Thursday, January 29, 2009

French first-dayers, spoiled clients

Who lived in Paris the collection of new stamps of France, must know this population of collectors used to attend every anticipated first day of sale.

Always the same people. Always present one or two hours before the gates open. Always with numerous envelopes, maximum cards and albums. Ready to wait to buy the new stamps, booklets and other souvenirs. Ready to stick patiently the whole on their said supports. Ready to wait again to cancel their items with the first day datestamp. And again for a signature if the artist is present.

To Phil@poste, the French philatelic service, it is a joy to see so loyal clients: their money spent in stamps is largely unused on mail, and because of the first day cancel, will never be used. All this for reduced costs: the postal workers must surely work on week-ends in exchange with more holidays.

But, a place must be rented.

The La Poste's museum, near Montparnasse railway station, must cost Phil@poste, because I imagine that each part of La Poste group must be profitable and do not make gift to their colleagues. The Blancs-Manteaux Space in the Marais is vast for, finally, not so much people after the first-dayers are done. The Acclimatation Garden is beautiful, but you need to walk from the metro station in Neuilly-sur-Seine, always a difficulty with some older clients. The mini-room in Montmartre, the one used for the end of year booklets in 2007, is really too tiny for such a crowd.

Solution: and if all these Parisian places' rentals were equal to the rent of a permanent shop in the Haussmann district near the Parisian grands magasins?

First advantage: these so loyal clients will have all France's stamps and first day cancels available in the same place. Phil@poste will receive less letters and parcels full of items to be cancelled with a first day cancellation which happened outside Paris.

Second advantage: all other people entering the premises will be beneficial. Tourists looking for stamps for their postcards, afraid by the huge crowds in postal offices, and who will leave with more stamps than needed, scarfs and others philatelic souvenirs. Executive secretaries sent to find pretty stamps and bore by the told crowds ; they are everywhere in this business district.

Thirs advantage: the consolidated certitude that the main part of the stamps printed will be sold to the Parisian first-dayers, completed with the France's stamp subscribers whose subscriptions are bow dealt by Phil@poste and no more by the philatelic post offices. No need to look after the individual tiny orders of thousands of the post offices in the country.

There certainly is a history and an economy of the first day of issue to be written, because of the numbers of collectors and dealers this activity continue to attract.

No comments: