I need to post a letter containing some samples of writing work. I am about to stick a 1st class stamp on the envelope when I have the nagging feeling that it might weigh more than the 60g maximum. It would obviously create a bad impression to my prospective future employer if his first contact with me were to be paying my excess postage, so the kitchen scales come out. But they only measure in 50g intervals. The letter appears to weigh somewhere between 50 and 100g, perhaps nearer 50, but I don’t trust them as nothing I’ve cooked has ever come out right when it involves weighing.

I could, of course, just do what most people would do in this situation and stick another stamp on it to make sure. Do that “weighing it in the palm of your hand whilst looking thoughtful” gesture then say “another one should do it”. But stop and think how much extra revenue the Royal Mail makes from such foolish actions.

Closing post offices is a double bonus for them – not only do they save money on premises and staff, but more people can’t be bothered to walk further and get things weighed properly, so say “I’ll stick another stamp on to make sure”. Well, they’re not going to get an extra penny out of me I tell myself as I set off on the 20 minute hike to my nearest post office since they closed my local one.

Of course, when I get there the queue is enormous as they’ve closed all the surrounding post offices. Though this does give me plenty of time to think.

Even if I bought some more accurate scales (I know – why should I? But let’s run with the idea), my problem wouldn’t be solved as after I had weighed my letter on my super-duper accurate scales I would still need to walk to the post office to buy the correct stamps.

But maybe I could just buy sheets and sheets of 1p stamps – I could thus weigh my letter at home (again, at my expense) then use the correct number of 1p stamps to make up any value of postage. The downside here of course is the original “looking bad to prospective future employers” argument that got me here in the first place. Plus a concern about my ability to produce enough saliva.

“Cashier number three please.”

I put my envelope on the scales. It weighs 59g. Which means that I’ve wasted the best part of an hour. And that I’m a crap cook.

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