Spill the beans... on cutting Post Office queues (revisited)



  • stinky
    stinky Posts: 25 Forumite
    Save yourself time - don't use the Post Office. Buy your car tax online (very easy to do) and use Paypal postage for ebay etc. (again very easy to do).

    All great - APART FROM - this means your local post office doesn't make any money. That will then cause them to close it down. So that when you do actually need to use them - they won't be there! Great thinking Sherlocks!

    Wish the emphasis of this site was changed from save money regardless of the consequences, to one where people appreciate that while you may save yourself some money ultimately it will have an effect elsewhere.

    Maybe I'm lucky because I live in a village with a very friendly post master - Jim. But he has explained to me plenty of times how his business relies on the revenue that he gets from things like the Tax Disc etc. If you buy it online, the only people that benefit will be the Company - the Post Office. If you are only interested in big companies benefitting - rather than the small people, the employees and local businesses down the line, then by all means do so.
  • brila
    brila Posts: 126 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker Mortgage-free Glee!
    I gave up with two local sub POs because of unhelpfuless, rudeness and was v happy with our crown PO - plenty of staff, swift service etc. But last year this was moved into a branch of WHSmiths and is now inaccessible with a pushchair and there is no room to queue when busy so horrible to go on Saturdays when OH can look after the toddler. I discovered that Royal Mail will collect post from your house (about £5 a time depending on how early in the day your collection is). I post a lot of stuff so have a booked collection twice a week (costs £8.50 a week) and considering a PO trip would take an average of 1 hour (20 mins each way on foot pushing buggy with parcels hanging off every handle and 20 mins queuing) this is £4.25 a hour plus sanity saved and rain avoided etc. I buy stamps in various denominations directly from Royal Mail and they send stationery too (airmail stickers, recorded delivery labels etc.). If you post a lot of stuff it is worthwhile. In my old town the POs were great, but here I wouldn't lose a bit of sleep if they all closed down tomorrow. Maybe it would be better if they stuck to posting things instead of trying to be a one stop shop for absolutely everything - we have choices about going elsewhere for other services but little choice for posting the occasional package.
    On a mission.
  • MediSin
    MediSin Posts: 118 Forumite
    My local PO is also usually full of crackheads cashing giros, and we now have that horrible ticket system thing. It reminds me of signing on and makes me miserable. Anyway, my two main tips are:
    1. If your ticket says '22 customers in front', take the ticket, go and do your shopping and come back in 20 minutes. Works every time.
    2. Make sure you take the right ticket! I've seen people who have waited half an hour and got to the counter, only to be told "no, that's a counter services ticket. You need to go and get a special delivery ticket and queue again" - which seems inhumane. You're at the counter, and they never ever take the tickets, so what difference does it make?!

    But other than the crackheads and the stupid ticket system, the PO is doing a good job. And the crackheads aren't really the PO's fault!

    Having said that, avoid like the plague near xmas - two staff behind the counter while a third sellotapes balloons to the walls. No! Leave the balloons and sell me a postal order! :rotfl:
  • Check out the different post offices in your area. There are 2 by me, both about the same distance but in opposite directions. I used to use one, but the queue was always enormous and everything was priced as a packet, even if it could have scraped through as a letter.

    I tried the other one as was going to that part of town anyway. It's very tatty-looking and run down, but the staff were excellent, tried to price things as letters if possible, and no queue! I always post everything there now as they deserve my cash, unlike the other place.
  • DaveAshton
    DaveAshton Posts: 7,851 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    jask86 wrote: »
    1. Paypal postage online is a god send for all ebayers.
    2. DO NOT buy you stamps over the post office counter, by them at Superdrug when they have the 5% off deal. (We did this for our wedding invites)
    3. Pay all bills online or through the post by cheque using your cheap stamps.
    4. I havent paid my car tax at the post office for about the last 2 years, doing it online cuts down time and it is a fast service (Well done DVLA)
    5. Dont get your travel insurance over the counter get it online where you can compare prices.
    6. Euros can be bought online or at Marks and Spencers.
    No wonder all the Post Offices are closing :rolleyes:
    Back on MSE after a 5 year hiatus.

    :heart2: Rhi :heart2:
  • If you are going to use the Post Office in Manchester city centre try to avoid the main post office in Spring Gardens as they have installed a new system where you print a ticket and wait for your number to be called. This was meant to speed everything up but has had the opposite affect, last week I waited for 30 minutes with 60 people in front of me and this was at 3pm.

    I finally walked out and walked to the post office on Brazzenose Street, it's only 5 min walk, near the Town Hall and when I went in it was empty with 4 cashiers waiting to serve me.

