You’d have thought it would be a very simple task; go to town, get a prescription & post a letter.
So with an hour to go before the shops shut I reach town. I go into one of the chain stores that sells makeup, cold remedies & has a pharmacy. I’m the only customer at the pharmacy so I hand over my prescription & pay the required Ã‚Â£7.40 because I don’t live in Scotland or Wales or wherever it is that thinks people shouldn’t have to pay to be made better.
“I’ll just check if we have any,” says the girl at the desk who goes to a cupboard & pulls out a shelf with a box of what I want. She takes the box out & puts it on the table next to the pharmacist, who, as far as I can see, is doing bugger all.
“Do you want to wait, it’ll be 5 or 10 minutes.” To print out a label & hand it to me? “No, I’ll pop back in ten to fifteen minutes. So looking at my box of drugs on the bench, I walk out.
I pop in to the newsagents & grab a magazine then make my way to the Post Office.
We used to have a Post Office which belonged to the Post Office, it had 6 or 8 positions & was filled withÃ‚Â generallyÃ‚Â friendly staff who were very often quite helpful too. Now, because the government wanted to save a few quid, we have a pokey space at the back of a newsagent who seem to excel in providing the most miserable fuckers on God’s earth to serve up what someone in theirÃ‚Â companyÃ‚Â euphemisticallyÃ‚Â calls ‘customer service’ but what everyone else describes as complete shite. So I wasn’t filled with high expectations as I joined the queue in order to post an A4-sized envelope t0 some money-grabbing real estate company who wanted the ins & outs of a cat’s arse on my financial situation (with written proof of everything from my birth certificate to evidence signed personally by the Queen that I am who I am) , to show that should my student child do a runner from the ill-decorated, hovel that appears to pass as a house where they come from, I’ll be able to pay the Ã‚Â£3500 they want for next year’s uni accommodation.
I wasn’t disappointed. There were 8 people in the queue ahead of me. The 4 positions available were closed, except for one with a middle-aged man with a blue tooth headset who was ‘serving’ a customer. God knows why he needed a blue tooth headset, or indeed a mobile phone, unless it’s to text photos of his cock to one of those freeview adult channels after midnight; I can’t see such a miserable git having any friends to ring him.
The customer was one of those specially chosen to be in front of me, whatever she was doing it involved the filling out of forms which appeared longer than a job application for MI5. I’m not kidding you, I was 9th in the queue, by the time she finished whatever it was she was doing, the queue was up to the door & starting to interfere with the men trying to get their copies of ‘Men Only’ past the pick’n mix customers.
There are actually 3 members of staff. One, a bloke with a gold medallion round his neck & the look of a bouncer only missing a Pitbull terrier, was counting money. It appeared to me to be money that was already counted since it was in a drawer made up of Ã‚Â packages of money. He slipped off the bands which had the amount contained within printed on them, counted it & put it back, before picking up the next pile. I ended up counting the notes with him & watching his lips to see if his count matched mine. He didn’t look at the growing queue once. He looked miserable.
The other member of staff was a middle-aged blond lady. Her job seemed to consist of moving ‘counter closed’Ã‚Â signsÃ‚Â from one closed position to another, then finding ‘counter closed’Ã‚Â signsÃ‚Â that were even bigger than the ones already there, and pushing them up against the windows as if people hadn’t worked out for themselves that the counters were indeed closed. She looked miserable.
The next person in the queue had a passport application, then there were 2 car taxes, & someone who couldn’t see properly trying to pay their electricity bill.
Then they guy two places behind me takes a mobile phone call. He happily advised his mate that he was in the post office. He had one of those Dom Joly mobile phone voices, the ones where you hear every syllable of every word even though you’re in the next town.
I moved forward a couple of places. There was only a woman with a single letter in her hand & a guy with a sheaf of papers. The guy with the papers asks for a special delivery envelope, he is handed one. As he tries to stuff his sheaf of papers inside, Mr Popular tells him to stand to the side so he can serve another customer. The woman with the letter steps forward. She has been in the queue so long she’s forgotten why she has the envelope & has to ask her husband who is going up & down the queue handing out liberty packages, whether she needs first or second class.
The man with the mobile behind me takes another call. He advises his friend that he is still in the post office and then proceeds to direct him to walk down past the Honda garage on the corner. I have to check whether he is actually talking into his mobile or shouting to his mate across town.
The woman gets her stamp & just as I step forward the guy with the special delivery package has managed to get it in the envelope & he dodges back around the lady with the letter to pay his fee. It takes another two minutes before I reach the counter. I step up to the plate ruminating on the fact that I have been here so long my child has probably graduated & doesn’t need to rent any more. I put the envelope on the weighing scale & say “second class please.” He says, “58p.” Ã‚Â No ‘please’, ‘thank you’ or a glance in my direction. I say “No. I want it first class, I was simply commenting on how you treat people, you miserable, fucking, lazy bastard & all your lazy bastard staff.”
Actually, I don’t, I just think it as I walk out having paid my 58p.
So I now work my way back across town & suddenly realise I’ve got a prescription to pick up. I reach the shop at 17.27, 3 minutes to go. The manager & another member of staff are standing beside the exit door, no doubt wishing their last few customers a warm good evening & a thanks for shopping with us today.
The entrance door opens & Ã‚Â I step inside, past the manager who glances at me. I walk across the shop to the back where the pharmacy is. A rather gorgeous blond, who appears to have strayed from the makeup counter is standing behind the pharmacy. “Just picking up my prescription,” I smile warmly & faintly pleadingly.
“Sorry, we’re closed.”
Closed? CLOSED?? I could have sworn I’ve just walked through the bloody open door, past the manager who didn’t advise that I was now an intruder.
“Can’t I just get it quickly?”
“Sorry the pharmacist has gone home, I don’t even work here.”
For fuck’s sake don’t tell the manager ‘cos that’s two burglars in here, I think as I turn round & walk through the shop, past the manager & out into the street making a mental note to return to the Post Office with a Ã‚Â very sharp stick & some KY jelly.
And the manager didn’t even thank me for not shopping at his store.