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Blog > October Writing Prompt: Your local post office


The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcards’ messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!

Many of us, as Postcrossers, end up seeing quite a lot of our local post office, one way or another. In some ways, they’re similar all around the world, because they have the same basic function: allow people to send letters and parcels, nationally and internationally. But there are a lot of differences, too, from the colour scheme to the things the post office might share a building with—so that’s this month’s prompt!

In October, write about your local post office!
post office stamps sign

My local post office is really tiny. It’s in the little shop on the corner that sells a range of convenient things like bread, baked beans, snacks and pre-made sandwiches. There aren’t many other shops close by, so that shop has a bit of everything, including the post office and a small selection of envelopes, writing paper and boxes for mailing things. You have to kind of squeeze in there, and there’s always a wait because there’s normally only one person manning both the cash register and the post office window!

Because of that, I can never quite manage to go to the post office without also coming away with some snacks, a loaf of bread, and whatever else we managed to forget while doing the shopping earlier in the week. Also, you end up hearing about everybody else’s business, because the people in front of you are sending a care package to their daughter at university, returning something they bought on Ebay or picking up foreign currency ready for their trip to Greece. Somehow it’s never just buying a book of stamps, and because it’s a small local shop, everyone wants to chat…

What’s your local post office like? Is it big and impersonal, or do you see your neighbours there? Do you know the people you buy stamps from, and do they know you do Postcrossing? We’d love to hear all about it, in the comments on this post and on your postcards in October!

47 comments so far

meiadeleite, Portugal
Because Friday is a special day, we're publishing October's writing prompt a little bit ahead of time. :)
CatharinaG3, Netherlands
In the Netherlands, less and less real Post offices exist; most of them now have part of a counter in other shops, usually a supermarket, sometimes a shop that sells office supplies, wish cards, and maybe some books.
Only standard stamps are available, for every special issue I buy them online, because I want to use beautiful stamps on my cards
Porque dices que el viernes es un dia especial.....???Prochaska
Kriselle, United States of America
I have to drive a few miles to get to my post office. I often have to stand in line for a long time to buy stamps or mail a package. It is a stand alone building with a parking lot on a busy intersection. I am often nervous about turning left when I leave the parking lot.
Sunshein, United States of America
The post office in our city is quite large, relatively speaking. It sells some cards with envelopes and out in the hall are the post office boxes for people who don't get their mail delivered to their home or office.
To get more interesting stamps, I order them online as the post office usually only has a very small selection.
Most often my husband takes my postcards along on his way to work as that post office collection box gets my postcards to where they are going faster. Other times I put them in the outgoing mail slot of our community mailbox. Least often I deliver them to the post office directly as it takes the most of my time and they are a few days slower to arrive than if my husband posts them.
Anto61, Italy
In Italy every village has a Post Office there we pay taxes, bills or we collect pension, my prefer Post Office stamps (envelopes and Postcards) with a particular design - even if the samme for all Philatelic Offices - is the design of Italy and its two large islands ; Sardegna and Sicilia ( plus the smaller ones Isola d' Elba , Ponza,Capri,Ischia,Procida,Elolie,Efadi,Pantelleria,Lampedusa). Who will reive mail with the stamps wil know that the sender has committed more in Patience or Luck , :-)))
Kewl, Philippines
Phlpost (yes, without the letter 'í' in it) is the shortened name of the Philippine Postal Corp. This is what I see from my point of view as a costumer, and not privy to inner workings therein. In the recent past (like 5 yrs or so), Phlpost closed a lot of offices, wherein previously each municipality has at least one. They collapsed like 3-5 into just one major post office since business is not so busy any more with the usual mail, letters, parcels and packets. And then, they added a feature where they can issue a postal ID that would be recognized in any government, banks and similar institutions. One only needs to show a proof of residence address, birth certificate and pay a minimal, fixed fee. This was a great addition especially for those who do not drive, not working nor in school anymore (thus, have no dirver's license, employees ID or student ID - the usual ID requested for business transactions). There are also advertisement for acceptance for payments for government insurance, utility bills and the like but I never did do that, and am not sure how successful that was/ is. The postal clerk at the counter only sells stamps and documentary stamps for attachment to government documents. For philatelic stamps, one has to go to the post master's office for it.
msquared47, United States of America
My post office is part of this strip mall. It has greeting cards that you can purchase and any kind of mailing materials you can imagine. I have a post office box there where I pick up my mail. The post office lobby is open 24 hours a day as there is an automated postal machine in there where you can purchase stamps or mail a package. I usually get my mail once the regular hours are over as it is always so busy there and the parking lot is crazy. There is a postal "annex" a couple blocks from my house where mail is sorted and the carriers get their mail to deliver. I usually mail my postcards there as they get on their way faster.
Mamaduke, Australia
😃When I lived in Townsville Nth Queensland the Post Office had a Philatelic "Stamp Collectors Corner" and I was a regular visitor. I went to Brisbane twice a year and always visited the large post Office "Stamp Shop" in the Brisbane CBD.

