Downtime

Aug 20 2012   2:38PM GMT

How hard can it be to buy a stamp ?

Bill Goodwin Profile: Bill Goodwin

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You would think with modern technology buying a stamp at the Post Office should be a quick and easy process. Not so, infact it is a highly demoralising experience, Downtown discovered when one of the Computer Weekly staff visited the Post Office round the corner with the intention of buying a single first class stamp.

In the old days there used to be machines where you put your money in and buy a stamp without having to wait in a queue that is so long that you need professional counselling to survive it, but not so in the Great Portland Street branch apparently.

Seeing no obvious way of quickly buying a stamp, your Computer Weekly correspondent spotted the nice man in the Bureau de Change who sold him travel insurance and foreign currency only the week before. Then the man had been very helpful, and even offered him a Post Office credit card for use overseas.

“Its not Foreign Exchange, but could I buy some stamps,” the Computer Weekly man asked.  He was just about to reach for the stamps, when suddenly he changed his mind. “All our customers are special, so you have to join the queue like everyone else,” he said. “But I only want a stamp,” our man replied. “Its the same for everyone,” he said. “But its not worth spending my whole lunch time in queue for just for a stamp. I could buy one at a newsagent without queuing,” our man replied.  “Yes you could, but I can’t tell you which newsagent sells them because I don’t know”

The correspondent spent the rest of his lunchtime unsuccessfully looking for a newsagent before creeping sheepishly back to the Post Office. The man in the Bureau de Change saw him coming and suddenly became busy with another customer.

“Er, do you possibly have a machine where I can buy a stamp without having to wait in that enormous queue,” he asked a women at the counter next to the Bureau de Change. He was shocked by the response:  “I can sell you one. What do you need ? We have books of 12 or 100. Do you want Olympic stamps or normal stamps ?”

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