Don’t assume old people are stupid

For years I’ve been using the automatic postage machines in the Post office. I use them at Christmas for the traditional sending of the calendars for one thing. I tend to use them in preference to going to the counter because there’s normally a queue at the latter while general avoidance through fear for the former.

Back in the day when the Post Office was just the Post Office, there were helpful staff members who would stand by the machines and ask if you needed assistance. The first time, yes, they did help but the machines are not particularly difficult and I was soon competent.

Fast forward to this morning.

Now the Post office has been rehoused at the back of WH Smith’s, I’m not sure that the staff are Royal Mail employees. However, if they are, they certainly don’t get the same training as the helpful ones I mentioned earlier.

I accept I’m getting on. I use a walking stuck and I drag a shopping trolley behind me but that doesn’t make me stupid. When I approach a bit of technology I expect a friendly and helpful staff member to ask me if I need assistance. This is not what happened today.

When asked what I was after I said a stamp to Australia. The staff member then took over the whole operation, talking me through the procedure as the procedure was progressing. I did wonder how this was any different to queuing up and being served at the counter.

The staff member was also speaking louder than necessary (I guess it was figured I was deaf as well as old and incompetent) as the on-screen buttons were pushed.

I know a lot of people have difficulties with new technology (both young and old) but it’s not really good manners to assume stupidity.

After posting my letter (the staff member even told me how to put it into the post box) I wandered home via East Street. It’s been a while and, as a social historian, I figured it was time for another photo of the East Street Development.

Work stopped during Lockdown because they couldn’t work out how to get the workers to the site when they generally travelled 15 to a car. That hurdle seems to have been climbed over now and the buildings are taking shape. Well, except for the Marlborough Head which is still teetering on Acro props.

After my humiliating treatment at the Post Office, it was a lovely relief when Charles said that he considers me a charming eccentric. This was before we started the FATN recording this week.

Ann rostered me on with Robert. He is a bit…how can I put this? Dull? Unchatty? He was going to be a tough nut to crack. That sounds a bit harsh. He’s a lovely fellow and, obviously, willing to give up his time for the hard of seeing. However, it’s also true that he just reads his pieces with little personality between tracks.

I think I managed to get a bit of life out of him. While not quite sparkling it did seem to spark a bit.

The recording went very well. I felt a lot better about my presenting given the last one I did. I’m looking forward to hearing it back tomorrow.

Best of all was the sports report where I discovered this photo:

Written beneath it was ‘Pictures by Nick Cansfield’ something I’d not noticed during editing. It shows Andy Grimes of Liphook running for cover (their pun, not mine) as the rain started last Saturday. They were playing Peper Harrow in the I’Anson League.

Generally, when I read the local sports, I mention Nicktor. I think it gives the report a personal connection between the listener and me. It also gives me something to talk about with regard to the Mighty Shots and their generally unmighty performances. Hopefully the listeners know who I mean when I talk about him.

All in all and all other things considered, it was a very enjoyable session. Though I did miss bouncing off Ann.

Burned Out Bin UPDATE

I’m happy to report that the park management people have removed the bin completely.

This is an excellent development though I did notice a little pile of rubbish deposited near a bench just behind me. I guess people just need to express themselves through their waste.

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