Apologies if this post is too late to be of any practical use, but yesterday afternoon the Forest Hill Post Office at WH Smith ran out of stamps. It started with them running out of stamps for international mailings but then by mid afternoon they had used up all first and second class stamps (and presumably those of smaller denominations also). Hopefully by this morning they had got new supplies, but yesterday people were queuing for ages (three quarters of an hour in my case) only for many to be turned away when they got to one of the two tills available.
Meanwhile, stamps were still available downstairs in the shop.
The Post Office worker said they had no time to put out an announcement or put up a notice. It was particularly hard on the frail, to have to queue that long with nowhere to sit.
Also, if you’re picking up a parcel I’d advise you to check it’s not been diverted to another branch. Yesterday a man in front of me tried to pick up a parcel that he had arranged to be delivered to that branch. He’d been told it was ready for collection but it wasn’t there and the staff said they send parcels to other branches if they receive too many to store. They couldn’t tell him which branch it had gone to and told him to go away and use Track & Trace.
I am amazed at that place. Went to collect a parcel today and they had dozens scattered all over the floor. Took them ages to find mine among them as they picked them up and tossed them around with a complete lack of order.
That sort of thing always annoys, and in many defies logic as the minute or two to write up the sign would probably be much less than the time explaining to people, but more importantly is basic good service and manners.
they do have my sympathy generally - I imagine this period must be hell in the post office.
Is that not the Post Office by the car park, or can you collect parcels at the one in WH Smith?
I had same experience a few months ago - try to avoid this place as much as possible. Long queues and no clue where anything is - or should be.
The WH Smith one. You can collect parcels.
For parcels at Christmas or anytime of the year I use DPD. Easy drop off at Sainsburys or even collection from the house. Cheaper than Royal Mail too.
Also can endorse DPD as a recipient of parcels! On the day give an option to rearrange delivery if you are out when delivery is scheduled. My local convenience store is regular recipient of parcels. Never go missing, extra long opening hours and I can buy some sweets when collecting
For a main post office to run out of stamps is farcical. WHSmith have a responsibility to provide the same services as the former PO Ltd run office. I’m surprised they can’t print them off per letter or parcel.
I asked if they could print them and they said only for parcels weighing more than 100g and not for letters. As I was leaving, I did tell a member of WH Smith staff downstairs about the stamps because I saw they were still selling them there. I asked that they put a sign up. The chap I spoke to was shocked that no one had told him and headed straight upstairs, so maybe he lent the PO some from the store’s stocks, if it’s the store’s responsibility?
I suspect the lady behind one PO till would have been more accommodating re printing, but that she was a trainee. The chap was in charge and was doing a good impression of Mr Angry. I got feeling he was enjoying his power trip. He closed his till just before 5 to start closing the post bags ready for collection. He was still closing them when the lady served me. I had wanted a next day delivery on my parcel - and was charged as such - but the man wouldn’t let it go in the yet to be sealed parcel bag, but said it had to wait till the next day’s collection(Saturday).
As he had already said he would close the shutters at the usual time, which I think is 5.30, I wonder what happened then. I think there’s no way the people queuing on the stairs could have reached the counter by then.
My sympathies go out to the staff there, especially during Christmas.
I’ve probably spent around 8 hours of my life queueing there this year and the whole shop is hugely inefficient and frustrating, however some fellow customers can be right arseholes to the staff.
Had a woman trying to post a “music certificate” make a big hullabaloo about waiting, proclaiming to the whole shop that she missed the “good old days” (presumably she was referring to carrier pigeons, horse and carriage and polio?) and took it out on a lady working behind the counter. Not nice…
Anyway, I wonder if the Forest Hill PO will be modernised to have some self service machines any time soon. It’s got such a good location and there’s already huge demand so surely there’s money in the coffers for improvement.
I have also noticed the care staff take with people who seem find life challenging.
I’m sure individual staff may do, but not the institution. On Friday it was the customers in the queue who looked after a gentleman using a zimmer frame by letting him go to the front of the queue, but I think he’d been standing in the queue for a long time before this happened as he was way in front of me when I heard a customer starting a “please go ahead of me” movement.
One simple solution might be to have a numbered ticket system as happens in some hospital departments, with chairs for the less able. Post offices in other countries do that. One time I had a right telling off from a manager in the “old” Sydenham post office for getting a chair out of their customer banking office for an elderly lady to sit on while she was waiting.