Today, I had to post not one, but two letters. And by letters I mean a) a bunch of admin documents for my company, which I was supposed to send out, like, in January and quite obviously forgot until it finally became urgent (the best motivation) and b) a book for a friend, which required a thicker than your usual letter type of packaging, which I’m not expert in. To be frank, I’m no expert in mailing material in general (the whole reason I specialize in digital strategy is not to have to send any paper-based documents, but fiscal authorities still insist on that s**t for some reason), so I arrived at the post office with my documents in one hand and the address for each in the other. Old school, like your grandpa getting to the bakery with his pile of 5-cent coins, only I am quicker at getting my coins out of my pocket than your grandpa, thank you very much (like that’s a challenge).
I arrived at the post office around 2pm, assuming it would be right past lunch peak hour. I was wrong: there was a queue that almost extended all the way to the street. I immediately felt that anxiety you get when you feel trapped somewhere, with no end in sight and no way out to speak of; essentially, the way a cat feels whenever you take them into your arms (not speaking from personal experience, obviously: these scratches on my arm were made by my girlfriend, thank you very much). Once I was past that somewhat extreme queue-related anxiety attack of mine, I started to realize that there were actually two queues in there: one was in front of the banking services section (the French post office now makes most of its money through banking, since more and more people agree with me that posting paper in the 21st century is a little messed up if you ask me, thank you very much; and yes, I’m feeling absolutely fine, why are you asking?) and one in front of the actual mailing services desk. And that queue only had three people in it: they’re learning…
As I was standing in the (now shorter) queue, and feeling somewhat relieved that that ordeal wouldn’t take the rest of the afternoon, I started checking on the clerks standing behind the counter. There was an old guy with a shut eye who was probably legally blind and possibly holding on to his job for that very reason (what I could grasp from his rather dry exchanges with other customers only seemed to confirmed my assumption), a woman who was about the same age as him but way nicer, only about as useless (she actually asked a customer if the letter she was handing her was meant for posting) and, finally, a young woman who seemed perfectly knowledgeable in the ways of the post office, as well as quite well versed in the science of client-facing communications.
I skipped a turned just to be served by that lady. And saved a good 10 minutes in the process. People are everything.