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The Post Office is now the centre for so many things, savings, all types of insurance, paying bills, the list goes on. But I have to comment that I have found the one thing they seem to fail on regulaly is posting letters, or rather charging the correct amount. I post six letters a month, each have the same content, all going to different locations. I take all the letters to the Post Office counter and have each weighed and franked. So why is it that some of the recipiants of my letters are charged an excess, with the postman saying there is not enough postage paid. When I complained to Post Office Ltd. they said it was not the Post Office but the delivery office that got it wrong. If I pay for any item in a shop and send that item to a friend the shop cannot then decide they have not charged me enough and make my friend pay a surcharge, so how I ask is the Post Office getting away with it. The Post Office was originally set up to get letters from A to B I think its time they got back to basics.
Like many people on here, I have grown up with the Post Office, and have used it regularly since I was younger. The first memory I have was having a little blue book, and I'd go along with my Mum each week and pay in acouple of pounds. This was my rainy day money. My Mum also used to buy me commemorative stamps, and first day covers.
Fast forward to the 1990's and I was still going to the post office (not with my Mum obviously:-)) but in order to post bulk amounts of mail for my mail order section of my company. It was around this time that many post offices started to disappear and the queues would grow longer and longer.
I am fortunate, in the fact that I live in a City. Within a 3 mile radius of my house, we have 5 post offices. So I can't really complain about not having a local one. However what I can complain about is how busy these places are, and how long I am expected to queue.
One part of my self employment relies heavily on Royal Mail. Much of the post I send needs to be sent Recorded or by Special Delivery or is an odd shape or size. So it really isn't a case of me buying a dozen stamps from Tesco, and posting the letters in the nearest letter box. I need to go to the Post Office in order to send these items. I have little other choice.
At this time of the year, the queues aren't so bad. But leading upto Christmas, I can happily (or not) queue for over 45 minutes in our local post office to send items, and this really is just not acceptable. I have tried the others locally and have a similar problem there also. The staff are great and I have nothing but sympathy for them, when they have long queues and unhappy customers to deal with.
However the Post Office still insists in generating more business. This includes Savings, Car Insurance, Tax, Travel Insurance, Foreign Currency. I know that they need (or appear to need) to do this to make profits, but they are failing their customers already, in keeping them waiting.
Yesterday I was in the Post Office. I had queued for 20 minutes, and then found myself behind somebody who wanted their Passport Checking. This is another service that the Post Office offer, at a fee. So now I'm left standing there, looking into space, whilst the passport is combed over to find any mistakes. I'm not being unfair here, and I never moaned, but really should I have to wait?
The Post Office I go to most regular, is more happy selling all the extras such as cards, paper, gifts etc than dealing with their main tasks. For this reason, although I have seen some nice gifts, I refuse to buy anything from them, simply because the way I am treated.
I have actually started to send some items by courier now, rather than having to queue up. The transaction is completed on line, and the courier collects. Very simple. Although this won't worry the Post Office directly, it must be a concern to Royal Mail, who give them a lot of work.
I personally would like to see Royal Mail open up outlets in Supermarkets etc. It needn't be the Post Office, but just somewhere were the customer can be dealt with more efficiently. Either that or open up more Post Offices again - or simply employ more staff.
Anyway I've had my rant. I'm going to give the Post Office 2 Dooyoo Stars. Like my Teacher used to say - much room for improvement!!
I tend to visit the post office at least once a week to post letters and have found it invaluable for my hobby of penpalling. Whilst it's not always necessary to visit the post office to send a letter (you can use the internet or put the stamps on yourself) if you're sending anything of a larger size/weight, to a different country or using a postal method such as recorded delivery then the post office is your best bet (alternatively there is 'online postage' if you want to print things out yourself and they can fit in a regular post box).
When it comes to sending post there are a number of different pay categories - regular letter, large letter and packet which are determined by the overall size of the item being sent. The weight is also a determining factor in price. Anything over the size of a regular letter or 100g in weight will cost more to send than a regular 1st or second class stamp. You can find out how much by using the royal mail's postage calculator or going into a post office and they will work it out for you.
The cost of postage tends to go up on quite a regular basis and to save myself money I usually stock up on a few books of second class stamps before each price rise.
As well as sending post, the post office also enables you to buy stamps, pay bills, buy tax and packaging equipment such as envelopes, string, brown paper and tape. Some of these services are restricted to larger post offices - for example my local post office is a small one located in the back of the newsagents and I can't get car tax from them.
