Head Office was a daunting place when you were a lowly Postal Officer. Everyone was an Executive Grade C, B, A, or even higher. Then there were the real superstars..the SB’s. Salary Bands!
Once you’d progressed through the entire ranks of PEC, PEB and PEA, you went on to a “Salary Band” these were a mystery to most people. You never knew what these people earned but you knew it was a SERIOUS amount of money. They were either dedicated career people who had spent their entire working life for the Post office ( 40 years or more) or super intelligent people who had been head hunted by the Post Office for a specific function.
Mark Brown met me at reception. He was an attractive looking man in his early fifties. Very smartly dressed with well groomed silver hair. He looked every part an Executive.
“Hello mate. Sorry about the arm. Heard some good things about you. Let me introduce you to some people.”
For the next thirty minutes Mark went round the office taking his time to introduce me to all the senior important people.
“This is Joe, he works on the Counter at Romford. Busted his arm but still wants to work, so he’s been assigned to me.”
Everyone said hello and welcomed me to Head Office. This was going well.
After the introductions he took me to his office.
“You’ve come at a really good time Joe. Got a lot of leg work to do so I’m really grateful for your input.”
From under his desk he pulled out two zip up satchels. One red and one green.
“Over the next few weeks, you and me have to give these out to every business customer in our area. All they have to do is put all their first class mail in the Red Satchel and their second class in the Green one. Simple.”
I nodded. It looked easy.
“Okay. That seems straight forward. When do we start?”
“Tomorrow. Let me have your address and I’ll pick you up at 8.30am. We’ll start on the outskirts of town and gradually work our way in. I’ve got a list of all business addresses that have a Franking Machine and post mail every day. We should be able to do 50 per day, that’s twenty five each, roughly twelve in the morning and twelve in the afternoon. That’s a 1000 in a month. Two months and we’ve cracked it!”
I was about to leave when two very smartly dressed men walked into the office. John stood up as though these guys were very important. I thought it best to stand up as well.
“Sorry to interrupt John but I understand you’ll be delivering the satchels in the area?”
John shook both their hands.
“Yep. Me and Joe, we start in the morning.”
John pointed at me when he mentioned my name.
Now both men were looking at me and smiling. They were both in their thirties, immaculately dressed. Sharp suits, silk ties, highly polished shoes. One of them spoke.
“What happened to your arm Joe?”
I explained about falling over a wall outside a pub. They both found it amusing. They pulled up a couple of chairs and we all sat down. The same guy spoke again.
“Look we’d like you to do us a favour. You’ll be visiting every business address in the area over the next couple of months. That’s a great opportunity for us to get to know what’s going on. A lot of our Parcel business is being poached by a new company that’s just come into the UK. A firm called TNT. They’re offering silly rates and all kind of promises on delivery times. We need to know who’s using them so we can send our Reps in to try to get the business back. So while you’re out there see if you can find out whose using them and let us know. We’d really appreciate it.”
John and I agreed and the two guys stood up and left. Once they were out of the office I couldn’t help but ask John a question.
“Who were those guys?”
“Those guys were from London. They’re heading up the new Sales Force. Both PEA’s.”
I was stunned. These two guys were the highest ranking Executives and yet were only in their thirties. Again I had to ask the question.
“But how? How have they got to PEA so quickly? That would usually take fifteen or twenty years at least!”
“Two reasons. They’re in London and they’re in Sales. The usual rules do not apply to those guys.”
That was it. I was hooked. That’s what I wanted. My mission was now to work for the new Sales Team and I had a plan on how to get there.
The next morning John picked me up at 8.30 and we were out delivering the satchels at 9.00am. I’d put on my only suit, with white shirt and blue tie. Even with one arm it was easy. I just walked into an office and said I was from the Post office and could I speak to the person in charge of their mail. For some it was just the girl on reception, other larger businesses it was a full post room with a number of staff. I spoke about how important it was for the mail to be segregated and gave them two of each colour. At the end of the conversation I would casually ask the question.
“Oh, by the way, do you ever use TNT?”
If they said no, that was it, I just left. But if they said yes, I’d ask a few more questions.
“Are they any good? I hear their rates are cheap?”
I’d try to get as much information as possible, then when I was outside I’d write it all down beside the name of the company.
John and I had a great time delivering the satchels. We stopped for lunch every day at a pub and had a pint or two and we always finished around 4.00pm. At the end of the first week I had a folder full of information for the Sales guys. I gave it to John.
“Bloody hell mate. This’ll be gold dust for the Sales Team. You after a job?”
He laughed when he said it but then realised that I was serious.
“You are, aren’t you? I tell you what, you’d make a great Sales Rep. Leave it to me. I’ll start the ball rolling.”
True to his word John did his bit. He sent all the information off to the Sales Team in London with a glowing report about me. Two weeks later I got what I was waiting for. I met John in his office and he closed the door.
“Great news. Those Sales guys are coming in here tomorrow. They want to thank you personally for all the information you’ve given them about TNT. Think of it as a bit of a job interview.”
Twenty four hours later I was in Johns office dressed in my only suit and with my shoes polished to the highest standard.