Had to mail something at the post office today. The line was literally out the door. (Well, the first of the two doors, anyway!) It was an interesting observational study in human behavior.
The way it's set up, there's a main window with three employee stations on the left, there's a long counter down the middle with forms and whatnot, along which the queue forms, and then there's a "store" to the right with all sorts of postal supplies and cards. There's a cash register and a little desk in the store, but it's not usually manned the rest of the year. Everyone was waiting in a single line down the middle of the room, along the counter. Only two of the employee windows were open, and it was their two slowest employees (usually the staff at this post office is great), so the line wasn't going as fast as it could have, but it was still moving at a reasonable clip.
The trouble started when a third employee came to the little counter at the store. She very clearly announced "I'll take the next person in line - if you're not picking up mail or packages, I can do everything else right here." The latter half of the line immediately ran over to her counter. The employee reminded them that she called for the next person in line (i.e. NOT THEM) and everyone will be gotten to shortly. She helped the proper person, then someone from the back of the line had a quick question, and then the next time I turned around (I was pretty near the front of the line at this point) it was absolutely ridiculous. A lady and her young son were demanding to be helped next, someone else was trying to pick up a package (something the employee had explicitly said she couldn't do), and everyone seemed determined to split into two lines, despite the employee's announcement that we should stay in one queue. The store counter was roughly halfway back, so I can understand why everyone who was just coming in the door got confused - there was one clear line (where it normally is) and then two or three half-lines strung out around the store area. Some people were purposely trying to stand in between the two, I guess to claim space in both. I think the employee just gave up trying to keep order and started helping whoever came up to her counter next.
I got to the front of the line then (the regular line) and mailed my packages from one of the other two employees, so I didn't get to see if the problem was resolved, but the whole thing could have been avoided if people had just stopped and looked for a moment before getting territorial!