Friday, 25 September 2009

Cashier number four, please

Obviously I'm in a grouchy mood today, but it's all justified. I've been to the Post Office. It's like the university - a once proud institution which proclaimed a state's and nation's commitment to public service, reduced to an ugly corpse to be picked at by corporations, 'external service providers', outsourcers and all the other parasites who've taken over our civilisation.

The main city Post Office in Wolverhampton is in a very ugly 70s concrete block. You'll find it next to the abandoned, elegant, spacious Edwardian building engraved with the words 'Post Office'. Inside, the current building looked as though it was ashamed of its use. A mean newsagent's business huddles at the front, while a bare concrete block stretches to the back of the building, the gloom livened only by advertisements designed to hold the attention of the captive audience. Of the 15 cashiers' stations, a magnificent ONE was open, to serve the 30+ people in the queue. Convenience was not a consideration: I was there to pick up a widely-used form, but even for that I had to queue: has there been a rash of redirection-form thefts requiring secure storage?

Still, I enjoyed the grumpy solidarity of the queue… we all had a good moan. Just like being at work… Why are we so ashamed of public services?

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