Walk into a Post Office these days and you may find yourself walking out having not only posted a parcel, but also signed up to a credit card, switched to a new telephone provider or insured your home.
As I was queueing in the Post Office last week, I overheard a conversation between a Post Office employee and an elderly customer:
“You've been a Post Office user all your life, so you can trust if us you switch your home insurance to us.”
So the Post Office are on the hard sell, the reason being the Department for Work and Pension's decision to pay state benefits directly in people's bank accounts instead of using the Post Office's services, thus denting their yearly revenue significantly.
Their Chief Executive put a positive spin on the move towards providing financial services like this:
“Extensive research carried out among 20,000 customers clearly indicated a huge demand for financial services from a brand like the Post Office.”
If there's such a demand, why do I always get told about the competitive interest rate on their Credit Card just as I've paid for a parcel to be delivered? One could argue it's either that or a significant rise in the cost of posting items; I think I'd rather pay a bit more than be hassled by their insistent sales patter.