I was saddened when they closed both stores and sections and you can only buy oinline. It is not the same. The staff were always so knowledgable on all stamp issues and it was grand to talk to fellow stamp collectors. I miss this experience so much😢😢
speechiegal, United States of America
There are at least four post offices within ten miles of my house. One in each close by town. They have all gotten much busier. Sometimes you have to stand outside to wait to get in (6 feet of space) and all require masks of customers. While the time waiting in line is much longer now — I think less employees at counters, the clerks are all polite and nice. Probably you can’t say that about the customers.
loving6thgrade, United States of America
Our post office is about 5 miles away at a major intersection in our town. You can drive through and deposit your mail in one of the outside boxes, but I prefer to mask up and go inside to post my mail in the box in the main hall. If it doesn’t look too busy, I go inside the section where you mail packages or buy stamps. A long Island separates those who are waiting in line from those that are being served. The clerks all recognize me because I am always asking about new stamps. They pull out the stamp book and sometimes just let me browse through and pull the stamps I want. All the clerks are friendly and patient. Just don’t go at lunch time!
OxanaNik, Russia
There are 73 post offices in our city and suburbs. There are queues. In addition to postal services, they also sell food, toys, stationery and much more.
PaiviM, Finland
In Finland, the actual post offices are disappearing. My town has 46 000 inhabitants but not one real post office. In the town center, in supermarket, is an info desk which now works like a post office. And we can send and receive packages in the shops and boxes around the town and buy stamps in every shop. But I still wish we had a post office!
borisli713, Hong Kong
Hong Kong. The one near my home is Tsuen Wan Post Office. Most of the post offices are really small. However, some main post offices are big too. The theme of the post office is green(?)
nm_rockhound, United States of America
Since the local post office is run like a retail store, they are feeling the effects of understaffing like everyone else. I try to avoid going in person because the lines are usually very long and the wait time can be quite extensive (it can also be difficult to find parking). I try to avoid going to the post office unless I absolutely have to. I usually order my stamps online and rarely ever send out packages. I have noticed that the smaller the post office the friendlier the staff. Anyhow, that's my 2¢.
Siza, United Kingdom
I live in a small town, we don`t have a big post office anymore. Our local main post office shut down two years ago, and what we have now are just tiny post office counters in some shops. They don`t have postcards, which is quite a pain if you are on postcrossing.
simi12, Germany
My post office isn't in my hometown, rather in the small city, where I work. In my hometown it is very big and impersonal and the employees are very unfriendly.
I had to go to the post office to take the post out of the post box for the Nursing home, where I work in the administration. It was a big advantage to be Postcrosser, so I could always send my personal post there. And it is every time a big pleasure to be there. It's also very small and they sell office products but post products as well. The employee is extremely friendly and it's very personal there - she knows my name. :-)

Now I'm in an apprenticeship as a office management clerk and it isn't my task anymore, but I like to buy my stamps there. I buy mostly my stamps online though, due to the small variety in this post office.
Nastynew, Russia
There are also fewer and fewer post offices in Russia. At our post office you can pay for utilities, receive a pension, send or receive correspondence, buy dry food at home, office supplies.
A post office is a separate office within a building.
There is enough space, there is always a window for correspondence and a window for parcels.
We even have a Post Bank. Everything in one color - gray and dark blue. Mailboxes are located throughout the city.
But there is a problem with brands - there are only standard and boring ones!
pemasagirls, France
In my region, big towns still have a post office opened every days. I can reach one in 15 minutes. Small towns or villages (where I leave for eg) are opened some hours somes days.
large post offices propose other services, mainly banking activities.
For packages, there are lots of spots where we can receive them (bakery, supermakets...) and ship them.

