Friday, November 10, 2006

Twopenny blues

You've got to hand it to the New Model Royal Mail with their new e-stamps. Instead of going to the inconvience and expense of going out to the post office and buying a stamp and then sticking it on an envelope you can now go through the palaver of buying a stamp online with your credit card, print it out and then take the letter to the post office for posting because it's a non-standard size, only to find it's been closed and turned into a discount sock warehouse.

Of course, this is all part of the nonsense of pretending that public services are business units, a model that works so well on the railways. The government has its share of the blame. Nowadays, instead of being able to nip down to the post office to buy a new TV licence you've got to either log on online and pay by card or else send a cheque in the mail. In either case instead of having a done deal pdq you've got to wait for the new licence to arrive in the mail. Whenever that gets delivered these days.

In the Sherlock Holmes stories cries for help often came by post and he rushed to the rescue after consulting his Bradshaw's for the train times. Whiz for progress. The poor buggers would be dead, buried and subject to a Time Team dig by the time he got the note these days.

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