Oh the English and their lines

Headline from Yahoo! News this week:

  • Foreign students in Britain to be schooled in queuing

Apparently the locals are upset by the tendency of foreigners to bunch up at bus stops instead of  standing in an orderly line.  So instead of adapting to them, the Brits will school the foreigners in how to behave here.  Frankly I don’t see it; I don’t find the English to be particularly good at  lines, especially in complicated situations like a cash machine bank with three units.  It would seem obvious to do one of two things: line up directly behind one of the machines (essentially trying your luck with the “who’s done first” game not unlike choosing a line at the grocery store) or else forming one big line and hoping for “first in line takes next available machine” behavior.  In my experience, the queue ends up being some combination of both, which makes for neither.  I frankly hate going to the cash machine when there is going to be a line because you never know what form it will take.  But you can definitely guarantee that as a foreigner, if you do the wrong thing the locals WILL shoot you disparaging glances although not actually say anything.  That’s the classic Brit behavior, quite contained frustration.

2 responses to “Oh the English and their lines

  1. What I’ve never understood is why people queue (line up) directly in front of cash machines. When people do that, they effectively form a roadblock on the footpath (sorry, sidewalk). It makes way more sense to line up alongside the ATM, out of the way of passing foot traffic. I’ve tried doing this, but it just confuses people *shrugs*

  2. Pingback: On queues « La Vie Quotidienne

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