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Old 10.03.2016, 23:26
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Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

Today I ventured out to my local post to pay several bills with real banknotes. Didn't do that for a long time (not in the last 15 years at least), I gave to the lady 3 invoices, and she puts them through the machine. Then comes the bizarre part:

She: "how much it is in total?"
me: "excuse me? I thought you should tell me that"
She: "no. You need to calculate how much it is in total!"
me (Dalai-lama is my middle name): "Ms, I gave you 3 invoices. The amount I should pay to you is the sum of those 3 invoices."
She: "Yes. And you need to calculate how much it is, for added security"
me: "Are you sure? In e.g. Migros they never ask me to calculate myself how much it is"
She: "Every customer in die Post needs to calculate it, so that we are both sure there was no mistake!"
Me: "Ok. The first invoice is XX, the second is YY, the third is ZZ, so the total sum is the sum of those 3. Do you want me to add them now?"
She (extremely annoyed): "You must calculate it. (types in computer). Here it is! Next time calculate it in advance!"

So, the eternal Zen of Dalai Lama was already coming out of my nose, to be replaced with the righteous anger. I knew that they can't kick me out from the country if I yell at official (thanks to DSI initiative failing). Yet, I have decided to chill.

But I am still under impression that this is bizarre. Did anyone had any requirements to calculate the amount necessary to pay beforehand in die Post? If so, what could be the reason?
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Old 10.03.2016, 23:31
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

Are you sure she wasn't an apprentice who didn't succeed at math and that would explain why she worked there behind the counter to improve on her skills. Maybe she needed to double check that she did her calculations right, that's why one should be more forthcoming and always carry a calculator
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Old 10.03.2016, 23:31
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

Cannot remember when, but yes, I had to too. Otherwise they would have had to count it twice.
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Old 10.03.2016, 23:37
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

Yeah this happened to me once also.
I'm guessing it's some sort of proofing to avoid errors?

When it happened to me I was paying bills in the triple figures and when she asked me the total I also asked questioned why. She got annoyed and said I have to state what the total is. I just blurted out a random low figure and she shook her head and told me the toal = problem solved. Now I just add it up before I pay it
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Old 10.03.2016, 23:41
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

This has been SOP for decades, nothing new, nor rare.

Tom
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Old 10.03.2016, 23:41
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

It's been a long time since I paid my bills at the counter, but yeah, they did that to me too. If I could be bothered, I'd calculate it; but often I'd just stand there in front of "teacher" and roll my eyes as I got told off.

I did once ask if she'd prefer me to pay them one at a time.
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Old 10.03.2016, 23:42
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

Oops ... Unreasonable speculations me guess. Maybe this thread is too early to be posted. It's not quite Friday yet. Give it another 1h and 20min and driven by groan should subside!
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Old 10.03.2016, 23:50
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

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Today I ventured out to my local post to pay several bills with real banknotes. Didn't do that for a long time (not in the last 15 years at least), I gave to the lady 3 invoices, and she puts them through the machine. Then comes the bizarre part:

She: "how much it is in total?"
me: "excuse me? I thought you should tell me that"
She: "no. You need to calculate how much it is in total!"
me (Dalai-lama is my middle name): "Ms, I gave you 3 invoices. The amount I should pay to you is the sum of those 3 invoices."
She: "Yes. And you need to calculate how much it is, for added security"
me: "Are you sure? In e.g. Migros they never ask me to calculate myself how much it is"
She: "Every customer in die Post needs to calculate it, so that we are both sure there was no mistake!"
Me: "Ok. The first invoice is XX, the second is YY, the third is ZZ, so the total sum is the sum of those 3. Do you want me to add them now?"
She (extremely annoyed): "You must calculate it. (types in computer). Here it is! Next time calculate it in advance!"

So, the eternal Zen of Dalai Lama was already coming out of my nose, to be replaced with the righteous anger. I knew that they can't kick me out from the country if I yell at official (thanks to DSI initiative failing). Yet, I have decided to chill.