I've used a number of different post offices over the years and have generally found the staff to be very friendly although some are certainly more knowledgable then others - at my local post office there is one woman who takes an age to do anything and repeats your request 'A letter to America?' about 5 times, as a result I tend to go in the mornings instead as I know this isn't when she works :P
Queues can be quite long and sometimes the wait can be substancial - this is testimony to how important the post office is to the local community. More often than not the reason for the queues slowness is the customer - not knowing what they want/having alot of post etc. which the workers can hardly be blamed for although you do sometimes wonder why they don't have more people serving in peak times.
Many post offices have been closed down over the past few years and this has resulted in great disapproval from the communities affected as many people, particularly the older generation who cannot necessarily travel further afield, rely on them for a number of things.
My personal tips and recommendations:
- If your sending something heavy abroad consider using surface mail as opposed to airmail - it can take up to 6 weeks, but can make a few pounds difference to the cost.
- If your selling something and need to know the postage costs in advance you can estimate them by weighing the item and then using the royal mails online postage calculator.
- Get proof of posting for anything you have sold/expensive items incase it gets lost in the post - you need POP if you want to claim compensation.
I haven't required the services of the post office for ages. Last week, I ventured into the one opposite my place of work during my lunch break to make a payment.
I felt like I'd walked into the future. The last time I went into this branch there were 10 cashier windows 8 of which were always empty, a worn out stained carpet and out dated wallpaper. Instead of that, I was confronted with modern decor, 3 sofas and a polished floor. It was more like a bar than a post office. I was plesently suprised.
Unfortunately, my love of the new style post office didn't last long. I soon realised that I needed to take a ticket (a bit like a supermarket deli or Argos). I took a ticket. Number 283. The number on screen was 241. There were still only 2 cashiers.
I decided I did not want to spend my entire lunch break waiting (and still possibly not getting seen) so I left it. I figured it was because it is in victoria and at a busy time of day so I'd try a different branch.
That weekend I went to Croydon. At 10.30 I ventured in to find that it too had had the same make-over and took a ticket. Number 194. The screen was on 89. I couldn't believe it. I thought I'd do some shopping and come back to see if I had been called yet. An hour and a half later I went back. Number 147 was up next. I left in disgust.
I can't imagine why the post office would decide this was a good idea.
Anyone wishing to 'pop in' to the post office can no longer do this. I imagine most people take a ticket, then leave to do other things and then go back, like I did in Croydon. This totally defeats anyone wishing to do anything during their breaktime or anyone who only needs to go to the post office and doesn't have anything else to do in the area.
The longest I have ever waited in line at a post office was 45 mins but the average was 20 mins. Since the new ticket system, I have not waited around to find out the queue times. I made my payment in a bank instead and waited for 10 mins.
The decor gets 10. The new ticket system gets a big fat 0.
This review is about the post and go machines available at larger branches of the post office.
I use ebay a lot so i regularly visit my local post office, which, unfortunatley for me is in Leeds city centre :( no matter what time or day i go it is always really busy. they have a ticket system for the counters which have useful information such as (your number) and then underneath 'only 65 customers infront of you'!! Being sick of waiting extortionate lengths of time to be served at the counters, u have recently decided to use the post and go system.
Leeds has 2 of these machines,and although there is often a pretty big queue for them, they serve quicker than the counters...unless the person in front of you has no clue what to do!
I understand that it may take people a little longer than others to get to grips with new technology and systems, but if you are one of these individuals then why are you choosing to serve yourself and then wait around for staff to come and assist?
For those of you who feel comfortable serving yourself, or 'playing shop' as my granddad calls this sort of thing (usually to the self service desks at tesco) then the machines are easy and very self explanatory.
The screen is touch screen and you have to press to get started, then you have the option to buy stamps or post an item, if you are posting a large letter or a parcel the screen clearly instructs you step by step, and you use the scales at the side of the machine. there is one of those letter measuring things with the holes in to determine whether your post is classed as letter large letter or parcel on each machine. All the important things like fragile, airmile and customs stickers are close to hand in a little compartment and you just pay with cash or card, print the postage and away you go!
The only problem i have is getting proof of postage. As i use the machines to post my ebay items this is essential for me, so i have to stick all the postage to the correct parcels and get a receipt, then i have to find a member of staff who is usually helping people 'serve themselves' or get tickets for the long queues.
If you don't require any further assistance however, there is a postbox by the machines with a fairly big hole for small parcels.
I use the post office at least once a week and this is my review.
I find the post office is great to do all of my household business at the one time. I can pay my bills easily and quickly.
It is a shame that my local post office has been closed down. I think the post offices as a whole are suffering cos most people do not want to have to go out to them if they do not need to. Lots of people on this day and age like to pay bills over the phone and also on the internet. I am old fashioned and prefer to deal with all of my money in person over the counter.
