Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Another birthday present, one which had to be posted, was not quite complete.  A voucher would add to the gift quite nicely, I thought.  One store, a national chain, only one of two in our town,  provided gift vouchers from the till receipt roll. I could see it getting thrown out with the paper waste. It was just a horrible scrap of paper. No way was I giving something looking like that!

Now you would think my next idea was a good one wouldn't you.  A book token that can be exchanged for a purchase in any bookshop in the land that participates in the scheme. "Oh there's none left.  They're on order.  The organisation is changing from card tokens to a plastic electronic card system.  We should have them in a couple of weeks."  Yeah, tell me another one.  I know this shop's business patter.  You wait and return, to find they still haven't got what you wanted or ordered.

I was frustrated, bordering on annoyance. Over a cup of coffee and a good home made cheese scone, I considered my options.  There weren't very many.  Although there was one more national chain store to try, it was by no means certain that they had gift vouchers in this branch.  I rang sprog 300 miles away.  Yes, a voucher could be purchased and sent direct by sprog, if I emailed the address etc.  What a convoluted way to have to do things!

At the post office counter, I moaned about my experiences.  "I think we sell vouchers", said the counter clerk, disappearing as she spoke into the back office and returning with the information  I bought one of their gift vouchers.  It could be spent in many stores nationwide, the majority of which don't exist where we live, but do trade where the birthday present was going.  I unsealed the parcel and put in the plastic electronic card with its presentation envelope.  The counter clerk offered to tape up my re-opened package.


Vincent said...

Hooray for the Post Office! Our local one despite its heroically good service got closed down.

I could tell you some tales. But not now.

TG said...

Haha.. seems like you always get involved in kind of 'kafkaesque' moments ;-)

ZACL said...

Hello Vincent,

Our post office has its moments. I don't think this one will be closed, it is the main one within 25-30 miles. There are a couple of sub post offices that only offer limited services. People from those outlying areas have to visit the main one to purchase items that the sub-post offices are not allowed to sell. For them it must be a pain, as not all these people can use computers for items that can now be administered online. It also costs them fares to get into town to deal with their business.

I could relate a story or two, probably different to yours. You should post your experiences.

In this case, the post office did come up trumps, then the clerk offered me a Christmas club savings card for more vouchers that had more spending outlets. I'll pass on that one.

When you want a book token to be used at serious bookshops, the Post Office cannot provide it. What I got today though was a very good compromise. Hopefully, I shall be in a position to obtain the kind of book tokens I want before the next round of gifts are required.


A Kafkaesque moment...sometimes, there is no other way when you live in a remote area.

Vincent said...

I'll tell you my experience, not as a customer but on the inside. I worked for eight months on an audio-visual computer system for the Post Office. Every Post Office canteen, training room, conference room was to have a large computer/TV screen on the wall through which the management could display selected propaganda to the employees; to indoctrinate them with the management view of things and not the union's. It was a disaster. Most of the eight months I was involved with it, the project was on "red alert", meaning the supplier company (for whom I worked) had to throw money at it to save its own reputation and try and get it installed on time. During the time the deadlines were missed, several strikes occurred. I won't tell you how many millions the system cost. I don't know if it is still in operation. Many of the post office premises at which it was to be installed have closed, anyway.

ZACL said...

How interesting, Vincent, that huge sums of money could be thrown at stupid projects, (who dreamed up that one?) yet the P.O. was losing money because of social changes in methods of communicating and communication.

There were videos for customers to watch, I cannot remember the gist of them, they provided advertising revenues for the P.O. at the time. By the time the video has rewound, you should not still have been in a queue, that much I do remember. Daft, it depended on the staff ratio to customer demand, not always in synchronisation, especially when so many offices closed down and the customer volumes substantially increased at the offices that remained.