We can now print our stamps (or equivalent) at home on our computers and pay directly on line. So post offices are less and less used. Which explain why we have less and less of them.
Cawe, Germany
We had a small post office in the village so that it can survive some stationery was still sold there. It was small but sufficient. Now it was closed, the operator no longer wanted. We hope here that soon a new post office opens because in the village center is a village market, which is a hall with regional products, gifts, wine and hopefully a post office; built.
But right now I'm on a trip - I'm in Italy. Here the post office is open only in the morning. So I have to hurry very much tomorrow :D I have prepared some postcards for the World Postcard Day.
heloon, China
In Xiamen, China. We have a coffee post office , you can buy coffee and buy or send a postcard in that post office . You can go to the beach if you walk for a little while from the post office,and you can see the world’s nearest to the sea level’s bridge.But the normal post office in Xiamen , it’s only colored with dark green, but you can buy all kinds of postcard there!
hobbymail, United States of America
If you type "United States Postal Service, Matlacha, Florida" there are photos of its artist-painted exterior wall and the island life along this stretch of sand around the corner from the marina and the art studio where I paint. The clerk is a gifted photographer with postcards and prints of her work for sale. There are also Florida -themed small gifts for sale with all mailing services. The parking is along the mangrove edged water so I set the parking brake!
MamaLisainVA, United States of America
My little post office is the best around. All of the clerks are delightful and helpful. It is a singular office. The parking lot can be a challenge and one has to be mindful on entering and exiting.
marydewlee, United States of America
I live in a small town near Kansas City, Missouri. Most small towns around here still have a stand-alone post office. For 20 years I owned a home based rubber stamp manufacturing business and went to the PO each day to mail orders. Most of the clerks worked for many years and I got to know them well. The last of the long-term clerks is retiring this week and it makes me sad to think I may never see him again.
Corseuil, Brazil
The truth is that the postal service here(Rio de Janeiro Brasil)is unique, it has no competitors. In my neighborhood the agency closed and the only one left is tiny. I usually buy the stamps in advance through the online store as it is easy and practical to choose and fast delivery. To avoid lines, I prepare the postcards and once a week I deliver everything ready to the agency properly sealed, avoiding waiting in long lines.🇧🇷✈📮🌎😉
CraigC, United Kingdom
In the UK they are closing a lot of the traditional Post Offices and you may end up with a counter in a shop. This is frustrating as they don't all stock the commemorative stamps and I have to go into a Post Office in the city centre where I have an arrangement in that as a stamp collector they keep my stamps for me to collect on the date of issue. This is the only way I can get the special (or that is what the Royal Mail may call them) stamps to put on my postcards. On the other hand postcards are getting difficult to find or they are overpriced. Fortunately I have found a newsagent who has traced a supplier of postcards at a reasonable price.
postmuse, United States of America
I live in a tiny town with an amazing post office housed in a round building. Here’s a good picture, and I also work at that post office. We have 4 carriers, 2 full time and 2 part time. We also have 2 full time clerks and two part time, as well as a postmaster who does everything from sorting mail to delivering it. She is a superhero. So, we are well staffed for a tiny town but it hasn’t always been that way. Queues are still tediously long because 90% of the people who need to come to the counter are totally unprepared with the information they need to mail whatever it is they have, and that’s because the regulations and mailing services are very complicated. I struggle and I have been a USPS super user for many decades. We don’t sell postcards, but I want to change that, and I am writing a paper to send to the Postmaster General to explain why that would help revenue. I am also working on a display of mailart that will go in the lobby where I use “junk mail” to make postcards with the hope that it inspires others to do the same.
Riinka, Finland
My local post office is basically just a service counter attached to a supermarket. The customer service is friendly but I hardly ever go there for something other than buying international stamps. Usually I just drop my postcards into the nearest mailbox.
VanessaBettencourt, United States of America
Post offices in Uptown Chicago have very large mural paintings. They are amazing. The one in Irving Park is about the Chicago Fire.
andrelc, Brazil
Post offices in São Paulo Brazil are not like in the past, we were able to buy stamps and postcards, beautiful ones. But it's different now, only standards stamps, we must buy it online. I remember when the post office clerks save stamps for me and my brother, there was always something new.
Mosshumla, Sweden
As all post offices in Sweden closed about 15 years ago, I have to go to a gas station to send or receive parcels. The people working there are helpful and knowledgable and the opening hours are much longer than the tiny post office which I used to go to earlier, so for me it's okay. Nevertheless I miss the big post offices which existed earlier.
Even though the gas station also sells stamps, I usually buy stamps at the post museum's shop in central Stockholm They have a big range of stamps, even stamps from earlier years which no longer are sold at the post's onlineshop, so I'm very happy that I have the opportunity to visit the museum shop frequently.
Waldo, United Kingdom
I use three post offices. The small one nearest is full of stationery, is used by local businesses every day, but rarely has commemorative stamps. The second nearest has the latest collection from their letterbox, 7.00 pm. It has several windows and these are manned and womenned. The third is a few miles further away. At window Number 1 the man serves the commemorative stamps. I like the way he smiles when I call him Mister Numero Uno. What an interesting range of responses. Mosshumla answers my puzzling frown when stamps from previous years arrive on my Postcrossing mail. As a Postcrosser, every day is now felt to be World Postcard Day. Nonetheless, I expect to enjoy my trip to the postbox tomorrow.
doryfera, Canada
As is common here in Canada, my "post office" is actually a sub-post office, namely a little section in the back of my local pharmacy. The area itself is very prosaic and nondescript, but the pharmacy itself has lots of goodies, so it is always tempting to buy some treat on the way out :)
One problem is that, being a small post office, they rarely stock the "special" international stamps no; instead, they offer variety mainly in domestic stamps. Three domestic stamps = 1 international stamp, so that is an option; but most postcards aren't big enough to accommodate 3 of these special stamps. So it's a quandary! It's hard for me to get to the main post office these days, so I hope people who get my cards with "boring" international stamps are understanding about it.
mezzanine2, Canada
I have enjoyed reading all the descriptions of the different types of post offices and postal outlets from all around the world.

