Sunday, November 9, 2008

Heard about the Kiwi Bureacrats

A correspondent from The Telegraph writes;

The scene of this madness was the Takaka post office which is where ‘rural' households like ours must go to pick up their mail from a bank of rusting old Post Office Boxes.

Recently I concluded some additional business with my landlord who asked me to put a copy of our new rental contract into his PO Box so that he could collect it next time he was passing through town.

So in I pop to the post office to ask the man behind the counter if he would put the envelope into Box No ‘xxx' when they were next being stuffed with the morning mail - the box in question was no more than ten paces from where he was standing -.

He shook his head with the helpless solemnity.

"Sorry, mate. You'll need a stamp."

I pointed at the address on the envelope.

"It's just going in one of the boxes."

"Sorry, mate. You'll need a stamp. That'll be a dollar-fifty."

I looked at him, searching for the hint of a smile. Nothing.

"You've got to be joking, right? That ‘delivery' is ten paces. That's fifteen cents a metre..."

"Sorry, Mate. What kind of business do you think we're running. Dollar-fifty."

I was so shocked, I paid the man his money. Even as I type this, I can't quite understand why.

As if it's any consolation, he explained that my freshly stamped letter will now travel ‘over the hill' to the Nelson sorting office, where it will be sorted and returned to him behind the Takaka post office counter.

Only then, two days and several hundred kilometers later, will the man behind the post office counter shuffle the required ten paces over to the bank of PO Boxes and put my letter in the relevant PO Box.

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