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Tell Us You Only Care About Yourself Without Saying It

, , , | Right | August 4, 2022

It’s just after midday on Friday, and I am in the post office to send off a parcel for work. The post office is very short on staff; there’s only one person on duty. As a result of the staff shortage, the post office is closing early. It’s located inside another shop, and an employee of that shop places a barrier across and puts up signs saying the post office is closed.

There are perhaps half a dozen people still in the queue, and the post office worker is going to serve us and then go home — late.

There is another post office in town, but it’s at the bus station about ten minutes’ walk away.

A number of people come to the post office, see the barrier and the signs, and then go off, some sighing in frustration, others muttering to themselves. But one man looks at the signs and the barrier and then moves the barrier, climbs in front, and smirks to himself. He’s a fit, healthy young man, well able to go to the bus station. I give him a harsh look from four people away, but he just smirks. He thinks he’s got into the queue.

A few minutes later, the employee who put up the barrier comes back. The man is still smirking to himself when the employee speaks to him.

Employee: “Excuse me. The post office is closed. That man in front of you was the last man in the queue when the barrier was closed. You need to go to the bus station; they’ll serve you there.”

Man: “But there’s a queue here.”

Employee: “Yes. These people were here before the counter closed. Once they’ve been served, that’s it. You won’t be served.”

Man: “But there’s a queue.”

Employee: “Yes, and all the people in the queue were here before the counter closed. You won’t be served. You need to go to the bus station.”

Man: “But there’s a queue here.”

Employee: “And you’re not in it. Go to the bus station.”

Defeated and no longer smirking the man left — hopefully, to go to the bus station.

I know it’s frustrating, but the poor counter clerk had clearly been there since about eight in the morning and looked quite exhausted when she served me. If there’s a barrier and the counter is closing, you can’t join the queue.

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