My preferred outlet is a short walk from home. Like others, my postal outlet is at the back of a pharmacy, but they are good for having the pre-stamped postcards from Canada Post that the international audience seems to appreciate.
Kayla221B, Canada
My post office, and my mailbox, are in the one general store in the closest town. "The Lucky Dollar" carries a little bit of everything and the family who own it are always happy to sell me stamps, although not much variety. It's a treat to go there! There are still a few actual Canada Post post offices within half hour drive - they have more stamp variety, but I find the staff not as friendly so I prefer going to my little shop instead :)
GayeDoreen, United States of America
I do have a post office very close by and the postmaster there is named Henry. He has been there since time began. 😂 But he knows EVERYTHING about anything. Unfortunately, he holds up the line while he tells his stories. I still love going there since I have plenty of time (I’m retired). And he always tells me when the new stamps will be released since he knows how much I love them.
Flippie, Canada
Hi, I'm lucky that I live in a capital city; Victoria. My post-office is located in one of old buildings in the city. Only thing is, it's open during the week but at the pharmacy also in the city how host also a little post-office is open in the weekends. There are many big shops like, London drugs, how sells stamps. Very handy! specially in a pandemic.
cpaige, Canada
I have a great post office where I know the 3 ladies that work there by name and vice versa. As a previous Canadian mentioned, its at the back of a pharmacy. They have all kinds of stamps available from 1 ct (not much use anymore) to the $10 gigantic whale stamp! They will put aside any recent issued stamps for me. They will hand cancel my post cards/personal mail if I want. I can also buy post cards there at great price or the fancy ones for the extra cost! I buy both! Usually there is a small lineup, but if no customers we'll chit chat! There is also another post office of the same idea about 2km away. I am also lucky as I get mail delivery to my house about 3 or 4 days a week! Newer sub divisions do not get home delivery. They have to pick up their mail at a mail box located usually at the end of the street!
ezredax, United States of America
Our city is small. Until a few weeks ago, there were only three postal workers. Today there are 23. Mail delivered to homes was done by a post office in another small city.

At my local post office I am quite spoiled. I still get to cancel my postcards with the date I am mailing them.

And on occasion I will get someone else's postcard. I return it to the desk and remind them that while I do get a lot of postcards, not all that arrive are mine. :)

The people are wonderful and helpful when I get a package they will carry it to my auto.

