As a lot of Post Offices have closed in the past few years you may now have to travel further to get to a post office and when you get to one of the main post offices in your town or city you may now need to queue for even longer.
Out main post office was closed and you now have to go into the basement of WH Smiths and queue for around 45 minutes on average to post anything needing weighed. The irony is the WH Smiths the post office is inside of does not sell stamps- they tell you to go and queue. Nor is there a stam machine where you could fill it with 2ps and press a button and buy one stam if that is all you needed.
Fortunately, you can now buy postage stamps in places like Superdrug and supermarkets so you should only need to venture to a post office branch if you need to get your car tax sorted (main post offices will do this only- a lot of the smaller ones will tell you to go to the main post office in your town or city), if you need to send off a passport application or pick up forms for a driving license, passport, lost item of mail or if you need to post a parcel or get something weighed.
It has turned into a dread thing (like going to the dentist)- I will now only go to the main post office as a last resort / if I absolutely have to as I know i'm going to be in there for the majority of my lunch break, I'm going to be in a queue and when I get to the counter the person serving is more often than not going so slowly if they went any slower they would stop. I say this from experience, I have lost many many hours queuing in these places!
On the plus side, you can now pay at the counter with a card- they accept card payments. There is Girobank and National Savings accounts you can deal with in branch (but it means queuing). For the sheer range of services they do or have forms for you to sort and for their car tax issuing role and parcel and airmail posting ... The post office is a necessity, but don't expect going there to always be a pleasant thing.
Post office counters is the former name for 'Post office ltd', basically they are the high St arm of the Royal Mail Group and in recent years have been undergoing a change-a BIG change.
In the old days they were there to sell you stamps, send letters and parcels and pay your pensions and allowances in cash over the counter e.g. child benefit etc, these days they seem to do anything but. These services have been steered towards the private sector i.e the government finding it cheaper to pay people their benefits through customers bank accounts. Not only this but bill payments like water.gas and electricity are all now cheaper to pay at services stations and newsagents. The tv licence cannot now be paid at your local Post Office.
Letter stamps are now cheaper to buy at your local pharmacy than they are at your local post office. All this gives people less and less reason to visit their Post Office and thus mass closures which have been going to for the last few years continue. The Post Office has being trying to diversify by launching products such as home telephone lines, credit cards,insurance and even mortgages in the last 4 or 5 years and has tried to push these at every oppurtunity through its branches.
This has resulted in people going in to send their annual Christmas gift and being met with counter staff giving them the sales pitch on car insurance and credit cards etc. Much to my annoyance when the only Post office for miles that hadn't been closed down tries to sell me a service i don't want thus increasing queues.
This practice of trying to sell things like extra insurance and credit cards has been going on for quite a few years in department stores and the like which is why i avoid them and shop online instead now, just wish the good old Post Office hadn't gone down this route.
I yearn for the old days when the Post Office did what it does best, an excellent postal service giving the customer what it he/she wants effectively and efficiently.
Hopefully they can return to that soon and it will find people flocking to its doors!