"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Life at a leisurely pace

So, yesterday afternoon, we came back home from our pleasant weekend in Barmouth, where we had enjoyed our first outing of the year in our caravan.

Continuing with the theme of life at a leisurely pace, although this time, imposed rather than chosen, was my visit this morning to the post office. Not the local one - no, the powers that be decided to close that one, and not the next nearest, run by The Grumpy Man, but one in a nearby village which I have only popped into once or twice. Today's visit, however, was ... well, not a fleeting one anyway.
As I walked in, I noticed that there was a lengthy queue of  people ahead of me, which, on a Monday morning was probably not unusual but there was one lady serving and a man 'faffing about' behind the scenes doing, I know not what, but definitely not showing any awareness of the fact that the place was filled with humankind. After several minutes, the realisation did dawn and he too began to serve. Slowly we shuffled forward and more people came in. Eventually it was my turn. I stood before the man, politely waiting for him to notice my existence. Behind me I heard someone saying, "You certainly need to cultivate patience in here!"
"You ain't kidding," I thought in reply.
Finally the man looked up. "Could you tell me how much this would be 'special delivery'?" I asked. I had given him a light package of a pair of glasses that I was sending to have new lenses put in. The firm had sent me a padded envelope and prepaid label but advised sending it by special or recorded delivery, so that's what I intended to do.
Post Office Man (POM) picked it up gingerly and scrutinised it for what seemed like about half an hour, muttering something about, "Not sure about this....label....amount..." before informing me that it would be £5.48. "So what would recorded delivery be, then?" I asked.
This defeated him completely and he turned to Post Office Woman (POW) to ask "What do we do with this?"
"I don't know," she said, "We never get those."
(It's a parcel! I wanted to shout.)
I eventually deduced that the problem filling their minds was the pre-paid label, as they weren't sure whether they could deduct the postage on the label from the cost of sending it recorded delivery.
"Is she returning something?" asked POW.
(I am HERE! You can ask me directly! I screamed internally.)
More muttering between them followed, during which I slowly lapsed into a catatonic state and the hands on the clock crept ever forward. Finally, a decision was made. Computer says cost of recorded delivery is 78p. More minutes ticked by as POM laboriously and one-fingeredly tapped the delivery details into the computer. By this time, I had ripped the correct money out of my purse and pushed it towards him, where he began to count it, pausing to scrutinise the date on each coin (OK, so I exaggerated the last bit).
After more than 20 minutes, I stepped out into the bright light of normality.
Next time, I'll just go to Grumpy Man's post office. At least there I get out before Keith and Paddy forget what I look like!


Murphyfish said...

You only spent 20 minutes in there? sounds like express service compared to my post office :-)

Jennyta said...

More than 20 minutes, John! ;)

John Gray said...

I wish our 30 minute service post office is still in the village!!
nice post jennyta

Jan Blawat said...

Gee, things are pretty much the same in California. You have to take a number, like you're at a meat counter, then wait while every single customer has to argue with the postal employees just to get them to perform some simple function. And no one ever knows what the price of a stamp is because it changes (goes UP) every month or so. There must be an international training school for postal employees.

Jennyta said...

I wish we still had ours, too, John. It was very small but run by a very nice lady.
Jan, one of these days I shall ask one of these unobliging people just which charm school they went to! ;)

Anonymous said...

Thankfully my local post office is generally quite good!
I remember that it was a glorious day during my only visit to Barmouth a very long time ago! Flighty xx

Jennyta said...

Worth another trip, perhaps, Flighty? :)

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