Post offices open at the wrong times

Today, the government has announced that 2500 post offices are to close. It’s hardly surprising (and not just because the scale of the closures was leaked, and because it’s been under discussion for a long time). People now prefer to have their pension or benefits paid into their bank account. They pay utility bills or buy their car tax disc onlne.

However, one thing that does need to be done at the post office is sending parcels, or other items of heavy post, or international mail. Also, some people would still prefer to pay bills at the post office, and in rural areas with no banks, the cash withdrawal facility is welcome. But there is one snag: post offices are only open during the daytime, during office hours. Often they will be open 9am to 5pm on weekdays, and only to noon on Saturday. Many even close at lunchtime!

The fact is, most people are at work during the times post offices are open, so they are unable to use the services on offer even if they wanted to. They might just call in occasionally on Saturday morning if they need to post a parcel, but they certainly aren’t going to be regular customers. Why can’t post offices stay open until later in the evening and at the weekend? This would allow many new customers to use the services there. Would sub-postmasters complain? If the office opened until 7:30pm two nights a week, it could open later two mornings a week, or they could have two afternoons off. Many post offices are located in convenience stores that stay open late anyway, but the post office counter still shuts at 5pm.

A similar thing happened with public libraries. The numbers using them started to drop off, but they began to diversify and offer a range of new services; they also started to have late-opening nights. If, following the closures, the remaining 11,800 post offices are to survive, I’d suggest they try opening for hours that a larger proportion of the public would find convenient.

2 responses to “Post offices open at the wrong times”

  1. Pat Shore

    Get your voice heard – the rural post office network – http://www.ruralaction.org.uk

    Everyone has a view on the future of the rural post office network – but will everyone’s views be heard? Perhaps you have a good idea on the future of the network; perhaps your own experience shows a vital aspect has been over-looked. Now there is a simple way to get your point across quickly and easily. The recent popularity in ‘blogging’ – contributing to a weblog or online message board – has inspired ruralnet|uk to set up a blog for this issue: a simple technique allowing thousands to add their personal comments to the debate. Over half of all UK homes have access to an online computer – as well as libraries, youth clubs, schools, day centres, UK online centres, and even some Post Offices! Anyone with an interest can visit the blog and leave their comment on the consultation questions, and read what others are saying.

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    So, don’t be left out: go to http://www.ruralaction.org.uk state your views and have an impact on the future of post office services in rural areas.

  2. Keith Jones

    It would be wonderful if all public services could change their hours to suit everyone, but the fact remains this is not feasible, yes many Post Office’s are located in convenience stores such as mine but the problem is staff that work in the Post Office are highly trained and approved by the Post Office it is not an easy job contrary to what people may think and it is not a job that many younger people want these days and certainly not a job someone wants for the odd 2 hours of an evening. For example I myself am up at 5.00am to work in the shop until I open the Post Office then when the Post Office closes I am back in the shop, or doing the books or down the warehouse or several other things that need doing. There are also many things a Postmaster has to do after the Post Office is closed every day such as balancing, stock ordering and training constantly with the many new changes and constant updates to procedures that come in every day. A Postmaster/Store owner generally works up to 18 hours a day 7 days a week and staff is expensive and post office staff hard to come by especially as there is practically 1 convenience store closing every day since the recession started and the ones that are left are struggling hard financially to stay open, especially as the majority of people are complaining about their village shop and Post Office closing but are reducing their purchasing in these places in favour of the big store but want the convenience of a local shop when they need it but who is going to pay for it to stay open as they are losing money daily and without the shop the Post Office will close any way, so please do not complain about the opening hours but complain about the lack of support for local shops which sustain the Sub Post Offices that is if you want them to stay open. We are on the verge of closing and we are the only shop and Post office for 4 miles with many elderly, disabled and unemployed, the last shop in the village, when we go there will not be another shop or Post Office here again, but unfortunately the saying applies here “USE IT OR LOSE IT” but people do not bother until it is too late but will certainly complain afterwards.

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