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Monday, October 17, 2005

Post Office

After reading another bloggers experience at the Post Office (which was naturally a negative one) I decided to post one of my own.

Nobody likes going to the Post Office in Italy. It is a punishment, but a necessary one.
Today I had to pay one bill. I am used to the US where to pay a bill you write a check, slide it into the enclosed envelope, attach a stamp and drop it in the mailbox. Easy.

In Italy though, nothing is easy. Bills are paid in person, usually at the Post Office for a transaction fee of 1 Euro. I walked into the Post Office. It was almost empty. Almost, meaning 20 or so people. I have never seen it completely empty, except when it is closed of course.

I took a number from the number machine out front, looked at the numbers above each of the open windows. I only had 24 people in front of me.. as I mentioned before, the building was almost empty. A wait in a line of 24 people is like a walk in a park. There usually are more people waiting. Italy is a country of long lines.

I thought maybe in 15 minutes I would be done but 15 minutes later I wasn't much closer to the 'jackpot' of an open window.

I noticed that out of the 4 available windows, only 3 were in operation. I saw in the back of the room there was an employee engaged in a conversation with another. I don't mean to interrupt an interesting conversation, but she obviously had some free time on her hands, why didn't she go to an available window I though ?

Finally after 20 more people came into the Post Office and she decided to go to the empty window and the line moved much quicker.
I was finished in 30 minutes. Record time.