Letter: Delayed mail in a brown envelope

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Sir: I send a lot of mail and receive a lot. I have observed over many years that the Post Office conspicuously fails to deliver first-class mail the next day for reasons outside those normally associated with great distance.

One of these is any item larger than the normal standard letter sizes. It does not matter how much one indicates it is paid at first-class rates, there is a built-in mentality about large envelopes, especially brown envelopes, that triggers in a sorting office clerk's mind the words "second class". Thus again today, three days after the stamps were postmarked, I have received a large first-class paid envelope from Birmingham, a mere 45 miles away.

After many attempts, I have determined it is impossible for mail to flow overnight between East Dereham in Norfolk and Banbury, and first-class costs are therefore a donation to the Post Office. I once believed it was only the Oxford sorting office that had these perverse habits. Would privatisation amend such monopolistic insensitivity?

MERVYN BENFORD

Shutford, Oxfordshire

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