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The British Passion For Queuing - Ideal English Language Courses

If you happen to be one of the happy IDEAL-Brighton/UK-customers and find yourself in one of the London airport arrival lounges where you will detect people queuing in lavatories, newsagents, cash machines, etc., welcome to Britain – the country of passion for queuing.

The other day, during my vacation in Greece, I formed an orderly “queue of one” (the American term “in one line” sounds a bit more appropriate!) at a bus stop in Thessaloniki. Obviously, I had been the only one so far waiting for the bus to arrive. However, my solitary presence did not last very long. A crowd of fellow-passengers beside me stormed the bus upon its arrival and did not pay any attention to my “orderly queue”, let alone my “British right” to be the first to get on the bus. Actually, I must have been one of the last, and I was not amused at all. Would that “disorderly behaviour” have happened in Britain? Certainly not, unless only foreigners had attempted to board any bus or coach altogether.

The public nature of queuing means that queue jumping sparks a huge sense of injustice among those in line. Other queue no-nos include striking up a conversation while queuing and standing on the wrong side of escalators. The most confusing rule for foreigners could be the practice of one person offering their place in the queue to another. The British have a very well-established culture of queuing and a very specific type of queue conduct, one that has been known to confuse many a foreign visitor.

In a time when Britain is changing rapidly, and the ways in which we queue are shifting, the psychology behind British queuing is more important than ever – it is an important key to unlocking and understanding British culture and its traits – notions of decency, fair play and democracy are among them which are all normally in short supply in our modern world. To me, it’s always a refreshing and civilised sight – a real gem and an essential part of the great British way of life!

As our valued IDEAL-Brighton/UK customer, you will be taught by us as to how to queue and behave in the queue impeccably during and after your IDEAL-stay in Britain and back home!

We would love to hear from you if you have a similar queuing system or any queuing system in your country- and if yes,please tell us how it works.

Thank you.

Peter from IDEAL-Language and Culture – Brighton/UK

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