This week I tried to pay my bill for heating and hot water four times. Because here in Kazakhstan, you can't just send it in the mail, you have to pay in person for most of your utilities.
Tuesday 10:00. The lights are out at the post office (where you pay bills).
Wednesday 10:00. The computers are not working. Despite this there are already eight people waiting. No one seems to be being helped by a cashier, but they are waiting anyway.
Wednesday 16:00. The computers are still not working but people are being helped. There are eight people in front of me. And by in front of me, I mean sitting, standing, waiting anywhere. We know our place in line. Who is in front of us, and who is in front of that person. I wait an hour. Three people are able to pay their bills. This place closes at 6:00. I do the math and walk out.
Thursday 9:00. I go to a different post office and see only three people in line! Success! One woman pays. The next woman pays. Then the cashier says she is closing (breakfast break maybe?) and we should go to the other cashier. I hadn't seen this one obscured by a pillar across the lobby. Six people are waiting there. I go stand there, but now we are in the back of the line. I wait there five minutes and see our first cashier has returned and is once again helping someone. I go back over there. Wait behind one person, don't let the woman who comes after me succeed in her claim that she was before me, and finally pay! Success!
What do I miss in America? Checks.