Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I’m about to start Kate Fox’s book “Watching the English” (the hidden rules of English behaviour!). Earlier in the day, I began to read the introduction where she’s about to return to a train station to “spend a few hours committing a deadly sin: queue jumping”. On the basis of the introduction, I feel pretty confident that I’m going to enjoy the book…..
Then, blow me, this afternoon (while I had Iris in tow – or was it the other way round?) I encountered blatant queue jumping first hand! I was at a cash dispenser, waiting (at a discrete distance as tradition now has it) for a customer to remove his money. He did so and I duly moved towards the machine…. when, out of nowhere, a man (perhaps in his early 60s?) pushed in front of me and thrust his card in the dispenser. In a very un-English way, I found myself uttering the words “excuse me, don’t you know there’s a queue?” (in a very firm and authoritative tone, you understand!). Without turning, the man announced in a loud, sing-song voice “I don’t care!”… and then, when he’d finished using the machine, turned and said “have a nice day” in a completely insincere way and marched off!!
I was absolutely gob-smacked!
PS: next time, I’ll be prepared…. I’ll stand IMMEDIATELY behind the queue-jumper, grab the money as soon as it appears from the dispenser and either run off with it or throw it into the air (I haven’t yet decided).


alice said...

haha ... will this be you in a few years time though? Love the image of you throwing the money in the air! xxx

alan broadway said...

of course such rudeness can be carried out by young or old, but i am finding i'm more and more intolerant of the 'old'...dawdling, indecisive etc etc. but i find that when others are descibing people as old i'm quizing them on what actual age were these 'old' people? the answer invariably is "in their 50's". with 3 weeks to go 'til i'm 55 its uncomfortable to know i'm one of the dawdling, indecisive group. incontinence is next.

Ellen Loudon said...

how rude! I am sure you could have 'ah 'im though! xxx

Alltough said...

Trust something like this to happen in England. I endure it everyday in Mumbai. I always have a hawk's eye for people jumping queue. I usually never shy away and I feel really proud of myself for putting the person in place. And the latest episode of jumping queues happened outside the UK Visas office in Mumbai. The authorities should only stamp visas based on people's behaviour outside in the queues.

BTW, I read the book (you reading) during my time in London and absolutely loved it. I could identify with characters all around me as I read the book on the Underground. And it was interesting to watch people strain their neck to read the cover of the book, from the corner of my eye.

I hope you are well.