It’s ten o’clock on a Monday morning at the post office inside the mall. Most of the people queueing are either planning to go shopping after, or are waiting for someone who’s shopping. I’m only here to send a parcel off to Australia, though I’m not averse to the idea of getting some ice-cream on the way home. I glance at my number again: 2043. On the small LED display two numbers flash: 2014 and 2015. A long way to go, then.
It’s a tiny post office with four counters and one is only for collecting packages. It offers all the services the larger post offices offer, though, from renewal of driving licences to sales of commemorative stamps, which accounts for its busyness. The heavy-set man standing beside me has what looks like a vehicle registration card—probably here to renew his road tax, then. Half of the people queueing are likely there to pay their bills. I sigh to myself and wonder why they’re resistant to doing that online.
The seats are full, so I pop out of the post office and head to the stationery shop beside it. The woman at the counter greets me with a cheerful hello, but I can’t tell whether it’s because she’s noticed me from my frequent visits to the post office or it’s just because she’s a cheerful person in general. I duck into the section hosting the paperback novels and find nothing new—the same old copy of Dan Brown’s Angel and Demons that has been there since the start of last year is still there. I do the usual circuit and look at everything on display: the wrapping paper (mostly new) and glitter pens (probably not new) and head back out with a rueful nod at the woman—I can’t be the only person who comes in and doesn’t buy anything. She nods back, smiling.