Ever since the post office in Payson removed the Take-A-Number system, the Roundup has received numerous calls, letters and e-mails about the change.
Although local postal employees must bear the brunt of complaints and surly looks, the directive to remove the Take-A-Number system from the post office lobby was not a local decision.
The decision came down from the Western district of the United States Postal Service.
Arizona was one of the last states where the number system was removed for the sake of conformity, according to a postal public information officer.
"Through customer surveys and focus groups, customers have told us that they want professional, courteous and efficient service," reads a form letter to postal customers from the U.S. Postal Service.
"Studies have shown that the Take-A-Number system actually extends a customer's waiting time," according to the letter.
Another postal spokesperson, who does not live in a rural community, said that when people take a number in the lobby and then go out to check their post office boxes, they often miss their number being called, and slow down the line.
While this may be true, the customers who are unavailable when their numbers are called should forfeit their turn and take a new number. Making everyone stand in line because of the occasional inattentive customer is overkill.
In addition, the Payson post office is not built for people to stand in a single line. In fact, at Christmastime, those in line would likely be in the way of post office box holders.
Ropes to create a common feeder line are on order, but again, the small lobby is not conducive to this type of line in times of heavy traffic.
While it is true that everyone waits in line somewhere, seniors comprise 50 to 60 percent of Rim Country residents and the Take-A-Number system afforded the option of sitting on benches while waiting for service.
It is true that stamps can be purchased online and packages can be mailed from home with a credit card. For some, this is a great service. Others, leery of giving their credit card over the phone or Internet would rather go to the post office for personal service.
Even in government, there should be a little flexibility, especially when it makes more sense for small communities.
We would like to see authority returned to the Payson post office so local management can determine how to best serve their customers.