I'VE READ Christine Quick's letters regarding the post office situated in WHSmith in Hounslow and would like to offer her some solutions.
Last summer I spoke to the area manager in Smiths who informed me that the post office was going to be installed on the first floor and how the system works.
It wasn't a forgone conclusion that the post office would operate on the ground floor as each WHSmith is assessed individually.
With the post office on the first floor there is more opportunity to attract 'impulse buys' as customers leave rather than if the situation was vice versa.
The reason the post office moved from the backstreets of Holloway Street was to save the company money. As the ground floor of WHSmith is a prime location, if it had been an offer to the post office it wouldn't have come cheaply, and may not have been cost effective, but I'm afraid the post office had Hobson's choice.
With the transfer of pensions and benefits being paid into banks and building societies, it was envisaged that customers would use cash-points at their venues to withdraw their money - thus freeing up post office queues, but I'm afraid it hasn't quite worked out that way.
For many disabled and older people (I speak from personal experience and know many people in the same situation) they are not able to use an ATM.
It hasn't been taken into consideration that these machines are not for everyone.
The menu scrolls down too fast and the touch screen variety are too sensitive for people who have difficulties with their hands such as arthritis, tremors and stiff fingers.
Disabled and older people become flustered on how to use a machine and this is made worse when a queue begins to build behind them.
This can make people forget or enter a pin in the wrong sequence, only for the machine to eat their card.
This situation can make disabled and older people have sleepless nights so they choose to have a post office account (rather than queue in a new bank or building) and go along to collect their pensions at the post office as they have always done.
This means that the queues in Hounslow post office are the same length as they have always been.
To disabled and older people the office offers a security blanket. It provides a safe way of collecting their pensions without the rigmarole of attempting to use an ATM.
I hope this makes everyone more aware of a situation I'm sure many people never knew existed.
KITTY MASWELL Hounslow.