Thursday, June 13, 2013

Post Office Dramas

I was pleased when the  Lewisham Post Office changed location. Instead of the dingy purpose-built premises in the High Street it's now in WH Smiths in the shopping centre.
A friend who drove a mini-cab for a while after he retired from BT told us how much he hated dropping customers at the old post-office, which had one entrance in the High Street and a back entrance on the one-way system. Sometimes people would leap from the cab as soon as he stopped and dash through the post-office to avoid paying the fare.
It's usually much busier than this photo shows, but with all those magazine to read now waiting's  almost a pleasure. I can also check the women's magazine racks on my way out, too.  I've recently started writing for them again. The response time was appalling, but a sudden success revived my interest.
There's usually a lot going on - people chatting on mobiles in the queue and mothers scolding their kids for whizzing the display racks of travel accessories and cards.
My favourite counter number is 10, because the approach  is through a box-like structure that reminds me of a passport photo booth.
The usual purpose of my visit is to post a short story manuscript.  'Do you want someone to sign for it?' ask the assistant, and no, I don't, because I know it doubles the postage charge.  On the other hand, because  magazine editors taking six months, or even longer,  to respond, it's Hobson's. 
At least  the extra charge entitles me to a ticket that lets me  track the envelope. So I know when it reaches the magazine offices. Then I have some idea of when to remind the editor that I'm still waiting for a decision.
It also influences the choice of envelopes. I used to send the manuscript in stiffened A4 envelopes that were quite expensive because the floppy ones seemed vulnerable to mishandling. Now I figure that if a signature has to be obtained at least the envelope will be looked after, so a non-stiffened one will suit.
I used to enclose an A4 envelope with the same amount of postage, minus the signing fee. At last Friday's workshop I learned that it was OK to ask the editor to dispose of a reject and to  enclose an ordinary SAE with a second class stamp for the decision notice.  

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