OBSERVER: Post Office news was not a shock, sadly

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News of the possibility of Boston losing its main post office building is to be regretted but at the same time it is not really surprising.

Over recent months there appears to have been fewer people using it; it’s not too long ago that queues were up to the door, but that was when it was possible to buy stationery items, books and other similar items at the post shop.

Then, of course, the ‘experts’ came in, did a survey and decided it was more profitable to do away with those things (or most of them), close the post shop and sell more investment products.

That, I believe, is when the point of no return came. People going into a post office for books of stamps or to post parcels don’t want the final question to be ‘Do you need any travel (or house, whatever is flavour of the month) insurance?’ If people want that type of product they would go there specifically for it, they don’t need asking.

A colleague who is a fervent stamp collector tells me he used to get all his requirements – and they were quite varied – at the post shop. The clerks knew what he had every time and usually had them all ready for him.

Then came the time he was told they would no longer be able to save them, as it had been decided they were not going to stock them anymore. The reason? Not enough were being sold. Obviously the fact that they sold some was not enough. So the post office lost his business.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing: perhaps the post office should not have been so quick to let their telephone service, and its associated profit, go private; perhaps if the postal service goes private – as seems to be the future – customers will find the cost of posting a letter mind-blowing.