Today I was reminded what a wonderful thing email is. I had the misfortune of having to go to a recently revamped branch of the South African Post Office. It was not pretty. I had a number of prepaid envelopes to be inserted into the appropriate box and one item to be sent to family overseas. After standing in line for about 20 minutes watching two cashiers work at super-civil servant speed (even though the Post Office is supposed to be more like a private company than not), I had the audacity to call my fiancé about some issue and another employee appeared out of a wormhole somewhere and gruffly told me that mobile phones were not permitted in that top secret installation and that I must go outside.
Immediately realising the error of my ways, I terminated my call and continued waiting in line …
Eventually my phone persecutor noticed that I was holding envelopes and directed me to a desk marked “Business Centre” where I was greeted by yet another surly employee who managed to crack a smile when I asked him if I could start applying the half dozen stamps I had to buy for my envelope.
I wonder if there is a special training school for surliness in the public service. I mean, why work efficiently and courteously when you don’t have a dozen tired and angry folk bitching at you?