On Post Office preparing itself for the 20th century, and they wonder why they haemorrhage business

Hobbes, I am glad I have some time tonight, it has been a while since I wanted to write a post about one of the signs that no matter how hard Mr Brown-and-eye work, UK will suffer in the years to come.

The issue that will kill old Europe and might give some hope to the USA (as long as they stop counting burger-flippers as service workers and the doubling of computing power as doubling production) is not other than the matter of productivity. A simple 12-letter word that in places like Spain would take 3 people to put together, 2 to manage and 2 to supervise the job, plus 6 pensioners to enjoy the view and give directions (pay them all and you get rid of the 2,598,800 unemployed).

Take the Post Office for example. I happen to enjoy (and enjoyment is the word) going a few times a week to the local Post Office in Belgravia. As SMist as it may sound, I actually look forward to it, since no TV show can improve real, sad, every day life.

I’ll save you the details of the characters in the play, the pointless arguments, the patronising attitude, the rudeness, these are (some) angry little people working in a monopoly’s window (or at least that’s your reality unless you are a big, big business). Oh! How much I long for the good all days back at the local US Post Office in Tucson, that was good service!

After about 3 years going weekly to the same branch, last spring I had my first non-argumental conversation with one the ladies there (you know, the nice one, who else?).
Suddenly, the thinking heads surrounding Adam Crozier, Royal Mail’s CEO, looked ahead and saw the future. They thought up a great idea, to type in the details of every signed for or recorded mail from origin. I guess that it answers some cost cutting somewhere or effort at improving efficiencies, but they forgot a key element of the equation.

Once thought impossible, their staff’s typewriting skills are poorer than their ability to sympathise with a Chinese immigrant trying to send a parcel to the States using their recorded delivery service. As hilarious as it is to see how these, mostly, middle age men struggle to type Kurfürstendamm 232, 10719 Berlin, Deutschland with one finger, it beggars believe that they haven’t even bothered to a) check their staff skills and b) provide training where needed.

I thought of sending a complaint letter, but I stopped doing that when all I received as answer was, and I quote, “Thank you very much for letting us know”.

Last Christmas we were about 30 people (they are called clients in other latitudes) outside the post office freezing under the winter rain every day. I have calculated that, at 3 minutes per international mail, it’s going to be a very interesting winter.

They are thinking 21st century when dealing with pre-war skills. I even got once  a “computer says no” as an answer! I swear!



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