and get out. Modernise or move to another location if yours doesn’t work.
A lot of the retailers and PO customers on the programmes said: “Leave us alone”. There were sad tales of long-serving dedicated sub-postmasters not being able to keep the business viable, and hostile public meetings.
There were almost amusing opposing scenes showing the locals tut-tutting about the proposed plans, the reps setting out their ‘visionary’ stuff and group head office gung-ho. There was salty language.
The final episode included a vision of the future - a crown PO in Kennington Park, south London, with seats and browsing area to promote lingering.
It also included what seemed to me like a few odds and ends that hadn’t quite fitted into the first two of the series. But that’s probably just me pretending to be a TV critic.