Can I check the postage for this letter please.

The envelope is pushed easily in and through the standard post office template’s ‘large letter’ slot.


That’s a large letter, I am told.

There is a (standard) first class letter stamp already stuck on the envelope…… So how much is the extra ? I politely ask.

It is thirty pence more……. my total postage cost will be ninety pence,.

You’ll just need another first class stamp the assistant says …… ❓

Why….what is the value of a first class stamp? I ask…… Sixty pence, the assistant tells me.

I was just about to ask if she had thirty pence’s worth of stamps for me to add, when the manager, who had heard this exchange, intervened and guided the assistant to the appropriate value of stamps to give me from her counter sales book.

The excuse from the assistant,(no direct apology) was that this was her first day working at the Post Office counter.

It’s not difficult to understand why did I not feel kindly disposed the woman who served me. I was very barbed in my parting thanks to the manageress for sorting out the sale. As I departed, an inadvertent, (I think) loud sigh escaped from the lips of another counter assistant.



  1. Are people not trained any more seems not alas or is it a ruse to gain more funds for the beleagured post office or am I being a little too cynical 🙄

  2. It could be more basic than that;

    a) Simple arithmetic was beyond the assistant’s ability (why, then was she in a position requiring more than a modicum of numeracy, one justifiably asks);

    b) Add an extra stamp of the same value is the easy way out and, in ignorance, what she would do…

    c) The assistant had no idea because of (b), that there were different denominational values of the product she was meant to be selling.

    Most of that, Lilian1, adds up to lack of training and lack of ability to think.

    it’s always healthy, imho, to have a wee bit of cynicism on standby.

  3. Being totally uncharitable here, I have to consider whether that damsel was capable of ticking a box.

    Lilian1 offered an apt cynical comment on new sales techniques. On that basis, my experience may become more regular – caveat emptor.

  4. They certainly don’t train them anymore….I asked for a coffee in a cafe the other day and the girl couldn’t use the coffee machine and said I’d have to wait for the other assistant to come back from her lunch….I actually laughed as I left!!! I don’t know…xxxxx

  5. How can you have a coffee shop offering ‘proper’ service when the barista isn’t one. No management, no training and that level of incompetence, beggars belief.

    My encounter at the Post Office is in a similar class. I guess the benefit of your experience, PP, was, you were not being asked to pay over the odds, better still, you didn’t expend a bean.

    Business….what business!

  6. I found a nurse giving out medication could not do 7×25.She said it was 165 and got angry when I disagreed…. and she may have a degree now!
    Those bits of money add up over time.. so good for you.

  7. Hi kathswords,

    I might just have a wee preference for being under-dosed than overdosed, which, with the nurse you describe, would have been a high probability …frightening isn’t it. Ten mg/mls is a big difference.

    With mail costs having recently been hiked, and I made a point of checking the postage required at the actual post office, my view is, why should I, or anyone, pay over the odds. I despair at the quality of basic training, if any, that was demonstrated by the new counter assistant.

    Thanks for your comment.

  8. I know,the stamps are incredibly pricey… so we’ll send fewer cards etc
    As for nurses in hospitals…it is a worry…a degree but less caring and less able to comfort… and can’t even do their sums.
    I find it easy often to imagine how others see things but with arithmetic,ignorance is dangerous and I cannot imagine how it is to be like that.Why not have pocket calculators?

  9. I think pocket calculators, rather like electronic tills, dull mental agility and the confidence to actually do the maths. By all means have the tools to hand, but please, can we have arithmetically unchallenged people who can handle simple arithmetic and change when the toys are not there, or, when they are not working as they should.

    The number of times I have queried the auto spelling corrector, is uncountable. I sometimes query my own visual memory, not entirely trusting it anymore. Earlier this week I was buried in a thesaurus and two dictionaries checking vocabulary. I was pleased and satisfied to find I was correct and ‘it’ was up the metaphorical creek with a broken paddle.

  10. I agree,I tried to explain to her
    4×25 = 100
    3 x25 = 75 ….but she was too angry to listen.At that point a calculator would have helped me to prove I was right…. must be sure to have one with me if I go in again……OMG
    Love a thesaurus…..love words..

Thanks for visiting me. Please share your thoughts and ideas. Comment here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s