At the post office can seem like forever...


December 16, 1992

WAITING IN LINE at the post office can seem like forever -- unless you're watching the troubles young Jimmy Stewart is experiencing as George Bailey in "It's A Wonderful Life." And then you realize that cooling your heels for several minutes for some stamps isn't really the worst torture you could ever endure.

Workers at the post office in Harford County's Abingdon came up with the idea of setting up a TV set in the lobby and playing tapes continuously, such as the Christmas classic, "It's a Wonderful Life," or for children waiting with their parents, "Beauty and the Beast" and "101 Dalmatians." The concept isn't that far afield from the TV sets seen sprouting above checkout lines at supermarkets, except that customers aren't being bombarded with commercial messages at the Abingdon post office. Colleen Knott, who serves as acting postmaster there, said the Postal Service has received several positive letters about the new TV set-up.

Actually, the trend of American business to better use, or at least better comfort, consumers during waiting periods is a welcome one. (Banks, notorious for lines at teller windows, could take a cue from some of this.)

On a larger scale, Pittsburgh International Airport is having early success with a shopping mall located in its new terminal, to serve or at least distract travelers during idle hours spent making flight connections.

We don't expect to see a mall or a food court inside the tiny post office at Abingdon, but the video diversion is at least a thoughtful gesture.

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