A potential problem with availability of the new Christmas stamps has been averted through swift action by senior post office officials in dealing with staff who had refused to order the stamps.
Postmaster General Sheena Glasgow told the Caymanian Compass that such staff reluctance “was not acceptable and was not being tolerated.” She called it an internal matter that has been corrected. “Counter staff are now ordering and selling the Christmas stamps,” she confirmed this week.
The stamps, in denominations of 25 cents, 75 cents, 80 cents and $1, feature paintings by the late Gladwyn Bush, Cayman’s intuitive artist known affectionately as Miss Lassie.
The refusal by some staff to order the stamps came to light last week. Deputy Postmaster Petrona Gordon addressed the matter in an e-mail to district managers, customer service officers, counter supervisors and accounts officers. According to history, she indicated, the reluctance to order the Christmas stamps was because there are only 16 stamps per sheet.
“History has shown that whenever a stamp issue has less than fifty (50) stamps per sheet, district managers, CSOs and counter supervisors shy away from ordering them. Consequently, a large number of these stamps are destroyed. This means that Postal [Services] is literally throwing away money,” Ms Gordon wrote.
She directed that all concerned parties request the stamps so they could be available to customers. “Effective immediately, all stamp requisitions must be requesting Christmas stamps until we are out of stock,” Ms Gordon wrote. She concluded by thanking everyone for their cooperation.
Ms Glasgow said Ms Gordon had done what was expected of her — reminding and instructing staff about their role.
She emphasised that any reluctance by staff to handle the stamps was because the sheets of stamps “differed in number from what they are accustomed to ordering”. She also pointed out that some customers were very specific about what stamps they purchased: “If the image on a particular stamp is not to their personal liking, customers have been known to refuse to purchase that stamp and ask for something else,” Ms Glasgow reported. She pointed out how impossible it is for any postal administration to project the exact number of sales and have that exact number of stamps printed. The philatelic industry has general guidelines as to how long stamp issues should be on sale at post office counters. The Cayman Islands Postal Service uses a time frame of 18 months for each commemorative issue and five years for each definitive issue. When commemorative stamps are withdrawn from counter sales, they are sold as philatelic stock. For the 2012 Christmas issue, the 25-cent stamp shows Miss Lassie’s portrait of the Infant Jesus and his Mother Mary with vivid red, blue and gold colours. The 75-cent stamp depicts Jesus in a bed of hay watched over by Mary and two angels. The 80-cent stamp shows Jesus in His royal regalia with Miss Lassie’s distinctive angels against a background of sea and sky. The $1 stamp is a Nativity Scene, with Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the Three Wise Men.