Saturday, December 16, 2006

Post Haste

Post Office Blues

The government's rush to close thousands of post offices is inevitable, but they have the wrong offices in their sights!

Highlighted in every local news bulletin is the dramatic effect on an already fragile rural community of closing its post office. Pub's gone. Village shop's gone. Post Office goes: village goes – swamped by Chelsea tractors driven by interlopers who never buy stamps; they get their underlings to do if for them.

I have a solution!

Some post offices will have to close. It's patently obvious that when you can do almost everything on-line there isn't going to be enough trade to justify subsidising an unprofitable local amenity. The bean-counters win again! Well, there's a surprise.

So, offices will go. The question is where? Solution? Close the medium-sized post offices in medium-sized towns and villages. Keep the small ones open. Sound silly? Not on your nelly!

I volunteer Wroxham Post Office as a trial site. Now, please – before I commit hari-kiri in the queue. You see, a medium-sized office like Wroxham should be a real bonus to the community. Instead, it brings out the worst in both the customers and the staff.

Christmas is worse than usual. Every dough-brain in Wroxham feels the need to queue for hours in order to spend 15 minutes asking (inanely) when the price of stamps went up: does the new size limit on letters apply to Christmas cards: how long a card will take to get to New Zealand: will my sister have to pay postage if I forget to put a stamp on her card (as I have done for the last six years, isn't that hilarious!!): when does the Post Office close for Christmas (there is a very big sign with this information prominently displayed): and (my personal favourite), can I send important documents to the DVLA by regular post? I'm not making these up! I heard them all in just one session of standing in the queue to buy a few stamps.

Now, in a small rural post office some of these numpties would not be there. They would get on the bus and go to Norwich and plague the city-dwellers at the main post office instead. Locals could get in their cars, have a pleasant drive to Coltishall, visit the rural post office and have a pie and a pint in the local pub!

Bob's your uncle: Fanny's your aunt! Everybody wins! The village troglodytes are in Norwich where they will fit in very well. The Chelsea brigade are at home and not clogging up the car parks. The rural Post Office once again becomes profitable. I don't have to regurgitate a perfectly good meal on the clean floor of the Wroxham Post Office while Mrs Minge-Brain wets herself with apoplectic dismay when confronted by the concept of having to produce documents and a cheque made payable to the Post Office all in the same visit in order to tax her car (which she only uses twice a year).

My case is rested.

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