The good and the bad of Post Offices is a hot topic with people being either very pro or vehemently against. I thought it worthwhile looking at both sides of the argument to see where the truth really lies on this.
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The Evolution of Postal Services
The concept of post offices in India was first introduced in late 1773 when the country was still under British rule where it was developed for commercial interests. People were permitted to use the system from 1774. Initially, there were not many branches, but gradually every major location in the city started having a post office.
Are there Enough Post Offices?
As you are no doubt aware post offices have been around for a considerable period and there was a time, albeit a few years ago, when most places had one. With the advent of better transport routes and aided by technology a lot of places have been closed. This wasn’t helped by the gradual shift away from people writing letters to communicate by email or phone.
The universal shift towards eCommerce over the last decade, led by Amazon and eBay, has seen far more people becoming more reliant on courier companies – not least of which is the post office.
There is still a place in modern society however for the more traditional postal service catering more specifically to those people that may not be entirely comfortable with being wholly online and prefer to visit a brick-and-mortar facility.
Let’s look briefly at some of the pros and cons of the postal service that we know so well.
Post Office Advantages – The Good:
Advantages – The Good:
- It a recognizable focal point for sending out mail and packages – particularly to an older, more traditional generation.
- Mail is often sent very quickly due in no small part to their extensive network of facilities and vehicles.
- An addressed doesn’t have to travel to the post office to pick up their mail – rather it will be delivered straight to the comfort of their own home.
- If transporting less bulky items, or those weighing less than 20-30 kilograms then it’s an effective way of doing this. It’s also a good method if you have a small number of items.
- Post Offices are centrally located and easy for people to get to. This also allows the delivery trucks easy access.
- Payment can be made over the counter. This is particularly good because they either are not entirely comfortable using the internet or possibly don’t use debit or credit cards.
- There is still an older generation that like a more traditional approach to doing things. I think that there’s something in this as who hasn’t become frustrated when shopping online and said something along the lines of ‘I’d like to speak to a real person!’
Post Office Disadvantages – The Bad:
As we’ve just seen using a brick-and-mortar office can be quite user-friendly, particularly when trying to iron out a problem, but everything has its own sets of cons associated with it. I’ve laid out a few of these below.
- You might be able to send out a large number of smaller items through the post office, but it’s generally not the most cost-effective option. True it’s a tried and tested option but it’s definitely not free.
- There is no facility to compare prices. This is most definitely something that is far easier to do when shopping online.
- You will not be able to send heavy or items with large dimensions by this method as the post offices have size and weight limits regarding the items that you can send. With regards to dimension, the maximum you can send is usually 1m long. Try sending a hockey stick or fishing pole if you don’t believe me.
- Need to send something quickly? Speed post is a form of delivery that sends items within the shortest time however it’s available in less and places than it used to be and can also be quite expensive to use. There are a number of courier companies that offer this service at more competitive rates.
Even though there are certain disadvantages, people are still using post offices for their day-to-day tasks. On the face of it, you could assume that the post office is a through back to simpler times and that it has been overtaken by advances in communication methods such as telephones, emails, smartphone messaging applications, etc. however, there is still use within our communities in certain areas. The reasons for this may well be:
● Emotional value – there is a massive emotional value that post offices play with people. For some people, its an anchor to something stable and familiar.
● Saving schemes – the post offices still offer a good number of high-value saving schemes. Anyone can invest a sum of money whether on a one-off or monthly basis.
● Accessibility – people can access post offices quite easily as there is a post office almost everywhere on the main road of most towns. It is especially easy for those who have been using their services for a longer period as those individuals will be familiar with the mailing process and all the services they offer. Not everyone likes or welcomes change after all.
● Technical issues – at post offices, work does not necessarily stop if there are any technical issues pop up. Rather, it’s a rather technical reliant environment within a post office, compared to using a computer, phone, or tablet where a syntax error can pop up at any point in time. It is very user-friendly to use the services of post offices without too much hassle.
While it is quite easy to assume that post office services are somewhat outdated and out of place in a modern world where there are multiple alternatives that, on the face of it at least, offer a more comprehensive and streamlined range of services. I don’t believe that we can underestimate the human factor completely. Our nature is to interact with other people. This could well be that there is still some ways to go before we see the end of our traditional post offices on our streets.