While I was waiting in a queue at the Post Office, I was remembered something I thought while waiting in a queue on the phone to BT.  If there are fewer people serving at the desks or answering the phones and more people in the queues, and this becomes the norm, the people queueing will come to think of their time speaking with a cashier/representative as extremely valuable indeed.  No-one wants to have to re-join the queue and start again.  Having spent all that time waiting they now want to get everything off their chest and sorted out in this exchange and be done with it.

It leads to a slowing down of the entire queue because what could easily be a simple “I’d like to post this please” into very lengthy discussion on the merits of various postage services, with double-checks of postcodes, prices, weights and so on.  I saw someone from the queue today phone up their friend to check the address was correct on their parcel while they were at the desk.

Is there a point at which things start moving more efficiently because people aren’t expecting a long wait in the queue next time?  Someone should find out.

One Response to “Queues”

  1. Phil says:

    Post office and bank queues are designed to torture the people in the queue. If they could go any slower, they would.

    Also, why only have 1 – 2 positions open during lunch when that is going to be the busiest time?