20 February 2006

Post Office

Being an eBay fiend I've spent a lot of time in Lewisham Borough's various Post Offices. I'd wanted to rant at length about the decling state of the services but it's like shooting fish in a jam jar and won't change anything. But I do need to mention a few things.
Blackheath deserves a special mention - is there a post office in the borough where the staff are as efficient and helpful? I don't think so. The Forest Hill staff are slightly more friendly but Blackheath is just all round excellent. That's where the praise ends.

I haven't ventured into the Lee Green Post Office in a year now. I promised never to put myself through it again. The staff are rude and ignorant - three times in a row I witnessed a verbal fight break out between the staff and customers. The two older men that work in there have a system of whistling to each other when women who they find attractive walk in (I'd spent enough time in the queue to work it out - and believe me, that post office has some long queues).

I'd given up on New Cross because it seems like a meeting place for the insane and the other post offices just don't come up to scratch. Of course, central Lewisham is nice if you like the High Street because you'll be standing in it as the queue stretches out the door and along the street. The bald young guy that works there goes out of his way to be polite and is the only plus side to a miserable experience.

My last bastion was Catford. Catford is normally always busy - but the queue moves and the staff were surprisingly upbeat. Recently the branch was franchised out and new owners are running it. The existing staff have all vanished and I thought it was time I visited again to see how it was doing.
First thing I noticed was the queue to the door, past the door and pressed up against the window. Then I noticed the state of the place - chipped walls and paint missing. Leaflets across the floor and trash everywhere. Forms, posting certificates and applications are missing from the desk and a bundle of recorded delivery slips remain vacuum sealed in a pile at the side. Did I mention how dirty it was in there? Yes? I will do so again - it's horrible.

The staff sit there in casual clothes and not even smart casual - c'mon guys - if KFC opposite and WHSmiths can manage a uniform surely you can get into something professional looking - like a clean shirt? I see an old lady having to yell at the young guy behind the counter who isn't really listening to her and makes her repeat everything twice whilst his eyes stare into the distance. While five people serve there is an employee of the post office (central office?) walking around with a clipboard trying to sign people up to services they don't need - we need that man behind the counter. Never again, like I snubbed the Lee Green branch I will never set foot in the Catford branch again. I'd rather stop off closer to home or wait until I pass Blackheath (even though I won't be able to park and I'll end up having to go elsewhere).

As for the worry over the ever increasing amount of Post Office closures I'll simply shrug and huff. The operating methods they employ are out of date and half hearted - they deserve to die out and although that causes great problems to certain sections of the community hopefully it will spark a review of services and how they can be delivered in a bolder, cleaner, nicer and more efficient manner.


Anonymous said...

Hello, Lee Green is technically the closest Post Office to me and until I read your post about the place I just thought it was par for the course these days in PO's, I totally agree with your comments. You may like (?) to know they're moving at the moment though, 3 doors down next to the New Tigers Head, but sadly the same crew of inadequates seem to be in charge since they seem to be doing the re-fit themselves :-). Couldn't agree more about Blackheath, long may it continue. cheers. PS - I'm *not* a Post Office nerd, just an eBayer who goes through the same as you, by the sound of it! I've taken to just buying up loads of 1st and 2nd class stamps now and sticking the closest combination on, rather than put myself through the PO experience. Laters.

(moe) said...

Well thank god someone else has suffered at Lee Green. Thought it was just my rampaging Meldrewitis kicking in again :D

I think I'll aim more for the small newsagent/post office up from Lee Train Station in future. The hours are limited but I'm sure it's a lot better.