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How to Cut Your Waiting Time At...

The post office
Best time to go: Midweek, either midmorning or midafternoon
Worst time: First thing in the morning, lunchtime, closing time, Friday afternoon
Tip: Go to www.usps.com to order stamps or print out postage -- you can even schedule a free package pickup by your mail carrier.

The pharmacy
Best time to go: Before 4 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, early morning on weekends
Worst time: The first of the month, Monday, and midday on weekends
Tip: Have your doctor fax or call in new prescriptions to the pharmacy. For refills, call ahead to schedule a pickup time.

The doctor's office
Best time to go: First thing in the morning or right after lunch
Worst time: Monday or late afternoon
Tip: Schedule your annual physical for early summer (fewer people get sick then). And have school immunization cards ready.

The bank
Best time to go: Morning
Worst time: Lunchtime and Friday afternoon
Tip: Keep deposit slips at home and fill them out beforehand. Also, check out Internet and bank-by-phone options so you don't need to go as often (or at all).

The hair salon
Best time to go: Before 11 a.m.; Monday or Tuesday
Worst time: Evening and Saturday afternoon
Tip: Make your next appointment at the current one so you won't have to call later.

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