Her post office ran out of second class stamps a few days ago and they can’t get anymore. All second class, both Christmas and Machin. They have no counter sheets or books and they resorted to cutting up the Business sheets. It’s probably been like this for a week. All local shops including a very big Tescos have none either. Comment was overheard – “We have had our allocation”.Now it may be that PO Supplies at Swindon are not making any more deliveries - although there is still a week to go, and stamps will be needed after Christmas, so holding back makes little sense. There were printings early in the year and again in July and October. Will the next one be in 2017 with a new year code? And will branches with SSKs run out of 2nd class Machin and Hibernating Animals stock and use 1st class rolls in the 2nd class position instead?
UPDATE 18 December:
A sub-postmaster locally told me that he too is cutting up business sheets in the absence of counter sheets of either Machin or Christmas stamps, and the booklet rack is empty. Judging by the MBIL-coded stamps received on Christmas cards (from people who I would expect to use booklets) the problem seems to be widespread.
Keep your eyes open - your mail is not just Christmas Cards, it is the stamp on the outside too!
UPDATE 11 January
We've had no news on further shortages - all areas have new supplies by now, but early-December printings of both 1st and 1st Large counter sheets have now appeared. It really does seem likely that 2017 printings will appear ere long.