# 84 – The Post Office by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 84 – The Post Office

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409

September 16, 2007

Are the lines/queues at the banks and post offices in Israel any different to those in your country?


First of all, in the ‘manual’ systems, where you just have to physically stand in line, it’s very common here for a person to walk in, tell the last person in the line ‘I’m the last’ or ‘I’m behind you’, and then walk away to do whatever else he has to do. Leaving you to fight for his place.


Do you tell the next person that there’s someone else before them. Do you perhaps wait until he returns, and hope that you are not needed in the fight that ensues when he claims his place? Or do you just hope that the line will move so quickly, that he loses his place anyway?


Our local post office was recently renovated. That included the rare introduction of a ticketing system, with e-numbers.


This morning, I combined my walk with a visit to the post office to mail a package. I took a ticket, and saw that I was 27th in line! Wait or not wait..When it was down to about 22, a similarly-dressed girl, also obviously having done some very recent exercise, eyed me, moved towards me, asked to see my ticket, saw the number and handed me hers, about 15 numbers higher than mine. ‘Beautiful’, I said. ‘Thanks’. And she left.



I slowly looked around. At least a dozen pairs of eyes were pointed at me, daring me to use that ticket, to leapfrog ahead of them.


Shall I use it, or shall I not? Should a be a ‘frier’ as they call it here, and just quietly await my original number to be called. Or just grab the opportunity. I mean, I only had a package to send. Wouldn’t take me more than a minute….

But they didn’t know that. In their eyes, they saw a man who will fill one of the counters, their counter, for the next half hour.



And if I used the ticket, what would I do with mine? Would I also search out someone with whom I had something in common – or perhaps nicely approach one of the several pensioners and put them out of their misery. Or would I just shove it in my back pocket and say ‘to Hell with it – I don’t owe them anything! Certainly not after the looks they were giving me’.


Was I ready to face the wall of protests.

One number away….

My number….



I moved forward…Oh, taxi’s here. Gotta go.

I’ll tell you next time…


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