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.

Queue jumpers!

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 People queueing up a flight of stairs. To queue or not to queue: that is the questionme 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.

Waiting longer

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:

  1. They may be late for a hospital appointmentStand holding hospital equipment. To queue or not to queue: that is the question
  2. A close member of their family is currently giving birth
  3. They have just been given bad news
  4. 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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15 comments

  1. I normally allow time for queing where required. If you know somewhere will be busy then it’s your choice whether you go or not. We are always early for hospital visits.

    1. Yes, it’s a great idea to plan to be early for hospital visits. We once got stuck in a traffic jam half a mile away and it made the whole thing so much more stressful than it already was.

  2. Queue jumping frustrates me so much. As you mention, it is disrespectful. The only time I ever ‘jump the queues’, so to speak, is when we pay to upgrade at places like Legoland. We went once and queued for hours and Jack managed three rides in like eight hours because of it, especially because of people saving spaces for others in the queue so continually pushing people further back. So we pay now for the fast track (which I suppose is essentially a form of queue jumping) because of previous experience x

  3. I’m very British when it comes to queues and generally when people push in I moan but don’t approach the person who pushed in x

    1. Oh, well done! I don’t always manage it, but I do sometimes point out that others have been waiting longer. We were in the pub on the last day of school in July as it was too wet to go on the field. One of the Dads went around to a different part of the bar to be served, and was served before I was. He didn’t point out that I had been waiting longer, which I would have done. He’s still in my bad books!

  4. I mean, it is insanely annoying and I know that most of the time keeps just jump queues because they can get away with it. I think it’s very rude but not as bad as people who don’t say thank you when you hold the door open for them!

    1. Oo, yes, I find that very rude! I sometimes say, “thank you” to their backs as they have gone past. I hope it makes them think, even if it is only a little bit!

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