Trying to stamp out long queues
We would like to apologise to Samuel Wong ('Long wait in slow stamp queue,' South China Morning Post, February 17).
He commented on the long waiting time at Sheung Wan Post Office on the day of issue of the 1997 definitive stamps.
We anticipated that there would be great demand for this issue, and had therefore timed it for a Sunday and opened all 125 post offices that day. This ensured that normal weekday business was not disrupted.
In addition to other general measures, such as local order services, we also issued specially-designed sheetlets of 13 low-denomination and three high-denomination stamps.
These enabled us to sell complete sets of the new stamps at the counter, without having to tear one off each of the 16 different sheets. Despite these arrangements we found that the queues moved very slowly, largely because many of our customers had time-consuming requirements.
Therefore, during the day, we deployed 200 staff from our sorting centres to reinforce the counters. We agree with Mr Wong that, despite our best efforts, the queues still moved very slowly.
We will therefore consider what other measures we might take to meet demand for new definitive issues in future, including encouraging collectors to buy the new stamps, which are normally available for about five years, over a longer period of time.
K M WONG for Postmaster General