Murder At Waitrose
29 April 2006
I learnt this week that the word “queue” is derived from the French word “cue” meaning tail, which was adopted by the English by 1802, when it was required that soldiers plait their hair in “pigtails”
Today, I was standing in a “pigs tail” at the post office in Waitress Southend in order to mail some letters, while Mrs Monk shopped for dinner. Around me were people clutching Motor Tax forms, and this would appear to have accounted for today's Pig tail. The man in front dressed in Harley Davidson leathers, explained to me that today was, pay-day.
It is apparently possible to get your motor tax online theses days, but that does not exactly help anyone who needs to buy a stamp.
The British public are strangely tolerant of queuing, and this particular pigs tail was predicted with a resigned groan as each new member of the public arrived to join the queue. Everyone expects a pigs tail at the post office because there always is a pigs tail at the post office.
It might be easier to accept this delay if it just happened at the end of the month but two weeks ago in the very middle of the month I encountered the very same problem. On this occasion no one was buying motor tax but there was still a 30 minute pigs tail, due to less staff and imponderable strange customers who spent much time filling in long forms at the counter, as we all watched, and waited in the pigs arse tail, fuming and farting.
It would seem that there is some connection between the length of time a customer spends in the line and the number of checkouts that are open and functioning
A 30 minute wait of about 30 customers is about what the public will tolerate, it seems, so the required number of staff are provided and no more.
The Post office is assured that no customer faced with a Pigs Tail will turn away and go elsewhere because there is no where else, no alternative, and no competition
As I Waited in line I allowed these thoughts to wash over me. The Waitrose Check Out Women were checking out groceries (and they were all women). These ladies were not at all stretched by long pig tails, because when it comes to selling groceries, no pigs tail is allowed to form.
Back to the post office?
30 customers every half hour translates into 109200 hours of wasted human lifetime every year.
In other words: One complete human being is wasted, every 3 years and seven months at this and every post office in the land pro rata. Roughly speaking.
I don't know how many post offices there are, but they must be doing more accumulative damage than Dr Shipman