P. O.

If you’re seeking an example of an institution that reflects our national decline, take a a trip to your local Post Office counter and try to send a parcel.

You’d think that nothing could be simpler, but you’d be wrong. They might have toned down on the non-sequitur, Poundland-style counter upselling, but the commission-bereft battleaxes on duty make up for their loss with naked passive-aggression and a rabid desire to dominate.

First up, you’ll be asked what’s in your parcel, ostensibly to ensure that you are not dispatching prohibited items.

If you make a declaration that the items are not prohibited, the goalposts are moved, and you’ll still be pressed for the precise details. Of course, disclosing this might potentially invade the privacy of the recipient (you might be sending something from which a confidential condition could be readily deduced), and in the case of valuables you may be forced to compromise the security of the package.

Non of that matters a jot to these postal poe-faces. And let’s face it, given the volume of parcels, snide, sticky-fingered staff won’t want to take risks slicing open packages unless they know what’s in them. For some, the answer to that question is the key to the door.

The valuables question is of course institutionally a sales ploy. In erroneously stating that there is a £20 cap on compensation, they can force passengers down the route of shelling out a post sack of more wonga for essentially the same service. After all, the proposition is for a parcel to be delivered to the required destination. The £20 caper is an artificial level to denote what they will readily pay in the event of a loss or damage and a low-enough bar under which to push a high-enough percentage of units into leads for the counter-charlatans to convert.

Moreover, as we should all know if we pause to think about it, compensation at any level can be claimed from the Post Office – and indeed any service provider – and later pursued in the courts. No amount of ‘our process’ organisational bullshit can restrict customers’ fundamental right to seek redress for loss that be proved to be the fault of another party.

Add all these questions together, and you have staff pressing for information on parcel contents which they don’t need while pressing you to take out postal insurance. Once you’ve disclosed to Doris at the desk that Grandmother’s diamond ring is in the package, you’re going to feel a lot more inclined to protect it.

Aside from the employee-theft, sales and commission angles, don’t they just love the power trip? Retail shop workers had their day during COVID when they regularly got off on being empowered to order customers to stand behind tape lines. That obtuse mania lives on at the Post Office counter.

They’re a nasty bunch of bastards with a captive customer base. You can’t just tell them to P. O.

You can of course drop an outright lie, and your parcel will be accepted. No matter how incomprehensible or nonsensical your description, the probe goes no further. It’s all a game to boost sales, which is exploited to the full by the resident in-house tea leaves.

Tellingly, making any complaint via the website returns a message stating that a response might be delayed because the organisation is facing ‘unprecedented demand’.

Usually that is shorthand for ‘we’ve over-slashed resource so cannot cope with moderate demand’, but in this case they must be awash with complaints.

The level of shite service is undoubtedly unprecedented.

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