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TOPIC: The Society Packet

The Society Packet 7 years 8 months ago #16

  • jcwest
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I would welcome any suggestions from members who receive our packets, on ways in which - they believe - we can improve our service to the members.
Should we, the packet secretaries, rigidly enforce a dictum which decrees that the last person to handle a booklet with an unsigned space in it, is held responsible for paying for the missing item?
Do you think that we should enshrine a directive, that requires the sender to contact the intended recipient before posting it forwards, in the club rules? Too many people continue to ignore this practical advice.
Do you agree with the current rules which require vendors to be Society members or would you be content for that directive to be relaxed? It should be noted that, whilst such a course of action MIGHT attract more and different material, this might provide somewhat of a headache for the Society in dealing with insurance claims related to non-members material.
How often should a member be allowed to fail to comply with Society directions before being suspended? If a suspension is to be allocated what periods of time are deemed a suitable punishment? Does anyone feel that clearer directives should be given in respect of any aspect of handling our packet, if so which particular area is the cause for misunderstanding / concern?
Your comments on these topics will be most welcome.
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The Society Packet 7 years 8 months ago #17

  • cjhitchen
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The packet is intended for and is a benefit of membership. Only very exceptionally should material be accepted from non members We are not a trading organisation and this could affect our standing as a non profit making society primarily intended for the study and development of French philately in its broadest sense.
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The Society Packet 7 years 4 months ago #20

I'm idly browsing having just 'signed up'.
So:
1/ thank you John! not just for the post but for all you do.
2/ packets:
Answers - these are personal and are not necessarily my opinion of what might be best for the packets circles.
a/ I joined FCPS mainly to buy from packets. If I could submit them without joining I might do so [depending on conditions]. If non-members had to pay a premium might that be a part solution? That said the membership fee is not huge.
b/ In any organisation 'rules are rules'. HOWEVER rule-bound clubs usually throttle themselves.
c/ If "failure to 'phone contact" is causing real problems, be strict, if not see b/ above
d/ non-members - see a/ above
e/ failing members: really has to be discretion of the Secretary & see b/ above
f/ directives. What we have to do is quite complex [just count up the actions!] BUT each is necessary I think.

Thoughts - I EMPHASISE that these are personal and I accept they might be either impracticable or not best for the packets circles.
g/ Some books come through far less than half full
h/ I don't collect i] other than Africa ii] on-piece [pcs etc] iii] mint [much]. It follows that most of what I receive is not relevant. However I accept that creating narrower categories may be impracticable: but less frequent, more accurately targeted packets just might attract more of a following?
i/ Should vendors be restricted to a maximum weight per packet?
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The Society Packet 7 years 4 months ago #21

  • jcwest
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You make two or three valid points and I am aware of them.
Notably, some books will be less than half full when they are received.
This is always a dilemma for the packet secretary. Vendors pay insurance for their material to be circulated around all the members who receive the packet. At the end of the day I have to make a decision concerning what book has sufficient residual material to justify it going out on another circuit. As you know I have four separate circuits and with plenty of material awaiting circulation I can be ( and am ) quite draconian about what I withdraw and when. Of course, there is always the thought in the back of my mind that there just might be something in the residual material that someone on the next circuit has been looking for for years! So, basically, I now look at each book individually when it is returned and if too many pages are bare it is returned. Generally speaking, if the value is low then that is also returned - that will depend on what the initial value was, of course. Finally, on this point, if someone has 'feasted' on the book during the same circuit as you then that is obviously out of my hands.
You refer to vendors being restricted by weight limit. I can see where you are coming from but, in the end, I think that responsibility falls on my shoulders to maintain a balance of material in each packet AND try to keep the weight below the weight limit which enables us to post it at £2.20. 90% of my packets now achieve that aim. A large number of people do collect and purchase covers so I am reluctant to close that avenue to them.
I also agree with you that the directives are lengthy and tiresome but, regrettably, nearly every one has been introduced following a failure by somebody which has ended in a loss to the Society. My experience suggests that every one of those rules ought to be adhered to to minimise the risk of problems arising, a view that I note you concur with.
In conclusion you refer to the possibility of identifying the right member to target books which meet his collecting interests. In an ideal world this would be a perfect solution to the packet system. However, it really is impracticable to expect the packet secretary to maintain an up to date list of collecting interests of everyone on the circulation list and then find time to scrutinise every book to see if that area of collecting is catered for. It is extraordinarily time consuming to ensure that each book has not previously circulated on that section, to ensure that the combined value does not exceed £750 ( the limit of insured value under our insurance policy ) and that the weight limit is not exceeded. Unless someone has a mountain of time on their hands I have to advise that the idea is not viable for me.
The aspect of non-members offering material was a little bit of a hot potato because obviously the society would want everyone to be a member who is offering material for sale. One school of thought held that it was in all the members interests to be able to view and purchase material offered by anyone irrespective of whether they were members or not. However, the situation was resolved by the one person who wished to sell material agreeing to join the society.
Hopefully, this addresses the majority of points raised by our last contributor. They are valid and of interest to all our members who may well be thinking along much the same lines. In conclusion, I cannot emphasise too highly the fact that our set of guidelines - rules, if you wish to call them that - have been drawn up from the benefit of many years of experience offered not just by myself but by several predecessors. They are all, basically, common sense and designed to offer a reasonable measure of protection to property, entrusted to ourselves by others, whilst we handle it.
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The Society Packet 7 years 4 months ago #22

  • hfisher
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I'm not a member of the 'Colonies' packet circles but am of the 'France' circuit.
I wonder why the initial message was posted; was it to provoke a discussion on the new Forum section of the web site or because of a perceived issue which might need addressing. I don't say this in any critical way, both approaches are interesting and valid.
I didn't join F&C for the packets but they are a valuable additional service to members and the time spent by the circuit organisers is very much appreciated by me and, I know, many others. I can see that the packets are an incentive for people to join the Society and that incentive would disappear if non-members were allowed to participate.I regard the rules as common sense and made to ensure as smooth an operation as possible. I fully support any action the organisers feel they need to take to ensure the efficiency of the operation. Both organisers spend a great deal of their personal time for the benefit of the packet circuit members and should be fully supported in every way.
I don't think members collecting interests could be targeted, from my experience, my interests have changed and it would be an impossible task for an organiser to take account of every member's specific interests.
My view is that the packet circuits are working well and there is, therefore, no reason to seek changes.
Incidentally, this Forum is an excellent addition to the services F&C offers to members and, I hope, will increase in usage as time passes. Our Society is excellently run by the volunteers of the committee and provides very much appreciated and valuable services for its members. Long may it be so.
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The Society Packet 7 years 4 months ago #23

  • jcwest
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Just to respond to Howard Fisher's comments concerning the reasons for opening this dialogue and I confess that there is a good deal of truth in both of the reasons that he mentions. Having been asked to view the website it seemed quite a good idea to provide a subject for people to discuss when they, too, visited this excellent supplement to the Society resources. Yet, the object of the exercise was also to determine what the views of members were. It is amazing how complacent you can become when you have been doing something for a while and others have ideas which are both glaringly obvious and beneficial to everyone but you can't see the wood for the trees. So, in truth, it was also an appeal for our members to add useful comments and / or ideas for improving the service we offer as much as it was an attempt to provoke members into using the site. Neither Bob Wood nor I would insist that our system is perfect although time and experience has ensured that we have refined the "Packet" organisation as best we can to ensure that we maximise the pleasure given to our members. At the same time, this has proved to be a major source of financial income for the Society in recent years and, hopefully, will continue so to do.
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