‘An English-man, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one.’
If there’s one thing us British are, it’s ordinately polite when it comes to queuing and patiently standing in line waiting our turn.
Whether it’s waiting for a bus, queuing for cinema tickets or simply being served at the supermarket, the vast majority of people are civilised and decent when it comes to the unwritten rules of queuing.
However, the problematic part of queuing is policing it yourself.
When someone is brazen enough to openly flout the laws of queuing, most people are too polite to kick up a fuss and let it go with a resigned sigh or shrug of the shoulders.
However, the intolerance levels of Brits holidaying abroad does go through the roof when it comes to queue-jumpers.
I used to think the notion that other nations couldn’t queue like the British was just a myth – until we first time we on holiday to Turkey.
While the Turkish people and hotel staff were extremely helpful and friendly, I was left open-mouthed with outrage at mealtimes when hotel guests from a particular country obnoxiously pushed and shoved their way to the front of buffet queues even elbowing children out of the way in their selfish haste.
Although I normally think life’s too short to get hot and bothered about trivial matters, these blatant breaches of queuing etiquette eventually led to me saying: “Excuse me!” and pointing furiously to the queue behind me.
Normally, the culprits are so thick-skinned or oblivious to what they’ve done wrong, they merely step aside without an apology and promptly push in front of someone else.
Queuing at bars can be a prickly issue with cries of: “I was here first!”
Being a shortie, I often find myself overlooked at bars while those taller and more physically imposing seem to get served immediately.
My solution is to send Hubby to the bar whenever possible.
At airports check-ins and supermarket check-outs, the system is a lot clearer. But that doesn’t mean it comes without its hitches.
A bit like changing lanes on the motorway, there’s always a case of: “That queue’s moving faster than this one.”
But if you swap, you can guarantee your new queue will suddenly come to a juddering halt.
And at supermarkets, you sometimes get nice people who graciously offer to let you go before them when you only have a few items which is a legitimate form of queue-jumping.
However when it comes to Brits abroad, there’s one situation where queuing in an orderly fashion goes flying out of the window and that’s the daily stampede for sunbeds.
Thankfully, we’ve not yet stayed somewhere where we’ve had to get up at a silly hour to get a sun bed. We’ve not always managed to get one in the exact spot we would have liked, but we’ve always got one.
But some friends reported how on their last holiday, they had to set their alarm for 6am to race to save a sunbed.
Quite frankly, to me that is completely the opposite of what a holiday is all about.
Make sure you mind your P’s and queues this summer!