But I am still under impression that this is bizarre. Did anyone had any requirements to calculate the amount necessary to pay beforehand in die Post? If so, what could be the reason?
the thread would have been so much better if she would have charged you 25 CHF to calculate the amount
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Old 10.03.2016, 23:52
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

I somehow fail to see the logic behind me calculating it. I don't do it in Migros, I don't do it in Coop, I wonder what is different here? The computer reading invoices in die Post makes mistakes in adding up numbers?
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Old 10.03.2016, 23:54
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

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But I am still under impression that this is bizarre. Did anyone had any requirements to calculate the amount necessary to pay beforehand in die Post? If so, what could be the reason?
You used to be better looking. That's what age does to you. Welcome to the club.
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Old 11.03.2016, 00:07
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

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You used to be better looking. That's what age does to you. Welcome to the club.
Yeah. Nowadays I can only see the security glass pulling down as soon as I step in...
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Old 11.03.2016, 00:26
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

As st2lemans remarks, this seems to be the SOP (been asked approx. 95% of the times at 5 different post offices that I frequent). The rationale is that you calculate the figures (beforehand; ideally before you reach the counter) and then corroborate (or not) with the figures they reach. It might be that there's been some complaints and they made this part of the process.
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Old 11.03.2016, 00:29
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

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I somehow fail to see the logic behind me calculating it. I don't do it in Migros, I don't do it in Coop, I wonder what is different here? The computer reading invoices in die Post makes mistakes in adding up numbers?
Someone already answered this, it's an old SOP, probably from before any computer was able to read invoices. You don't risk clients saying they were ripped off.
I thought they were all about efficiency nowadays but maybe it's used by so few people that it's not even worth looking into.
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Old 11.03.2016, 00:43
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

Paying bills in cash at the post?? This is so 1980s...
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Old 11.03.2016, 00:48
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

Yesterday went to the post to pick up carparts package from the US ....well over 25-30 kg. She hated me haha

also when I deposit money at the bank from the bar I sometimes forget to count it all up (I have it in my stats but forgot to bring it with. They HATE it when they tell me how much is was and ask me to confirm
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Old 11.03.2016, 01:51
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

It's a simple security measure, though a bit outdated.

Back in the day the Post clerk had to type the numbers manually, which of course is quite error prone. The Post, smart as the swiss are, implemented a cost-free four-eyes policy by having customers calculate the sum in advance themselves. Considering the sums at hand it's well worth the hassle to most, even today.

Stupidly though they didn't label it 'Five Sigma', 'Kanban', 'Just in Time' or by some other catchy phrase. Otherwise one could simply say to just google XYZ.
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Old 11.03.2016, 01:55
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

next time just take 3 tickets and then give the invoices one at a time.
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Old 11.03.2016, 06:34
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

Exactly, easy for the Clerk to ask for 4420 for a 4220 aggregate bill and pocket the 200 CHF for her rainy day fund.


Basically you're keeping her honest, not that Swiss aren't honest of course.


Also, I suspect, there is not (or was not) a full telling process in the postoffice whereby who credited what is not recorded, just that total debits and credits have to net to zero at the end of the day. If there is a credit of 200 because she got it wrong (and was honest) - there's no way to know who they owe 200 to.


Its the same logic that you should know what the cost of something is when you are buying it in the shop which doesn't have a till which prints itemised receipts (rare these days, common in the 70s)
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Old 11.03.2016, 08:05
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

I bet you would have quickly come up with the total had she charged you too much.
I worked in the PO on ther counter in London for a few years and it was normal to ask the customer what total they made. It's almost a question of decency and understanding.


And it's normal here.
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Old 11.03.2016, 08:30
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Re: Unreasonable Requirement at die Post

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I somehow fail to see the logic behind me calculating it. I don't do it in Migros, I don't do it in Coop, I wonder what is different here? The computer reading invoices in die Post makes mistakes in adding up numbers?
Because you are paying for goods in a shop. I wpuld draw your attention that when paying for goods in a shop, especially by card, you are asked to confirm the total. It used to be two steps (pin, ok, fee, ok) and is now just one (fee+pin, ok).

At the post they are transferring money out of your account to a third party and the post would like your confirmation that the numbers are correct.

As Tom says, SOP for years.

I would add, however, that I believe it is a hangover from years ago when it was a manual calculation by the clerk. In these days of automation, the question is really whether it is worth it.

But, as we all know, TIS.
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