Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Post Office where are you?

I got a card through the door from the Post Office today. Someone had sent me a letter with too little postage paid.

I could either mail back the card with stamps attached to the value of £1.03 (the owing amount + £1.00 admin fee) or visit their office and pick the item up. I'd have to visit a post office to buy stamps so I decided to go and collect the item.

The instructions for collecting the item read (in part):

Bring this card to the address overleaf and pay the charge
Please remember to bring proof of your identity ...

OK, so where is the post office I need to go to? Here is the "address overleaf":

Royal Mail
Mount Plesant EC1 Delivery Office
Farringdon Road

Hmmm. This is not a street address. Farringdon Road is a very long road and the "Delivery Office" for EC1 could be anywhere along it.

I used Google Maps UK (works really well with post codes) to get an idea of where the office might be physically located and set out to the closest part of Farringdon Road from home and walked north. I came to a post office on Farringdon Road and thought that it might be the one. There was no sign outside to say what the name of this post office was. Inside there was no information desk, just a long line of people waiting in a queue - so I joined the queue.

20 minutes later I'm facing a guy who said "Oh, this isn't the delivery office. We're counters, not delivery. "Look" he said, pointing to the address on the card. "So what is this office called?" I asked. "You need to be up the road" he replied, "but what street address am I looking for?" I asked. He pointed to the card again, and the door, and Farringdon Road.

OK, up the hill. The Mount Pleasant facility is a bit like Mos Eisley Space Port in Star Wars. It is huge sprawling complex with Mount Pleasant written in very large letters on a face of the building overlooking Rosebery Avenue. Right under the sign is a Post Office. Yes!

I hurried in, and saw a queue even longer than the last one I was in. Wait a minute, I thought, this looks like "Counters" to me. So I went back out and further along Farringdon, 'cos that was the address I was given, right?

I came to a very wide gate with red Post Office vans zooming and out in great numbers. I scooted across to the gate house and waved my card hopefully in the air. Here I was on Farringdon Road right next to a part of the Mount Pleasant edifice that was most definitely not "Counters".

But to no avail. I was directed back down Farringdon Road to turn right past the "Counters" office and then down a side street, and there I would find the Deliveries Office. So I did that - and there it was, sitting on a small side road called , wait for it, Mount Pleasant. No, really, it was.

So why the hell could the card not mention the street the Delivery Office was actually on? Hmmm?



Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. I got the same card and thanks to your description was able to find the place. Much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Proof that Royal Mail are indeed muppets. I have the same card and would have no idea where to go without your post: Thanks!

Joe Eno said...


I would also like to thank you for letting me know. I went through the same problem, so I will try to find the real place tomorrow. Cheers!