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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Jenny
    • By MSE Jenny 4th Aug 09, 2:34 PM
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    MSE Jenny
    Spill the beans... on cutting Post Office queues (revisited)
    • #1
    • 4th Aug 09, 2:34 PM
    Spill the beans... on cutting Post Office queues (revisited) 4th Aug 09 at 2:34 PM
    MSE update 29 Nov 2011: Due to its popularity last time, we've re-opened this thread in our new Spill the beans format in the hope that MoneySavers have unearthed new methods to cut out those exasperating Post Office queues ...

    Back to the original post ...

    Endless Post Office queues can drive you barmy. So we want to tap MoneySavers to find ways to spend less time in the line. Do any employees have insider tips on the best days to go? Obviously lunchtimes are best avoided, but are queues longer on certain days of the month?

    And what Post Office activities, eg, parcel posting and bill paying, can you do at home instead of going down in person.

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    Last edited by Former MSE Lee; 25-11-2011 at 2:05 PM.
Page 1
    • kissjenn
    • By kissjenn 4th Aug 09, 2:49 PM
    • 2,356 Posts
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    kissjenn
    • #2
    • 4th Aug 09, 2:49 PM
    • #2
    • 4th Aug 09, 2:49 PM
    Our Post Ofice cashes up on a Wednesday afternoon. It's a weekly activity that takes hours and they go down to one person serving. No idea if that's Post Office wide but they suggested I avoid it if at all possible.

    Also last day of month for Road Tax (and first day of month for oops I forgot to pay the Road Tax).

    Most people now get benefits directly into Bank Accounts but areas where people still use a lot of books and giros have queues out the door first thing Monday to Thursday.

    Businesses usually use 4:30pm-5:30pm slot to get their mail out for that day, so again very busy here.
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    • frivolous_fay
    • By frivolous_fay 4th Aug 09, 2:59 PM
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    frivolous_fay
    • #3
    • 4th Aug 09, 2:59 PM
    • #3
    • 4th Aug 09, 2:59 PM
    I tend to avoid the PO on market day... but at my local, they do seem to put more staff on to cover market days. So the mahoosive queue does move faster. Maybe I've got it all wrong!

    Today it was just a mahoosive queue with only 5 people serving... probably several people on their lunch break too... ah well!
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    • mrcol1000
    • By mrcol1000 4th Aug 09, 3:27 PM
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    mrcol1000
    • #4
    • 4th Aug 09, 3:27 PM
    • #4
    • 4th Aug 09, 3:27 PM
    I go to my local post office Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and its always very quiet. I think the smaller post offices are much better as long as you don't go early morning. Although I have found if you go about 9.30am on a Saturday to my local one its empty.
    A lot of people (especially elderly) on benefits still collect their money via Post Office so its still busy.
    Our main post office has self-service postage machines but getting proof of postage is an issue.
  • Premier
    • #5
    • 4th Aug 09, 3:33 PM
    • #5
    • 4th Aug 09, 3:33 PM
    If they are anything like ours, avoid the major/crown post offices at all times... unless you have 30mins to an hour you like to queue up for.

    Try and find a smaller/rural post office and hope the time you go isn't when Doris happens to go in to collect her pension. Find out which day is early closing and remember not to go then either.
  • Smart But Casual
    • #6
    • 4th Aug 09, 3:39 PM
    • #6
    • 4th Aug 09, 3:39 PM
    Use sub and not Crown. Ever!
    Terms & Conditions Apply
    • soolin
    • By soolin 4th Aug 09, 3:50 PM
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    soolin
    • #7
    • 4th Aug 09, 3:50 PM
    • #7
    • 4th Aug 09, 3:50 PM
    My sub has shorter queues but is reluctant to allow anything to go as a large letter, everything is a pocket. The crown one is busy, an average wait of 25 minutes but if I can get my item through the slot it is a large packet.

    So I judge which post office to use by the sort of items i have to post.
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  • jtaylor2008
    • #8
    • 4th Aug 09, 4:06 PM
    • #8
    • 4th Aug 09, 4:06 PM
    Use sub and not Crown. Ever!
    Originally posted by Smart But Casual
    What's the difference between a sub and Crown? Sorry I don't know how to tell the difference. (And no, not a wind up post!)
  • chja
    • #9
    • 4th Aug 09, 4:08 PM
    • #9
    • 4th Aug 09, 4:08 PM
    Almost all bills can be paid on line, or even better use Direct Debit then now work at all needed (ignore tha paranoia about people taking money out your account, it's the safest way to pay someone - guaranteed by the Banks - and you may even get a discount from the utility).

    Pre-complete customs/recorded/sd labels (the PO will give you a stock).

    Try to avoid lunch times (duh), and if the PO is near a school then about 20-30 mins before it ends.

