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To get irritated by the post office lady demanding to know what's in my parcel?

(38 Posts)
ArgyMargy Mon 10-Feb-14 13:05:15

"For the purposes of the dangerous goods act can you tell me what's in it?"

Well why? If it was anthrax or a gun do you really think I would tell you? I've started to lie, but today I said "a toy" and she said "with batteries?" WTF? Am I not allowed to send batteries through the post? It's only going to London, not Afghanistan! Is there anyone who knows the law and can explain this to me?? Sorry for the rant. blush

Scuttlebutter Mon 10-Feb-14 16:06:48

I visit our PO at least once a day and often twice, as I send out parcels of dog coats from my business. The assistants are lovely and we both got fed up with them asking, so as soon as I go in, I usually announce that they are dog coats or they ask "The usual dog coats?" However, the manager told me that they get mystery shoppers in regularly checking to see if they ask, so sometimes she'll make a point of asking me quite loudly and giving me a wink while doing so, if there is a stranger behind me in the queue.

The form on parcels to USA is a pain though - usually too small for me to see without my glasses. blush

tiggytape Mon 10-Feb-14 15:56:27

It isn't to catch out people sending anthrax and lying about it.
It is because the list of prohibited items is really long and covers things that aren't immediately obvious as "dangerous" items like little compressed gas cannisters, nail varnish or an empty lighter unless it is brand new and in original packaging.

And the list isn't exhaustive either - if they think it could be harmful they can refuse to carry it even if it isn't expressly on the list.

I don't mind being asked at all because the staff have no choice and the alternative is getting parcels opened or impounded.

liquidstate Mon 10-Feb-14 15:56:09

I usually give a childish answer. Quite fun really. But I only ever send books and clothes so not likely to explode en route. grin

EmmaBemma Mon 10-Feb-14 15:44:43

I think the only reason some of you are detecting an officious "tone" is that these workers must get an earful several times a day just because they're doing their jobs, so they're already on the defensive before you've had a chance to get shirty.

Personally, I don't mind being asked. Nothing I send is very interesting, and if it was something I felt secretive about, I would just lie.

bigbluebus Mon 10-Feb-14 15:34:08

I was a bit taken aback when they started doing this last year. I thought it was just the village postmistress being nosey. I then posted something at the town Post Office and got asked the same thing and actually had a conversation about the new regulations.

My Mum was in hospital recently and had run out of clean pants. I wasn't able to get over and visit her, so went out and bought some & posted them too her in a jiffy envelope. The whole time I was wrapping them and walking up to the PO, I was chuckling to myself at the thought of saying "knickers" when the postmistress asked what was in my parcel. grin Childish - moi?

It is a bit daft though. Why can't they just display a list of banned items and ask you if the parcel contains any of those things - like they do at the airport check in desk. As others have said, if you want to send something illegal you will lie anyway.

lynniep Mon 10-Feb-14 15:07:12

I was asked this a few weeks back and was very surprised that nail varnish had to be declared (was a birthday bundle for my niece) I was allowed to send it though (UK). TBH post office lady was quite embarrased to ask too, but its not her fault.

HollyMiamiFLA Mon 10-Feb-14 15:04:07

The only thing my Post Office seems to ask is if I want to buy any lottery tickets.

GiveMeStrength2day Mon 10-Feb-14 15:02:48

A while ago I went to send a little girl in Ukraine a parcel of birthday bits and bobs. One of her presents was nail varnish. I'd sent her nail varnish on previous occasions but suddenly it became banned. I had to go home, unwrap the whole brown-papered parcel and go and buy a replacement present. If I'd had posted it a week earlier it would have been fine hmm

CashmereMouse Mon 10-Feb-14 14:58:56

I did actually send a parcel full of vibrators through the post last week!

I was doing 'the big declutter' and decided that my, um, 'toy drawer' also needed a declutter but I didn't want to just chuck them away into landfill (bit of an eco freak). Legally retailers have to recycle old electricals for you and Love Honey (online 'toy' company) offer recycling as a service.

So I packaged them up (removed batteries because I knew about that!) and then chuckled to myself all the way to the post office because I knew they would have to ask me what was in my parcel! grin

I chickened out when the man asked me what was in my parcel though and told him it was a hairdryer!

But it really does bloody irritate me that they ask. It's the tone of voice when they enquire, so often as much as the actual asking.

bodygoingsouth Mon 10-Feb-14 14:57:39

I always wanted to work in a post office or a library. had the sets at home as a kid and loved the feeling of authority with the stamp. you know the banging stamp.

don't have them in libraries any more.

whoislester Mon 10-Feb-14 14:53:49

tell her its a puppy!

Theodorous Mon 10-Feb-14 14:51:56

Post office ladies, like librarians have special powers like the police. At least they think they do. And doctors receptionists are medically competent. Power madness!

ScrambledeggLDCcakeBOAK Mon 10-Feb-14 14:46:29

My sister works in a post office. She has been told she HAS to ask this or she can not take the parcel. (New rules)

She was telling me how mortified she is to ask as if it was her she wouldn't want to be asked, as she puts it just to post a bloody package :-)

Wuxiapian Mon 10-Feb-14 14:07:04

The last lot of eBay bits I sold prompted questions the 5 or 6 times I went. You'd think after asking the 1st time they'd know I was selling clothes and wouldn't keep asking. It really got on my nerves. They also tried to sell me life insurance every time, too.

I changed PO and not one question.

Sadoldbag Mon 10-Feb-14 14:00:35

I always say a dildo that tends to shut them up lol

GeeinItLaldy Mon 10-Feb-14 13:50:44

If she doesn't ask and your parcel gets picked up through the screening process, it will be opened and the offending articles destroyed thereby wasting the money spent on purchasing the goods and on postage so its really in your interests to be asked.

gobbynorthernbird Mon 10-Feb-14 13:49:54

I don't think it's to do with terrorism at all. It's about 'normal' people inadvertently posting dangerous things. If the PO could rely on the list of permitted items being read by everyone, they wouldn't have to ask.

bodygoingsouth Mon 10-Feb-14 13:41:23

^^ although not asked at the post office grin

specialsubject Mon 10-Feb-14 13:27:48

I also got caught with the battery thing on an ebay transaction - it had to go via courier.

rule came in last year, hence checking.

bodygoingsouth Mon 10-Feb-14 13:26:20

are you a terrorist and is this your car madam

er no and yes. daft really.

FoxesRevenge Mon 10-Feb-14 13:25:31

After seeing what some numpties try to send through the post then they are right to ask what you are sending. I know it seems intrusive but it is worth it to ensure your parcel gets there and isn't 'investigated' at the sorting office.

PeterParkerSays Mon 10-Feb-14 13:24:15

They do have lists at the post office. Our post office has a supply of leaflets at the counter, listing restricted items - alcohol, batteries, aerosols, perfume etc.

thegreylady Mon 10-Feb-14 13:21:48


thegreylady Mon 10-Feb-14 13:21:30

I was a bit sad that I was not allowed to send perfume to dgd in Turkey. I could send a gun without ammunition but not a little bottle of perfume. Poor dgd had to go without the Christmas present she had lift behind sad

TamerB Mon 10-Feb-14 13:20:15

It is better than having it opened in a sorting office.

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