There are also the banks these days that are making it easier for customers to do their business by direct debit and using the phone and so less people need to go to the post office to pay thier things.
The post office nearest to me since they shut my little local one is still only ten minutes away from my house. I can get their easily and when I am there the staff are usually helpful. I think they are friendly to and they recognise me now and say hello and ask how I am today which I do not usually get in other shops I have been going to for years so I think the staff in the post office are great I do not have any big problem with them.
I have payment cards for a lot of items such as my council tax and my gas payment. My council tax is due monthly and my gas is due quarterly but cos I have payment cards it means I can pay money to these bills on a fortnight basis which suits me better due to when I get my personal money. The cards are just handed over to the staff in the post office and I tell them how much I want to pay to them both. Then I hand over the money and I get a little print out receipt that I can keep as proof.
I get other things at the post office like stamps as I enter a lot of competitions so need to have a stock of stamps in my purse to send them off. I also get a top up for my cell phone when I am in the post office and it suits me to do it all at the one time instead of going to the post office to pay the bills then have to go somewhere else to get my other things.
There are two cash line machines at my local post office so I can take money from one account here and then go inside to the post office and pay my bills. There are little pay point machines at each of the post office counters and I know that some people can put there cards in these machines then take there money out directly here but I am not sure what type of account this works for and I am not sure if my bank account would work on the machines but I know it would suit a lot of people and it is handy to be able to do this so it might be worth your while asking about that in your local branch.
I like my post office and I know it is quite old fashioned to go to them and pay your bills and not use the phone or internet to do it but I am used to doing it this way and it helps me keep track of my budget. I will keep doing this for now and think it is a shame that so many branches seem to be shutting down. I would miss my post office if I could not get to a branch easily and I think they are helpful and easy to use.
I use the Post Office a lot as I sell a lot of stuff on ebay. I used to go to the main post office in town on a Saturday and would end up queuing for over half an hour and would often get dirty looks from other customers when they saw that I had a big bag of items to post. With the new system of normal letters, large letters and parcels - then the over and under certain weights; it is much more confusing to know how much things are going to cost to post.
However, the people who run the post office next to where I work are a delight. I go in in the morning with my bag of post and he sorts it all out during the day when it is not so busy and when he has time in-between serving customers. Then I pay on my way home from work and he gives me all my receipts. This is made my life much easier and the post office manager thanks me for my good custom.
I am really torn with the post office. On the one hand, it's our national postal service, enabling letters to travel around the country and internationally reasonably quickly for not all that much money.
On the other hand they drive me completely batty. I can't work out how to post an item now without going into the post office and asking what class it falls into. And I don't think I'm alone. I quite frequently recieve letters or parcels with little 'inadequate postage paid' cards coming with them, which means I have to travel into town to get my parcel, and pay a fee too!
I try to post parcels through work whenever possible, as we get a reduced rate and I can do it from the comfort of my office. However I had to venture into town with a big bag of parcels a few weeks ago. It was about 12 o'clock, so early lunchtime. My post office has 6 counters, but at the time of going only 3 were open, this went down to 2 within a few minutes of my arrival as one went on lunch. I joined the queue, wishing I had brought a book to read or an ipod, because what a queue it was! Over 40 people were between me and the counter, all faffing about with car tax, gas bills, and council tax. Less than one in 5 actually wanted to post a parcel.
I appreciate people have the right to pay as they want to, but all these things can be done online, by direct debit, or over the phone, so why were they all in the post office at 12 o'clock on a Tuesday lunchtime?! In the end it took me 55minutes to get served, and I had to apologise to my boss for being late back from my lunch.
The post office operate a huge range of services, paying bills, council tax, car tax, passport applications, savings accounts, loans, mortgages, and lest you forget, posting the humble letter. However with this collosal expansion of services has not come a corresponding increase in staff. In fact post offices are closing down, and those still open always seem to be running at half their intended capacity.
I've learnt to time my visits. Don't go on a lunchtime. Don't go on a Thursday because they'll be out with the pensions. Don't go on the 1st-5th at all, as they'll be overrun with car tax and council tax. Avoid December at all costs. And it's closed Wednesday afternoon so don't go then either.
The post office is one of those nessisary evils in my life, I wish I could go elsewhere for my letters and parcels, but I think I'm just stuck with them.
Not so long ago there were post office branches everywhere you went. They were not restricted to large towns or cities, they were in all small villages and rows of shops. People were dependent on the post office to send anything. Soon other courier companies started opening and the post office appeared to undergo costcutting exercises and started closing branches. I think this put a lot of people of using the post office, it was no longer a trip down the road to the local branch, but a further journey, often more difficult to park etc. This gave other companies the gap in the market they needed to jump in and seize the post office custom.
