Thursday, 14 January 2021

Unintended consequemces

I had to send off a couple of copies of my excellent Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer today (You can get your own signed copy by clicking the appropriate button in the left margin.) But where could I post them?

A few years back, all the post offices in Holland were closed. Replaced by something resembling a sub-post office. Except lower key. Really a shop of some kind with a sideline in a few postal services. A large percentage were tobacconists.

For me, quite handy. As there are a few such tobacconists that are closer to my house than the post office was. I normally use the fag shop on a nearby square. Just a couple of minutes walk away. The came corona.

The current restrictions allow only "essential" shops to open. Chemists, supermarkets, bike shops. And ones offering postal services. Including tobacconists. However, they weren't allowed to sell fags or newspapers. Only supply postal services. While supermarkets can sell tobacco products.

As a result, most tobacconists have temporarily closed. The postal stuff only being a small fraction of their business. In consequence, you have to search around if you want to post a parcel.

Luckily I could find a place that was still open. Didn't look like they were doing much trade, mind. I wonder how much longer they'll stick it out?

All because the government rushed through the new rules and didn't think them through. I'm sure they hadn't intended postal services to become so difficuult to find. But it is a direct result of the actions they took.


Chap said...

(OT) We lose part of our public history when post offices are closed. In 1988 I moved to Amsterdam, when the post was delivered by PTT and the Amsterdam Head Post Office's monumental building in the heart of the city sent a clear message about the PTT's central role in the country's life: it's now the Magna Plaza shopping mall. The Post Office in the middle of the town in England where I now live was closed a few years ago; its war memorial commemorating postal workers was removed to the sorting office, changing it from a public monument to a private one (and you now have to work your way to the back of W.H. Smith to post a parcel). In the United States, employment in the US Postal Service has a long history of providing a path to middle-class job security for African Americans, but many of those jobs have been cut back over the last decade or so. Tech has given us much (not least this blog), but it has taken much away as well. Analagous to the closure of breweries, I suppose, in the feelings that are aroused by the loss of familiar landmarks and the reminder that "Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away."

Anonymous said...

In the US post offices are open but the idiot and his Postmaster General have wrecked the system so badly that priority mail that is supposed to take two or three days is being delayed for a month or more.

So if you're sending those books to the US, be prepared for even more delays.

(I bought that book a couple of years ago and it is worth waiting for if anyone wants to order it.)

Michael N said...

We are having the same issue in UK. I work in Salisbury and our only post office in the city centre is a sub-post office inside a gift shop. This shop is closed at the moment because it is not financially viable to stay open for the PO only. There is no Government support to allow then to remain open.