Airy Fairy Wonderland Alice…Bouncy Clown-ess and LED LADY


The woman in the red coat adorned with bright LED fairy lights, looked at the bakery goods displayed in the glass covered counter in  front of her, every -so- often checking her mobile phone.   Like her, I waited too.  We continued to wait…and wait.  LED lady  looked up at me and we exchanged smiles.  Two other women, dressed up for the local fun day, were serving at the far end of the counter, which provided for the Baker shop café customers.  At our end of the counter- sales – a young girl dressed up as Alice In Wonderland,(AIW) had her back to us; she studiously ignored everyone. The high visibility lady covered with sparkly LED lights glanced at her phone once more and then left the shop.  Alice in Wonderland looked round, glanced at me, then turned back to whatever it was she was doing, writing, I think.


I conjected that if I waited a few more moments I just might be served. I knew what I wanted to buy, it was pre-wrapped, so, it was just a question of selling it to me.  I thought my patience was being rewarded when a clown-ess, (one of the duo of staff attending to the café) bouncily arrived opposite me……. My mistake, she was involved in playing a game of choices for someone in the café, who, incidentally, arrived in the shop the same time as I did.



Excuse me, can the assistant over there serve me? I pointedly asked.  Clown-ess raised herself on tip-toes to peer over AIW’s shoulder.


Clown-ess -said, She’s busy doing shop admin”. With that she rushed away and with a smile called out Someone will be with you soon”.  

Me – Looking directly at Clown-ess at the far end………I’m going; that’s two customers you have just lost”.  And I went.


This is not the first time me and other customers have walked from this shop.  There are two other similar business in the same vicinity that have gained from the chaotic customer service. Goodwill is fading fast.




There have been charges based on measuring gauges and weights for letters for a few years.  The goalposts have been constantly changed to screw out maximum charges for the postal services offered to customers.

I was under the misguided impression, parcels were still charged by weight. Parcel Force, the name now in use for what used to be the parcel delivery arm of Royal Mail, will not carry large or outsize parcels over a certain weight. I had absolutely no idea that  measurement gauges were in use in the U.K for all standard parcels, that is those parcels that do not look like packages.  When did that happen?  I was amazed to see my shoe box size parcel placed into an empty box, a gauge,  before a charge was imposed for it.  Fortunately for me, it just fitted the gauge. Another layer of wrap might have made a big difference to the cost of posting it.

You haven’t seen the half of it….said the post mistress, when I expressed my surprise at the measuring process. This is the second gauge we have had this year. The ‘new’ one is the same width and depth as the previous one, but is 10cm shorter, (A whole four inches in old measurements, shorter!!!).

There is likely to be a backlash with all these ruses for raising prices, I said.

It’s already happened. My small business customers now use couriers. They can get a straight £4 charge for each of their regular parcels.  The postmistress continued… I don’t see them much now; I can’t ask them how good the courier services are.


The price of postage, like everything else, is an expense that has got to be carefully budgeted for. I was really taken aback when I posted a few cards and a couple of packages abroad, recently. Not only are the weight gates for all these items very narrow, just a few grams for letters before the cost hikes up to another silver plated level, also, parcels are in a gilded price class of their own.

I had already decided that I was going to reduce on festive mail with all its associated costs, but, in all honesty I had not realised just how much it would have to be pared down. Where I can, I shall be emailing greetings and delivering cards myself. I think the electronic card business might be expanding and I might swell their number. With this in mind, I am making sure people have my email address, and I want theirs too.

The counter clerk now asks what I have packed into my packages, though not in my large letter?! She needs to know, she says, when I stand there, silent, trying to remember what I wrapped up sometime ago. It’s a memory test. It is becoming like airport security, without the x-ray equipment at the input end…yet.

Five cards slightly over 10 grams each – not over-sized- for mainland Europe cost me £1.28p each

A Parcel about 780 grams was a whopping £6.30p

So, today I sent slightly smaller cards, they were just under the 10grams @ cost 0.88p each

One larger card weighing under 10grams had a smaller one tucked into it to pass onto a family member; total cost £1.28p instead of 88p each. I saved 44p

Surface mail USA £1.33p (Airmail would have cost £1.83p. The 50p stayed in my purse).

A couple of years ago I discovered sending a package to mainland Europe by surface mail was just 5p cheaper than using air mail!!!

UK letter mail up to 100g second class is 50p and 60p for first class mail. In addition, there are different charges for large letters. Woe betide you if your first or second class letter, or, even your large one, do not fit through the template gauges. You’ll need to reach for your wallet or purse

Goodwill becomes more than a little jaded with the kind of charges that are being imposed from many quarters. Something has to give.