Another recent problem with the post office are strikes, strike action by royal mail workers has lead a lot of people to suffer with their mail and often bills and other important documents are quite seriously delayed. This has also put people off using the post office.
I use the post office quite regularly, as for the type of items I need to send, there is no other readily available alternative. I send small packets, small parcels and letters. One thing that is definitely worth noting is that anything over 2kg will cost an absolute fortune and is definitely not worth sending with royal mail.
The staff at my local branch are very friendly, however at quite a few other branches I have had bad experience where the staff are unfriendly and their knowledge is lacking. I hate to say it but I think as soon as there is a real alternative to the post office then we will see lots of people leaving their custom.
We are seeing less of them of the high streets and they are always in the news but they are something that I use regularly and it is coming up to that time of year when we are all sending letters and parcels all over the place so maybe we underestimate how much we need them.
My local Post Office store is in my town centre and I use it on a regular basis so my review is not based on one visit.
The Post Office I use is at the very back of a Co-Op store and is a fairly small Post Office with about 3 staff normally on the counters and full of the regulars so whenever I go in I normally find myself in a bit of a queue which moves at a fairly slow pace due to a lot of the people in the queue being elderly and chatting to the employee who serves them but I don't mind this too much as I appreciate good service and feel that it is unfair to try to rush the elderly along as I know I will be served in the end.
The staff in store I use range from happy, helpful and chatty to grumpy and straight to the point but no matter which person serves me I always get the product I ask for with it normally being simple postage but if that is all I want then it still has to be done right.
So why should we keep Post Office going?
- Great range of products including foreign exchange, postal services (recorded delivery, special delivery, 1st and 2nd class post) and insurance
- Information leaflets
- Helpful staff
- Well laid out stores with simple queue system
- Depends on staff you get as to service you will receive
- Queue time is normally fairly long
- Regularly young children running wild
I use the Post Office because of a simple need to post packages and it is simple for me to do thanks to the staff doing their jobs with efficiency but long queue times and children running wild make me not enjoy the experience much.
I regularly make trips to the post office, generally to send out those Ebay parcels and occasionally send out the odd recorded delivery letter. Overall the post office has been an essential service. Depending on the time of day and the time of year the service seems to vary. During August, queuing up at lunch time takes approx 20 minutes at my local branch however later in the day one can be waiting as little as a few minutes. On the other hand around Christmas time the post office is very slow and very inefficient resulting in frustration.
I usually take my Ebay parcels, walk into the post office join the queue and wait for an available counter. There's always about 3 or 4 members of staff working at the counter. Most are familiar faces who have been working there over the years. It looks like an extremely boring job, simply weighing customers'' parcels, printing out labels and doing all sorts of repetitive monotonous work however all the staff tend to be polite and work at a reasonable rate.
The price of sending packages seems rather reasonable. In the whole Ebay process, the post office is the only service that has reasonable prices unlike the overinflated fees charged by Ebay and PayPal.
There have been times though when the post office has been under staffed and as a result extremely frustrating experience. Besides this, there's not much to complain about. The post office is an essential service.
The Post Office is a strange beast. Originally designed to allow the general public to send letters from one place to another it now offers more products and services than a Swiss army knife!
You can get car insurance, house insurance, pet insurance, life insurance, travel insurance, travel money, broadband, phone line, loans, credit cards, mortgages, lottery tickets... and you can actually post a letter there too... if you must!
I'm a regular user of the Post Office, mainly due to my trading on eBay and PlayTrade. My view of the Post Office varies from branch-to-branch: the local high street ones seem to be pretty good at doing their job, but the one in Crystal Peaks shopping centre (in Sheffield) is a nightmare. I'm regularly queued for upwards of 5 minutes which I wouldn't mind if it were not for the fact that a) nobody in front of me is actually posting anything and b) you can see staff sat around behind the glass doing absolutely nothing!
To be fair though, my experiences with Crystal peaks are somewhat cancelled out by the helpful guy who works in the Killamarsh branch, which I visit most often. The guy in Killamarsh only has one arm but he's infinitely quicker and more helpful than the women they employ in Crystal Peaks.
The branches around me are all in a state of disrepair and need a serious amount of cash injected into them to take them up to modern standards. Helpfully, they sell packing material (padded envelopes, bubblewrap, parcel paper etc), but unhelpfully this is all extortionately priced! The padded envelopes I use are sold at 8 for £1 in Poundland, in the Post Office they're 65p each!! 65p x 8 = £5.20 - over five times as much in Poundland!
As you can probably tell, I'm not the greatest fan of the Post Office, but unfortunately there's no real alternative - I'll keep going there as longs as I keep needing to post things!