Consumerism Ranting

The queue

Man I hate it when I’m looking for a big piece of coloured card for one of Isaac’s projects, and I dash into the newsagent that merged with the post office, look around, and they don’t have any. Then further down the road I dash into the post office that merged with the newsagent, and they have plenty, $1 a pop, I’ll take two thanks, and oh damn there’s only one queue, and one guy serving.

I’m in a hurry but I need these now, so I’ll queue. Behind the couple who are paying numerous bills (WE HAVE B-PAY AND THE FREAKING INTERNET FOR THAT, YOU KNOW) and querying why the guy didn’t rip off the bottom bit off the bills (No, he says, we don’t rip off the bottom bits) and buying a magazine (No wait, is it this magazine? Or did I already buy this issue? Hold on now, I’m not sure) and buying stamps (how many do we need? Okay here’s some for overseas. Cards only. Oh, we have to write “Card only” to get the cheap rate? Okay. Now local ones, how many? 1… 2… 3… 4… JUST BUY A FREAKING 10 PACK!!!) and fumbling with their change (WHY DIDN’T I BRING $2 CHANGE, THEN I COULD LOB IT OVER THE COUNTER AND RUN FOR IT) and multiple receipts and making small-talk with the guy behind the counter (I’M ALL FOR A CONVIVIAL RETAIL ATMOSPHERE, BUT I’M IN A HURRY AND THE QUEUE BEHIND ME’S GETTING LONGER) and querying again why the guy didn’t rip the bottom bit off the bill.

Ten minutes queuing, then all of ten seconds for my transaction. And I beat them out the door, too.

Bet they’re the same people who walk slowly down the middle of the pavement, blocking both sides.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

11 replies on “The queue”

I hate it when people walk slowly down the middle of the pavement, blocking both sides. It makes you wish the Spanish “run of the bulls” woul dhappen and just wipe them out!

You should try banks. Yesterday I wanted to order a deposit book. First I tried to order it online, but you could only RE-order a deposit book – WTF???? Next I rang them – same story, turns out you need to go to a branch to order the first deposit book for an account – after that you can order subsequent books online or over the phone. Far the best decade, banks have been determinedly shooing customers out of their branches, so why should I have go into a branch to order a freaking deposit book????

Anyway, it seems the consequence of banks dragging their customers kicking and screaming over to online and ATM banking is that the only customers you get in branches these days are ones with complicated transactions to process. Even with 4 tellers open I had to wait 15 minutes to get 30 seconds worth of service. harrumph!

Retirement is quite a way away for me, and much further for Daniel, but it will be nice to be able to go to the post office and not stress about how long it takes. Oddly, I had to pay for the first time for a couple years, a bill at the post office. I can pay all bills through my bank with bpay. But not my internet bill. I either inccur a credit card charge for paying online or over the phone or pay it in person at the post office. While I usually pay it via Telstra’s website online, no more with the card charge, and it somewhat amuses me that all bills are so easy to pay online, except for the internet bill. (Bpay in December they say)

After all that, you must have been having a bad day, and hope you’re feeling better ; )

Blaming customers for slowing you up is like blaming other passengers because you can’t get a seat in a tram!

Post offices do much more than they did 15 years ago (think of all the plastic kitsch they sell now), but with the same or reduced number of staff. There have also been closures (eg East Caulfield near Monash Uni). Together with the AP-owned outlets clinging to outdated working hours (eg closing at 5pm and refusing to open Saturdays, with rare exceptions) this is a recipe for customer frustration that AP seem quite oblivious to.

As for 10-pack stamps, I feel a wee guilty for all the packaging and the backing compared to when stamps were things for licking and sold unpackaged.

Oi… I feel more sorry for the poor guy behind the counter who had to deal with them and then agro from the rest of the clients (yourself being the exception, Daniel).

lots of oldies where I live in the Chelsea area! Some of them like to read their pension statements whilst standing in the supermarket turnstile. Moving at a speed slower than continental drift. Turning every coin over 3 times before parting with it when paying something. I could go on….

Take a deep breath…
You are suffering from what is known as LTT (Low Tolerance Threshold)

What was the worst thing that happened to you? You had to wait.

Those who think I got too stressed, please keep in mind

– everyone occasionally gets into the situation where they are in a hurry and stuck behind slow people. That was my turn for the week.

– don’t assume you can judge someone’s reaction (and therefore what they are like in real life) based on an account of 10 minutes of their life (a tiny fraction of that day) that has been exaggerated for comic effect.

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