I am back from holiday to always sunny France where it is always sunny in my myopic native eyes, Northern migrants - under mid-season storms - can have some difficulties he he he). There I discovered the La Poste's new policy of time opening for its philatelic counters. There are independent post offices who sell postage stamps and philatelic products only and there is at least one per department with highly-qualified and -pleasant employees.
From this April 2008, the philatelic counters are opened only in businessweek's morning (10am to 1pm) and one afternoon per week. Full and final stop. The employees now work the rest of their timeshift at the main post office nearby. On a printed message, they inform collectors that they will of course be available at this office (mainly for the ones who are taking their trimestrial booking stamp pocket under cellophane (can Jean-Pierre Coffe, protector of traditional ways of living, help French collectors to obtain naturally cut stamps?), but under the waiting people's stress of La Poste which is known to be legendary incapable of adapting quickly the number of open counter in case of massive and unexpected crowds of clients.
In a prefecture of 250.000 inhabitants in middle of a semi-departmental highly touristic area of 500.000 inhabitants, clients of this philatelic counter are bitter - even if the two employess played good roles in these circonstances. Moreover, the first have the same problem as me: because we always bought stamps in a philatelic counter, we do no more receive the order catalogue at home. Bad client! Order not come unexpected! Bad! For the employees, it is worse: finish the time the computer proposed lists of products and just the quantities bought to be quickly added. Now, the clerk must fill the products' codes... that are different from the codes of Phil@poste's order catalogue and website known by the clients.
And I naively thought that philately was sufficiently profitable (with all those stamps never to be on letters)... Visibly, cost killers always find something.