The PO Box renewal
You’d think renewing a PO Box that you’ve held for several years would be easy, wouldn’t you? Given that my mail box is screwed onto the side of my house and I have deliveries and collections three times a week, a good way to do it might be for the Post Office to send a letter to me; I could tick “renew”, enclose the fee and pop it back in the mail box for the postie to collect.
Or, failing that, I could pay online, with a credit card?
Anyway, the back of the renewal form said you had to go to the Post Office with the form filled out (name, address, phone, mobile, email, work email, company name, company website, passport number, passport expiry, visa number, visa expiry, National ID number, National ID expiry) and the supporting documents – tenancy contract, or first page of sales agreement – as proof of address.
Remember, this is a renewal. And the box is screwed onto my house – they know where I live. They know it’s my house because they took all the paperwork last year. And they know I haven’t moved because they visit three times a week to deliver the mail.
So, I gathered everything all together and re-routed the school run to go via the mysterious Al Quoz Post Office as I now know where that is. I got there; I waited for the counter clerk to come back from lunch. I waited for three people ahead of me to do their business – and then I realised that I didn’t have enough cash on me.
“Do you take card payments?”
“Is there a cash machine near here?”
Okay, so I couldn’t blame anyone but myself for this. I decided to consider it a dry run, and I went home (road was closed – long detour).
That night, I may have ranted a little to DH about what a bloody waste of time the whole thing was.
“Why don’t you pay online?” he said. “You always used to be able to?”
So the next day I located the PO website and tried to log in. I had to re-request a password set up by DH in about 1989, and they emailed it to him. I asked DH to forward it to me. I logged in. Success! I clicked “renew existing PO Box”. I chose to pay online. I paid! Hurrah!
Five minutes later, DH forwarded me the emailed payment receipt. After the bit where it said “thank you for your payment”, it said, and I quote directly: “Please submit the following documents at any of our post offices: 2 Passport photo, Passport copy and residence visa page for non UAE national and copy of National ID card.”
As the saying goes: You couldn’t make it up.