Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Never trust an old lady in a Polish post office

Although the post office had only been open for eight and a half minutes, as I pushed open the door I could see they were already in full battle.

I took a ticket, and eyed the woman in a ridiculous red bobble hat, who was waggling her finger at the woman behind the desk. It's a good thing they have those glass panels in front of the desk, or she might have had an eye out.

'It's just not acceptable!' the woman was protesting. 'Every time I come to do the same thing you give me a new form. What are all these forms for? I don't need a form, just do what I'm asking you to do!'

'Proszę Pani,' the lady in the booth said, slightly louder than was necessary, 'I don't make the rules, I'm just telling you. Fill in the form.'

'Why can't you do what I ASKED you to do?'

'Please don't SHOUT at me'


She went off muttering, to fill in the form. I noted the numbers going by quite fast, and soon there were just a couple of people in front of me.

An oldish lady came over to near where I was waiting, and did that thing they do. You know, that thing where they start talking, not aiming the chatter anywhere, just generally talking with the hope that someone will answer and they'll be able to latch on to that person and talk him or her to death.

I made the mistake of catching her eye.

'I have to go to work. Are you next? Would you mind if I just went ahead? It won't take long, I have to be there in ten minutes.'

I looked up wearily and protested feebly, 'I have to go to work too.' But she knew when she'd found a soft-hearted idiot and showed me what she was carrying. 'Look, I just need to get some money, and these small bits and pieces. I'll be ever so quick, and I really have to get to work.'

I sighed. My number came up and I showed the lady the way to the desk.

I stood behind her and immediately saw that this was not going to be a quick thing. She gave the post office girl a list of numbers and tasks, and I settled down to wait.

The bobble hatted woman was back, having filled in her form and was once again exchanging snarls and growls with the lady who insisted that she fill in the form. As they fought, the young man at the next desk rolled his eyes and smiled in disbelief at the older generation.

Another desk became free and I went over, abandoning the desk that was rightfully mine, and stepping out of the way as the bobblehatted lady finally exploded and walked out with a 'I'm NEVER coming back to this damn place.'

My letter was found quickly and I walked out before the 'I'll be ever so quick' lady had got through even half of what was on her list. I gave her a little smile on my way out.

I've learned my lesson.

Update: and now I have another little slip of paper that will take me to another post office tomorrow morning. It's a package, which is more promising than the tax return form I got this morning...

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Anonymous Richard Gudaj said...


I found accidentally your blog. Quite funny stories ;-) I look for someone to speak English with to improve it a little bit. Do you live in Warsaw? If you know someone who want to spend a good time with nice, flashy student - send me an e-mail:



11:37 pm  

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