In less than a fortnight first-class stamps will go up from 46p to 60p and second-class from 36p to 50p. The Royal Mail says the proceeds from the price rise will be used to sustain its “high-quality, six-day-a-week service”.I beg to disagree. The price hike will hit businesses hard and potentially jeopordise the Royal Mail. And it’s not just the price rise that made me double-take. It’s the blatant amateurish financial planning of an institution that has lost control of its own product. I nearly dropped my cuppa when I heard that the company is rationing the number of stamps it supplies to shops in advance of the increase. It wants to “safeguard revenues” by discouraging customers from bulk-buying – and preventing store owners from stockpiling stamps at the cheaper rate and then selling them on at the higher price. I know we are in an economic mess but I don’t think the word “rationing” has been used since the early seventies. Did those idiots at the Royal Mail not realise that such a sudden and massive increase would create a buying frenzy? And, if they did, why would they then restrict sales at the old price? In this ever more competitive market, business users will simply seek out an alternative supplier. This is not only shameless profiteering, its moronic profiteering. I couldn’t agree more with one radio commentator who suggested that the executives at Royal Mail may have scraped a pass at O-level maths but they certainly don’t make the grade at A-level economics! Royal Mail says its protecting revenues: it wants to make sure it keeps all the proceeds of the price rise. In fact, it fears resellers might show the kind of entrepreneurial flair that the Post Office dinosaurs so clearly lack. The government has announced that privatisation of the Royal Mail is due to begin in 2013. By that point, there will be no customers left. If I was one of the companies currently queuing up to take Royal Mail off the government’s hands, I’d sit tight and wait for these inept fools to run the thing into the ground, then pick up the brand name and a few left-over domestic customers for just a few quid. Charlie Mullins grew up on an estate in South London and left school with no qualifications. He started Pimlico Plumbers in 1979, after completing a four-year plumbing apprenticeship. The company employs 150 professional plumbers and turns over more than £16m a year.
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