Shopping online has become a way of life. Everything from music to books, and from shoes to video games. It’s all just a dozen clicks away.
You just switch on the computer, go online and order what you want. A couple of days later it turns up. Easy as that.
So, setting off abroad for a few weeks would prove no problem. Currency and travel insurance over the internet would be dead easy – of course it would. However, as it happened I had to go to my wee local post office for something. While there, I noticed a leaflet for their foreign currency service. It offered a 0% commission rate. I thought I would give them a wee test.
I needed Roubles, and a friend of mine had experienced all sorts of problems trying to get them, eventually ending up using an airport Bureau Exchange at the very last minute. Online, you will discover that: “You can not generally obtain Roubles in the UK, and will have to buy them in Russia using a ‘hard currency’.”
Roubles at the wee local Post Office? No problem. The very friendly chap behind the counter explained that he could get the currency I needed, and that it would be there the following morning. You don’t get that service on the Internet.
But there was a problem; at the time I got them there was the possibility of an airport strike, and that meant the currency might not even leave the country. Surely I would have to pay something to have the Russian dosh converted back into real money? “No. Just bring them back and we will refund the exact amount you paid for them.”
Eh? How does THAT work?
Travel insurance? Well, all I had to do was go on the internet, sift through the various companies, refine the options, complete the paperwork, fill in the bank details, then wait for the policy to arrive.
The Post Office? “We can do it here.”
“I’m in a bit of a rush.”
“How long do you have?”
“About five minutes.”
“This will take two.”
And it did. He filled out the simple form, stamped it, took my £20 and handed me the policy. I mean, honestly, how much simpler can it be?
Like millions of others, I have become so enamoured with shopping online that I’ve forgotten “the old way”. The traditional way; the humble Post Office. It was good enough for my Mum and Dad, and – you know what? – it’s good enough for me.
Good enough for all of us, I reckon.