Royal Mail, and the snapping of one’s mind

Sometimes I despair. So much so that it becomes funny. For example, today at the post office. I got there at 3.15pm, so frankly I had it coming, but still. There is a bloke – floppy hair, skinny jeans, mobile glued to ear – and he has with him a garbage bag of mail. A garbage bag. Meanwhile, there are probably twenty people in the queue, all waiting fairly patiently as half of the staff count coins and do whatever admin they need to do. Oh, apart from one man who yelled at the staff to PLEASE CAN YOU SERVE SOMEONE!! (which they ignored.)

The queue is now at the door, and a child is wailing. It’s boiling hot. Old skinny jeans is slowly bringing more and more mail from his garbage back, all weighed separately, and writing something carefully on each letter before handing it over. The yelling man is now being served, and demanding that he be given the name and job title of various staff members to lodge a series of complaints about the service. 

And then finally, after 25 minutes of about eighty pairs of eyes boring into it, the garbage bag is empty. Skinny jeans pulls out his debit card to pay. But the pin number doesn’t work. So he tries again. And then he phones a friend. And then tries one last time. Phones the friend again. The tension is palpable. We’ve all lost twenty minutes of our lives watching him with his garbage bag and now he can’t even pay…. it lacks closure. It’s… frustrating.

Anyway, he leaves. Now the woman who serves him is writing something on each and every envelope (unpaid?… what…. what does she need to write on every fecking envelope???) and then she serves me. I throw my bag onto the scales and say ‘First class please!’. 

‘You know there’s a postal strike on?’ she asks me in a grim sort of way. 

‘What does that mean for this parcel?’ I ask. 

‘Well, there’s no way of knowing when it will get there.’ 

‘Well, the strike is on all over the country, isn’t it. We’re all in the same boat. So I’m sure she’ll understand.’

‘Yes. Of course she will.’ We smile and nod at each other. 

Blitz spirit evoked, both parties happy, I leave.


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