18 December 2014

The beauty of the queue

One of the many things that England has down to a science are queue's. In America, we call it lines, they are basically the same thing but England does it better and more logically so they have earned their own description of it and that is “queue.”

Most places in America, you file into a line and wait. You may have had a choice of five lines but it always seems to be that the other lines appear to be moving right along and yours is standing still. So you change lines and the karma follows you as your new line went from an expressway to a standstill. And the line you just left? Well, guess what? It's moving right along now.

The lines stretch out into the paths of people who want nothing to do with the lines, but when you try to get to the other side you are greeted with evil looks fr4om people thinking you are cutting in the line.

In England, you can still have those five places to take care of your business but there is only one line. Excuse me, one queue. You wait in the queue and when the next available place is open, you go to it. It doesn't matter if it is the helper closest to you or the furthest away – you are next in the queue, so you are next to be served.

Now with this queue and everyone in this one place you would think it would stretch out through the store and out the doors and into the parking lot... and here is the next wonderful part of a queue. It goes back and forth, like one of those Sunday newspapers puzzles where you start in one place and try to find the way out. But with a queue, there is no need to try, just follow the zig-zag pattern and you move right along.

In America, you look at the back of the head of someone in front of you or you need to turn around to see who is behind you. In an England queue, you have folks on your right, on your left, in front of you and behind you... and through it all you never feel cramped. It's impossible for someone to cut in the queue and it's impossible to be in the “wrong line.” Even if there is 100 people in a queue and only two people helping them, you know you will be served in a proper way and the idea that another line is moving faster never enters your mind...

A wonderful idea from England – the queue. Not quite as good as fish and chips but it is right up there...


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