A Surrey post office has been criticised for its ‘draconian behaviour’ after having an elderly customer clamped and removed for spending too much time chatting to a post office worker as she drew her pension.
Eye witness Peter Miller was in the long queue behind 75 year old Muriel Baker when the clampers moved into action. ‘The old dear at the front of the queue had been deep in conversation at the counter for some time when a loud buzzer sounded. Suddenly two men in grubby overalls stormed in and attached a clamp to her waking frame. Then they lifted her onto a trolley and wheeled her out of the building.’
‘It was pitiful really,’ continued Mr Miller. ‘As she was wheeled out she cried out ‘Don’t take me away. I'm only half way through telling you about my hip operation and I’ve not even started on my granddaughter’s GCSE exam results yet.’’
A spokesman for Banstead District Post Office said, ‘After a lot of abuse, we have been forced to adopt a fair usage policy in our post offices. To support our efficiency drive, counter staff are instructed to sound the alarm if persistent offenders spend too long in their transaction. Notices are available to members of the public upon completion of Form KJF094a so there is no excuse; but despite this some people still continue to take liberties. I have to say we have had our eye on Mrs Baker, or ‘Grand Ma Baker’ as we know her, for some considerable time.’
Mrs Baker’s daughter, Julie, said her mother was still traumatised by her experience. ‘Mum’s Friday visit to the Post Office was the highlight of her week. She used to look forward to a nice chat with the lovely girl behind the counter, now her trust has been shattered. I’ll never forget the heartbroken look on her face when we arrived at the pound to collect her. Or the £350 release fee.’