At the Post Office today, I was sending my parcel when I noticed something strange on the counter. Post Office gift cards. Post. Office. gift. cards. And it’s not some Nectar-ish type scheme whereby the Post Office is arbitrarily linked to a vaguely interesting shop, these cards are just. for. the. Post. Office.
This got me thinking, and here is my philosophical question: On what planet would anyone want a Post Office gift card? I don’t know about you, but aside from a pile of anthrax or a nest of live beetles, a Post Office gift card is probably the last thing I would want falling out of my card on Christmas morning.
Considering this on my way home, the only thing I could come up with was this: The Office Secret Santa. You know, that irritating extra expense we have to put up with every year, at a time in the year when you least want an irritating extra expense. The time when you have to spend a tenner (and it is always a tenner) on someone you barely know and probably don’t like. Ten pounds is a really irritating amount as well, because it’s enough to be annoying, but not enough for you to say, ‘Actually guys, that’s a bit steep, why don’t we make it a little less?’ without sounding like the original Ebenezer.
Anyway, If I received a Post Office gift card in the Office Secret Santa I wouldn’t actually mind, because it’s at least slightly less useless than some of the other things I’ve got over the years. (Having said that, I think it would take me about another three years to get round to spending a tenner in the Post Office, but that’s another story). If however, I received one from anyone else, i.e. someone I actually know/like, I’d be at best confused and at worst mildly insulted. Gift cards can be a decent gift if, and here’s the key point, they’re for a shop you’d actually want to go in, but one from the Post Office is effectively the same as giving someone a book of stamps, a roll of parcel tape or a 10 pack of Bic biros as a present which, while arguably useful, are not exactly gift materials.
Husband was less baffled by this anomaly. “Yeah.” He said, when I told him what I’d seen. “For your 80-year-old Grandma. Old people constantly go to the Post.” When I asked him what ‘old people’ would need to send, he answered “I don’t know, letters, Christmas cards! Young people spend money on the Internet, old people spend money on the Post.”
I remain unconvinced. Admittedly the demographic in the Post Office is usually 50 years older than the general population, but I still find it hard to believe that a Grandma (even an 80-year-old one) would be impressed with one of their gift cards.
So my question remains: if anyone out there can think of a plausible reason why anyone would want a Post Office gift card in a situation other than the dreaded Secret Santa, I want to hear it.