Us Brits love to queue, don’t we? And what do we think of queue jumpers?
We had our summer holiday in Holland this year. The Eurocamp we stayed at had a theme park on site. This meant we spent a lot of time in queues. There were marked barriers that we had to queue through. It wasn’t difficult – we had to stand behind the person who was there before us and wait our turn. We would all reach the front of the line at some point. And yet there was a small boy who decided to push in front of me at every opportunity.
How does one behave in this situation? I found it a bit bizarre, to be honest. If this child stayed in front of me, he would not be next to his friends on the ride. However, my British sense of justice came to the fore: I tapped him on the shoulder and pointed behind me with my thumb. The other people around me gave me nodding smiles and winks. Our equilibrium had been restored.
Similarly, we had a situation when we in The Hague. We were in a shop called “Kruidvaat” – a Dutch version of Savers, perhaps. A huge queue ran from the tills to halfway up one of the aisles. I joined in the international language of eye-rolling until something perturbing occured. When a further till was opened, a man tried to go straight there without joining the queue. The woman in front of me gestured and pointed to indicate to him that he needed to be behind us and the many people who were still waiting. He followed with a gesture to show he had also been waiting. We were determined in our displeasure, and I remarked that I had been waiting for 10 minutes. (This may have been a slight exaggeration, but I am sure you will understand, given the circumstances.)
He was not to be convinced, so my new Dutch friend and I formed a barrier with our shoulders so that his progress to the front was stymied. Queue-formers 1, pushers-in 0. We basked in satisfaction after paying for our goods – friends forever.
How does it make you feel?
I have to admit that I find someone pushing ahead of me in a queue extremely frustrating, and it can make me quite angry. When my daughter first started school we used to have to take them the whole way into the classroom, having helped them to put their coats on pegs and so on. After a mile’s walk with a 4-year-old and baby I wasn’t always in the best frame of mind. When another mother would sneak in after the bell through the side gate, smile charmingly at one of the dads and squeeze in at the front as the doors opened, it did not improve my mood. And as for cars cutting up the middle of the motorway when we had left a gap for emergency vehicles – words fail me.
It’s not about having to wait a few minutes longer in these situations. For me, it is about the disrespect shown by others. We all have to wait – it will be your turn soon. Is your need greater than mine? Is it that urgent? Over the years I have found ways to remind myself that it is not such a big deal. I tell myself:
- They may be late for a hospital appointment
- A close member of their family is currently giving birth
- They have just been given bad news
- This may be the last chance for them to see a loved one
This cannot always explain the rudeness of others, but it makes a change within me. I am not so angry at the end of it. And while I can’t change the behaviour of those around me, what is going on inside for me is also important. I can alter that by trying to think the best of people, even in challenging circumstances.
How do you feel about queues?
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