Postwatch, which was the consumer watchdog for postal services, has done some research into queuing times at London Post Offices and concluded they are too long. We were going to write about this and the quintessential art of queuing, which is part and parcel of a weird kinda Britishness that tolerates all sorts of guff with a stiff upper lip, a rolling eye and subdued tsk but then we realised the BBC News story was already out of date. Overnight, Postwatch was subsumed into a grand new uber-consumer watchdog called Consumer Focus which has a bland whirly logo and lumps together the postal services, energy suppliers and, well, everything else in one unwieldy consumer champion voice. Postwatch RIP.
However, we didn't need to be told that Post Offices spawn queues. There're practically an excuse for socialising in some areas. If you want to avoid them - antisocial beast that you are - you don't go at 9am or the lunchtime hours unless you elicit masochistic pleasure in loitering in line for half an hour, occasionally shuffling forward and staring, dead eyed at the digital display that calls you to the next available counter in relentlessly soothing, polite, lady tones.
Post Office closures may well be contributing to the phenomenon but we tend to think it was ever thus and it's partly due to the diversity of things that you can do there. Post all sorts of things, yes, but also get foreign currency, pay bills, get road taxed, travel insured, do your banking, get benefits, all sorts of forms and have your passport application checked. It's a veritable bazaar of useful services for all people. So, use your online resources properly, time your trip right or shut up and queue. It's just the way it is.