Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Where , oh where is the Post Office ??

I was dumbfounded to find , on my last trip to Hanley , that the Post Office I've always used (grand , large old building) has been closed down and "replaced". You would never guess where though!

I'm talking about post office facilities for a major , very busy town with a huge shopping precinct ; Hanley being the principle one of the so called "Five Towns" that make up The Potteries area .Every time I had to go there , I found that although the queues were long, it wasn't a problem because there were at least 11 cashier points , so there wasn't a tediously long wait , and anyway whose spirits could flag when listening to that voice endlessly announcing with auto-enthusiasm - primed to make you feel like you've won something in a game show - "Cashi-eeer number threeee !" I certainly felt I could get my parcels in to the post with confidence . Now I will have to go to W.H Smith.

Yes , that's right ; W.H Smith is where the new improved (?) Post Office resides . At the back of the store . One floor up in the shopping precinct ... so handy for the elderly or infirm ! Of course , it isn't even half the size of the old place ; now groaning under the weight of "For Sale" and "To Let" boards .

I only ever thought of W.H Smith as a trusted , if a little unimaginative , High Street store , where they sell .. stuff . Stationery doodads and over-priced cards I could make better myself , magazines and a few . Maybe this is uber-rebranding ? I can't imagine how this hybridisation was arrived at , but the deeply cynical , enquiring part of me would like to know just how much of a symbiotic relationship this is intended to be.Perhaps during negotiations the fly on the wall would have heard :

P.O "Ah ! You know we can sell all the stamps for your cards "

W.H.S " Oh yes - a customer can purchase a CD then go to the window and post it
straight away "

P.O " Do you think they'll notice the hugely reduced floor space / lack of cashier points / fewer , depressed (as so many lost their jobs ) staff ?"

W.H.S " No , neither do I ... we have some other nice little stores for post office replacements in major cities if you're interested ?!"

Let's hope this won't spark a worrying trend : Combination Shopping - or some other nasty sound-bitey name . "Hey ! I need to pay the telephone bill ; just nipping to Marks and Spencer !" , or how about Council Offices tucked up behind the sweet counters in Woolworths ? Seems a nice fit .

I can't take my parcels to the super-efficient post office , that used to be a short walk away near my estate . It was shut down ... despite a long , long petition , and the anguished pleas of village residents ; some of whom , being elderly , must now be hard pressed to get to the other "local" one by bus.

I do hope , for their sake , the other purely W.H.Smith shoppers milling about on busy Saturdays , won't find all these people manoeuvring parcels tetchily along the aisles an inconvenience .

Next time I go , after my ride up the escalator , perhaps I'll find it's now called W.H.Office .....or maybe PostSmith ?
Whatever !!

T.T.F.N Ruth xx


All Bear said...

Find you! Great rant Ruth! What can the 'powers that be' be thinking of????!! GRRRRRR!!!!

Ruth said...

Hi Paula , the mind just boggles doesn't it ? Could the Post Office be run by spectacularly dim people from an alternative universe ???? LOL !!

Vee said...

Canada Post "privatized" our services years ago. The little outlets are everywhere... small shopping strips. linked with dry the Shoppers Drug Marts.. or, best yet... right beside the liquor stores...

The worst of it is... they, of course, are hiring 16 year olds. (nobody wants to work anymore and get basic wage so it is getting pretty tough to find anybody) ... They know nothing, are rude and stand around sighing, rolling their eyes skywards and insisting they know it all. the worst part is ..they haven't a clue where in the world some of the countries are and, of course... you get nothing but problems with sending out mail, but more importantly parcels!! I have even refuted to buy stamps or to trust some of the prices I have been quoted recently by said teens ...took them to a separate office and sure enough... about 1/3 less in price. Hmmmmmm.... time to try to find a more reliable source of sending. Bring back the pony express!!!

Vee said...

that would be "refused" ...not "refuted" on the stamps... lol

Ruth said...

Well that is dreadful Vee !!! I can totally imagine (said) teens ; with the eye-rolling , tutting , and complete lack of comprehension re Customer Service !!! At least we still get well trained counter staff.