Now I really must mention my first parcel experience at the French post. Anticipate ridiculousness.
So, I have a smallish packet of caramels to send. All they can propose for me is a box at 16 euros (which puts it at roughly three times the price of the actual gift).
'Or you can wrap it yourself for a smaller price'
'You don't have any padded bags for sale? Any smaller boxes'
'No, all we have is this box' (a 2kg box, for my 300g package)
So I go to the newsagent, give THEM my money, and return to the post office, all the while thinking about the enormous difference in merchandise available at an Australian post office as compared to a French one. In Australia, any object you could want to send - cd's, posters, books, bottles, illicit drugs - in the post has a corresponding package, and they come in a bunch of shapes and sizes and choice of speediness. It just surprises me to see the postal service not capitalising on something that could make them a profit. It makes no difference to me, I now know to prepack my parcels before going to the post office. But whack on a la poste logo and a few centimes profit on a bunch of different sized boxes and padded envelopes, and people are likely to do more of their wrapping and packing on site. Aaaand maybe then they could put those profits towards employing enough people to transform your post office travel experience into something that doesn't require a full range of camping equipment.