Enjoy the day!
GonePostal1840, United States of America
The post office where my PO Box is was built during the 1930's and is quite grand like all US post offices that were built before World War II. Heavy glass and metal writing desks that must weigh more than a car, with heavy metal slots to hold the various forms, for the public. The building itself is solid brick and marble with big high windows. The counter line is all marble with the old style bank teller windows with the frosted glass and bars. They even have the original counter signs in gilt letters, even for services that no longer exist like postal banking. Strangely, the signs were built in permanently during the original construction, so they could not remove them as has been done at other old offices. It might have been an even grander building in it's day because if you look carefully you can see bits of the original grand design that was ripped out in the name of "progress". Post offices built after the 1970's have gotten uglier and uglier ever since. The newest ones look like they were built out of cardboard!
betslets, United States of America
There are two large convenient post offices in our city of about 65,000; neither are fancy, however they have what we need. And, as from other of these blog responses, the parking situation is just as adventurous (must be a post office requirement these days?)
Most of the wonderful employees have been there for years, so they are like family to the patrons and remember us by name.
When I visit the post office, primarily to check out new stamps, I am often accompanied by my Autistic son, whom the employees have also gotten to know. They learned early on that he likes to be "stamped", so as we approach the counter, whomever is there has already prepared to inkpad-stamp his hands in bright red with "SPOILED" which makes his day complete.
cartenoire, United Kingdom
I feel that I am lucky living in rural Lancashire. In my small village we have a convenience shop that has a post office counter mornings only. I know the post mistress by name.
Alternatively about 3 miles away in a small town we have a dedicated post office open 6 days per week where I can pick up British commemorative stamps and greetings cards, stationery items and get out cash from my bank account at the counter. However to there loss they do not sell postcards. In smaller villages across Lancashire the Post offices have closed down over the years, which is a pity.
In larger cities in Lancashire post office counters are situated in branches of WH Smiths, book store / stationery/ games and some toys. I absolutely hate having to use these so avoid them if I can…..
wifetoalineman, United States of America
My post office is not so big. There are two registers. The cashier knows that I send postcards and love to play with my stamps. The lines can gets so busy sometime.
LaternaMagica, Spain
There are two post offices I visit regularly: One is the main post office of my town, and I go there because it's the only one that sells collection stamps. I try to go there as little as possible because the lady in charge of the stamps always treats me as if I am the most annoying customer in the world. She never offers me to look through the book of stamps or anything and wants to dispatch me as quickly as possible, even though nobody ever goes to her window! The building itself looks really impressive from the outside, because they used a modern "mudejar" style to make it, and there are two big lion mouths were you can throw your letters in.
In the other post office, that is wayyy smaller, all the workers are suuuper nice (and sometimes give me compliments for my decorated parcels!).
IngeZ, Netherlands
Years ago, Apeldoorn, my hometown in the Netherlands, still had a real post office. In the characteristic architectural style of Cornelis Hendrik Peters, who designed a considerable number of post offices. With a black-and-white tiled floor, a very high ceiling with those big spherical lamps on long cables, and a whole row of counters. Now there is a restaurant in it, I think. I do my postal business online, envelopes and the like can be bought at the stationery shop or something. The postcards I used to buy at the post office - those cheap photo cards with "Greetings from Apeldoorn" on them - they are nowhere to be found now, it seems. In the real tourist cities they are still sold, in the souvenir shops. "Greetings from Amsterdam". Apeldoorn, to my knowledge, does not have a souvenir shop anymore either. The tourist office also no longer exists, there is now a small information desk in a local museum. At the nearby shopping mall, there is a small post office in a tobacconist's annex book & magazine shop annex stationer's. They have a word for it: sector blurring. But if you specifically ask for it, they do conjure up the very nice stamps for collectors. And if I am not imagining it, I can even see the shop assistant's smile widening a little when I ask him what special stamps are available. He must be happy with people who still appreciate "real" mail. It makes me a little melancholic. Don't get me wrong; I like to move with the times. I love the Internet, e-mail is a wonderful invention. But there are some things I would have liked to keep. As a pleasant extra alongside all the modern conveniences, that is.
Nagissimo, Germany
My local post office has a stamps automat (Briefmarkenautomat) outside so you don't have to stand in line in the inside and wait with others, also no need to contact people, just press price buttons and give coins. Only four desingns though and you never know which one you'll get. They're pretty though! Love this idea.

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