    I will use this post office from now onwards as I receive my disability benefits through the post office card account and the post office do not prioritise this account, all it would take is to have a separate button on the ticket machine for it and then if the bureau exchange wasn't empty we could use that as they sit there for hours without customers.
    :coffee: Don't get ripped off
  • SuzySF
    SuzySF Posts: 118 Forumite
    we had two in our small rural town (20,000 pop) one closed as the guy running it was caught with his hand in the till - easiest way to shut one down, that left one, on a housing estate opp a high school some way out of town - the powers that be shut that one too, despite a HUGE PETITION, protests MP's AM's and anyones else joining in. I used this one, it was easy to get to, easy parking (we are rural so car is a necessity not a luxury) and helpful staff. The main office is in the middle of town - no parking,, double yellow lines, 5 desks alway 2 operatives and ques out of the door....so i now travel in the totally opposite direction to a sub in a village - again super service,no ques, easy park except when going there and to town shopping I now do a round trip of 15 mls where as it used to be 6 mls round triip...

    and they bang on about cutting greehouse gases - it it me ???? lol

    so i say always use a sub generally its better service, they have more time for you, no or short ques and less stress all round :)
    What goes around - comes around
    give lots and you will always recieve lots
  • caz21_2
    caz21_2 Posts: 6 Forumite
    While I hate standing in queues, post offices are a vital lifeline for many communities. I personally use my post office as much as possible as it is too late to get them back once they have closed down. I know time is money etc, but does standing in the post office queue for 10 minutes save you money??? This is a money saving website - not time saving.

    Rant over:mad:
  • My local sub knows everything I send is LLunless I tell them otherwise.

    The sub near work lets me tell them the weight and how I want them sent!

    The one near home are very, very quick and if busy I just drop my gear off and go and settle up later.

    Perks of living near a very good PO and using it every week for 6 years of ebaying!

    I work in a Village sub, and whilst I agree most bill paying etc can be done online, this does not help to keep our very necessary sub post offices open.
    Monday's are always busy for pensions and especially Ebay, from completed listings finishing over the weekend. Thursdays and Fridays are normally quieter unless the end or beginning of the month for Car Tax.
  • Caroline2CV
    Caroline2CV Posts: 118 Forumite
    What's the difference between a sub and Crown? :o Sorry I don't know how to tell the difference. )

    At no time have I ever worked for Royal Mail or in a PO & apologies if any of the following have already been posted:

    Here in Surrey at a Crown PO:
    1. they can issue Car Road Tax
    2. Do Passport application checks (there is a fee) but Passport is with you much quicker - plus they can tell you where you have gone wrong so you do not waste time have the Passport Office reject the application and send it all back to you

    Pre PO visit preparation using their literature - get/use/keep:
    1. 'Size Guide' way post is priced is changing (issued prior to Aug 2006 changes)
    2. 'Pricing made Easy leaflet' every time the prices go up
    3. 'Price Guide - business mail services' a A4 booklet giving more info (ring up for it)
    4. 'Mail made easy' (covers UK & International services & Code of Practice)
    5. 'Post in time for Christmas'
    6. A set of digital scales that go up in 5g increments

    Beat the Q ideas
    1. Go before it opens [if within a shop that opens before the PO counter does (I am happy to be there 15 mins early - with a book)
    2. Have some extra stamps at 1p, 2p, etc for 3(b) below
    3. I pre-weigh everything - large env's/packets/parcels so I
    (a) have right cash (get no shocks) or
    (b) if got enought stamps indoor & weighed item I can put it on before going (useful if I need proof of posting etc)
    4. Buy stamps when Martin@MSE mentions that Superdrug has a promotion or before price goes up
    5. Keep a few of each of the following blank forms to complete before going to the counter:
    (a) Standard Parcels Certificate of Posting
    (b) Certificate of Posting
    (c) Recorded 'Signed for' - 1st and 2nd class
    (d) Special Delivery 'next day'
    (e) Despatch Certificate (if using Parcel Force)
    (f) Lost, damaged or delayed inland mail claims forms
    (g) Customer Care Manager (prepaid forms) Post Office Counters Ltd so you can fill in the Comments re time waited/staff politness etc

    NB Apologies if the Royal Mail has gone over to a different method but my stock of the above forms are still valid.

    If you use any of the forms always ask for a couple to take home for pre PO trip completion to save time

    5. Buy a few (if you use them a lot) prepaid Special Delivery self seal envelopes.
    6. Buy stamps on line
    7. If going to hit an unavoidable Q then at Xmas my light fold up chair I goes with me as the normal Q time then can be up to 40 mins
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