For one reason and another, I have had to get my hands on some UK stamps this week. Now, I suppose I could have just asked a friend to buy a few and send them over but in today's world of long tails and 24 hour home shopping I decided it must be not only possible but easy to order these over the internet.
One option I had was to forget the stamps and get something called an International Reply Coupon but these seem to be about as rare as a Penny Black and furthermore, you have to go through Deutsche Post, who are not my best friends (see Return to Sender).
So I had a look at the Royal Mail shop. There weren't any 56p stamps for sale, so I thought I'd order a sheet of 10p ones. After giving Royal Mail my full details a few times over, probably including my shoe size and passport number, I sat back and waited for my stamps to arrive. What did arrive was an email, informing me that, despite having every country in the world as an option on the various forms, this service was only for UK customers.
Luckily, there was a number to ring. That of "philatelic enquiries". I gave it a go and spoke to an extremely helpful man with a wonderful Scottish accent. He was a little disappointed that I only wanted common-or-garden 56p stamps, but he didn't let that deter him. He responded to my enquiry with the same interest and genuine "customer-orientation" as if I'd ordered a bulk lot of the rarest First Day Covers.
If only all Customer Call Centres could be like this!