“The queues don’t seem so long this year.” The lady in front of me at the main Post Office turned round, desperate for a chat.
“No.” I said. I felt I would have to give in to this ‘fill up the time in the queue’ conversation. We were about fourteen people away from the ‘next customer’ ping.
“There was quite a long queue for the car park though.”
“Yes, I parked in the multi-storey, it always seems handy for M&S, but the queues to get in can be so long. Then you have to queue to get your ticket!” She laughs. I politely join in. Six people turn round to look at us. I don’t need to say anything, the laugh was enough, and she carries on. “There was a queue of cars up at the roundabout too, it’s always bad up there.”
“By St Stephen’s Road?” I ask, and realise now I’m really joining in. We all move forward a bit, although more people have joined the end of the queue.
“Yes, I think it’s got worse since the built those new houses.”
“Probably, I don’t drive round that way much.”
“We were in a really long queue in Fenwick’s restaurant the other day – do you go in there? We went for lunch and they’ve changed the layout, awfully confusing.”
She seems content to just stay on the topic of queues, where ever they be. This time I just get away with an “Oh.”
“We had to get toys for the grandchildren though, so we had lunch in there first. The toy department is good, but we had to queue up to ask where something was, then queue again to pay.”
I start to think she isn’t even realising she is talking about queues. My part in the chat is quite small, and we are now near the front. “Did you get what you were looking for? In the toy department?”
“Oh, yes , yes!” She smiles. “I can’t wait to see their faces on Christmas Day! It’s worth all the queueing isn’t it?” The ‘next customer’ ping releases her from the queue and into the conversation with the counter staff. I wait my turn, and read the ‘treat our staff with respect’ sign to while my time away.