Posted on 19/03/2013 by Phil Hall
I was in our local Post Office the other day in a queue of five of which I was the third. A lady in her early eighties was at the window making a number of transactions, it was one might say a lengthy business. She was clearly struggling and you could not help but feel some sympathy for her predicament but from the body language of the other people waiting it was apparent their patience was running a bit thin.
The post mistress who had been very patient, attentive and kind concluded the transaction by carefully and loudly counting out in twenty pound notes, a large sum of money. It was impossible not to overhear and I was astounded when the final amount added up to £719.56 pence.
This, the old lady carefully put into an envelope and then into her shopping bag and everyone shuffled forward. However, she then began another long conversation about a letter she had received advising her that she could no longer deposit money at the Post Office. The post mistress picked up pamphlet and agreed that it was so and that from certain date this would have to be done on line. The old lady remarked that she did not have an ‘internet’ and was clearly upset, and making a remark about not being able to save for a rainy day, she left.
The queue shuffled forward again and I looked around, they were all decent local people in their forties and fifties but what I thought if one of us had been a mugger. A vulnerable old person walks out with £700 in cash not difficult to follow find out where they live…. you probably get my drift.
Transactions like that must take place every day and I accept that the Post Office personnel have a little option but to count out the money and speak clearly. One can only hope that an occurrence like this never contributes to the headline, ‘Vulnerable old person badly beaten and robbed of her savings.’ Fortunately where we live is not a high crime spot but I would be uneasy about letting my elderly relative/neighbour make such a collection alone.