The line at the post office was short when I got there. That's good, because there was only one clerk working at the windows. By the time I left, the line was not just out into the lobby, but it was heading toward the street. They had three clerks working by then, but two of them were helping the same customer who had been at the window when I walked in, ever so long ago.
Apparently there was some confusion about how to work the computer. The clerk had wanted to open the cash drawer, but the only way he could do it was to close out the transaction, even though the customer wasn't through with her endless pile of packages. He assumed that he could collect that twenty dollars when he opened the drawer again.
The monkey wrench in the works here was that the customer wanted to pay with a check card, and there was no way to charge her the original twenty dollars plus the rest of what she owed. They just couldn't figure out how to run the card through the computer and have it show both transactions.
They were still puzzling over this problem when I left. Now that it was no longer my problem, too, I commiserated with the folks in line, even the woman in the wheel chair who didn't realize that the only way I could leave would be if she got out of the doorway. When she woke up, I thanked her and apologized at the same time.
Some of those people at the end of the line might still be waiting, but I doubt it. Maybe one of them was an expert who could help with the computer. Or maybe somebody volunteered to pay the twenty bucks, just to get out of there. They probably solved the problem in time so that none of them had to wait any longer than I did, even the ones waiting out on the sidewalk. The difference is that I started second in line and still gave up half my morning to my postal adventure.