“How to” guide for Belgium

Following situation: You need to do something at the post office – pick up a parcel, an inquiry, whatever. Coming into the post office, you take a ticket for the waiting line. After taking it, you realise that there are over 20, 30 or more tickets before you. How to know if it is worth staying or doing something else in the meantime without losing you place in line by coming back too late?

My experience: Multiply the number of tickets before yours by 3 (assumed minutes spent per person on the counter) divided by the number of open counters.

Example: You got number 184, current numbers called to the counter are 121, 122, 123; open counters 4. Ergo: 60 people times 3 minutes = 180 / 4 = 45 minutes waiting; i.e. enough time to do half an hour shopping and be back in time.

Warning: 60 people in line and just one open counter means that you might want to try your luck another day.

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9 responses to ““How to” guide for Belgium

  1. I am incredibly pernickety here, I know, but how do you account for people getting fed up and leaving, throwing their number in the bin? Or (although I do not know whether this particular danger exists in a Belgian post office) for the unexpected opening of another counter? You might end up at the back of the queue again, having missed your number, but now the vanilla ice is melting and the deep frozen pizza is getting soggy.

  2. That is German Gründlichkeit! I actually thought about featuring in a -10% margin for people throwing their tickets away. It is just difficult to track as it is more prevalent when the overall waiting time is higher than 1 hour…

    I could also have integrated the probability of a counter being closed which increases the % of people getting fed up and leave. Some people throw their tickets on the floor when they leave, so that they might be picket up by somebody else. Chances: 2%

    The likeliness of a counter being opened is too close to zero to be taken into account.

    Any other ideas?

  3. No, but I am really impressed with your work so far 😀 This could become known as the “La Puce Formula” and people will be quoting you for years to come…

  4. By now you can tell how much time I spent in post offices… I’d be very pleased if this little formula can help somebody!

  5. Belgium hhahhahaha that is super funney, belgian people sorry to say super lazy and love NOT to work, u germans should show them a thing or 2, they have this attitude for most things shops, etc etc. I blaim their lack of price.

  6. You are so English! 😀 BTW: ‘Lack of price’ or ‘lack of pride’?

  7. yes lack of pride, so sorry typing is very bad. Regards from the UK

  8. Oh, the post office. Especially on a Saturday. I go there with my iPhone loaded with videos to watch, and wait for my life to slip away.

  9. LOL. I see, you have the right attitude for the Belgian post!

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