    Ours does some form of reconcilliation at about 4pm, which takes one of the two staff off the till. Any shops that bank at the PO are likely to be in there sometime between 4-5 also.

    Pretty small windows of opportunity really.
    Last edited by chja; 04-08-2009 at 4:11 PM.
    • mrcol1000
    • By mrcol1000 4th Aug 09, 4:16 PM
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    mrcol1000
    What's the difference between a sub and Crown? Sorry I don't know how to tell the difference. (And no, not a wind up post!)
    Originally posted by jtaylor2008

    Crown is your big one in the centre town. Sub is your little village one or one on the edge of town.
  • Smart But Casual
    My sub has shorter queues but is reluctant to allow anything to go as a large letter, everything is a pocket. The crown one is busy, an average wait of 25 minutes but if I can get my item through the slot it is a large packet.

    So I judge which post office to use by the sort of items i have to post.
    Originally posted by soolin
    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!
    Terms & Conditions Apply
  • Noggin the Nog
    If you're posting a parcel and don't want to queue for ages, you can weigh it at home and find out the postage online with this Royal Mail price finder. Of course you'll need to have enough stamps of various denominations ready. Once you've got the postage on, even if your parcel won't fit into the postbox, most post offices have a sack near the till that you can just put your parcel into rather than queue. I would suggest erring on the safe side if you're weighing your own parcel using ordinary kitchen scales as they're probably not that accurate - if you're close to the weight where it might cost a bit extra, I'd pay that rather than risk the recipient having to pay a penalty at the other end.

    Also, if you're selling something on Ebay, they have a facility where you can pay online for a postage label including postage, again avoiding the post office.

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  • elfen
    Oh, also if they have them, try the Post and Go machines. Say what size it is, put it on the thingy and it'll say how much it costs. Can do more than one item too and just print out the stamps (but remember to put them on in the correct order)
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    • Hezzawithkids
    • By Hezzawithkids 4th Aug 09, 7:33 PM
    • 2,958 Posts
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    Hezzawithkids
    Once you've got the postage on, even if your parcel won't fit into the postbox, most post offices have a sack near the till that you can just put your parcel into rather than queue.

    Also, if you're selling something on Ebay, they have a facility where you can pay online for a postage label including postage, again avoiding the post office.
    Originally posted by Noggin the Nog
    But that doesn't get you a certificate of posting does it? Not that I've ever needed one yet but there's always a first time so I will always queue up to get one rather than risk it (especially given the antics of some buyers out there as reported on this forum :rolleyes
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  • goanmad
    Our Sub Post Office is truly amazing! We drop our parcels off with the type of postage required written on the parcel and then collect our recipts and pay the next day.
    It was due for closure last year but a massive petition from all it's grateful customers gave it a reprieve.
    • mnt99york
    • By mnt99york 4th Aug 09, 8:45 PM
    • 128 Posts
    • 34 Thanks
    mnt99york
    Speak to them. I used to do Paypal postage, and they politely asked that I didn't do that as they didn't make much from it, and said that I should support local businesses. I pointed out that I didn't want to be in there for hours each day, so they now let me simply drop off my parcels (I don't even have to queue, I can just go straight to the side window), and they sort them for me. I pay what I owe a couple of times a week.

    Works great for both of us.
  • Alloydy
    I used to go to my local PO. Regularly 15 to 20 minute queues, and then 2 of the most miserable faces I have ever seen serving me - which also took 15 to 20 mins with an ever increasing queue forming behind me. Surprise surprise, royal Mail closed this local, and "forced" me into travelling an extra quarter of a mile in the other direction.

    I am now greeted with a huge smile, whereupon I pop my items behind the counter, and return later in the day, or sometimes the next to settle my bill. Bearing in mind I spent over 5K last year on postage, I wonder who is now kicking themselves!!

    A smile costs nothing, and I often wonder what I would say to the two miserable !!!!!!s who used to run my local if I bumped into them now.

    Ebay might be a lot of things, but to Royal Mail, it must have been the biggest lifeline ever thrown.
  • amcluesent
    I go to my local Mail Centre (which is a few mins in the car), they open silly early so I can get everything posted and still get the 07:30 train to work.

    They hate peeps faffing about buying postage, but take pre-paid stuff in a trice. Obviously at that time in the morning, it's not busy
  • toao
    I print out my own postage and take direct to the sorting office, Very handy, Now i know them i just take straight round the back and load directly onto their trolleys, Its a couple of miles further than my local PO but well worth it if i have alot of items.
    • m5rcc
    • By m5rcc 4th Aug 09, 11:05 PM
    • 1,530 Posts
    • 500 Thanks
    m5rcc
    London's Mayfair branch is notoriously busy and even with ten kiosks, the queue is outside the PO. One trick is to get a quote from the FX kiosk and then not go ahead with it and then do what you actually came in to do. Cheeky, but effective!
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