I should perhaps dedicate this post to everyone who still complains about the Royal Mail in Britain.
Have you ever tried its Polish equivalent, Poczta Polska? No?
I’ve just read a post on one of the Wall Street Journal blogs dedicated to Central and Eastern Europe about the weird experience that is Poczta Polska. And I couldn’t agree more.
Malgorzata Halaba describes her frustrating experience of using Polish post offices, which somehow have failed to notice that the Communism collapsed some 20+ years ago.
Just to clarify, I think that Poland has largely made massive progress when it comes to customer services, something we all thought would never happen.
Every time I go back I am mostly positively surprised by how some places – even within the public sector – have changed and improved their services. There’s still a long way to go, but, unlike even 15 years ago, it’s not unusual to be greeted by a polite smile and served in a nicely lit, clean office.
However, it would seem the Polish Post Office is till trying to catch up. Quite often the service is still bad, and many post offices – presumably to improve their income – have turned into part-time markets, selling everything from stockings to board games and washing powder.
The author of the WSJ post compares her experience of using post offices in Warsaw to a journey in time – back to the 1960s:
It warms my heart every time I have to pick up a registered letter. Usually, after waiting the required 20 minutes, I approach the window and hear an angry bark: “What the does the letter look like? Is it large?”
How am I supposed to know? I wasn’t the one who sent it. I watch the nervous clerk produce three cartons of letters and start to shuffle through them in search of mine – sometimes without success. “Come back in an hour, or better tomorrow,” is what you might hear in the case of misplaced letters.
Yep, sounds like the post office I remember. Although I have to say, I found the post offices in Warsaw particularly bad, so hopefully things have in fact improved elsewhere.
But just like the Royal Mail lost its monopoly in 2006, its Polish equivalent will go through a similar process in 2013. So expect some changes there.
Until then, don’t be surprised if instead of stamps and envelopes your local branch will try to sell you some lovely stockings.
Image of Polish stamps © Florence Craye, Flickr, used under Creative Commons licence