Prying Post Office

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When posting a packet within the UK recently, the assistant asked me what was in it. I replied that it contained nothing that the Post Office prohibited or restricted.

This was not enough. She wanted to know exactly. Why? Because, she said, their training required them to ask. Not a good reason – and high-handed on the Post Office’s part, a cavalier way to treat our privacy.

Poorly trained myself, I refused to say. After some argument, she did accept the packet – telling me that if I did not like the “service” (read “prying”), I could go elsewhere.

It’s an idea. I understand other carriers do not ask this question.

She said I should be for it if it contained something it shouldn’t – illogical, since anyone bent on posting something dangerous would not debate the point, but lie – or use a postbox.

The Post Office proscribes some items for safety reasons. Fair enough. But nothing in its terms and conditions requires us to tell it exactly what is in the envelope. That is no business of its staff or the queue behind us.

George Byron

Comely Bank Avenue

Edinburgh

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