The School for Queuing

I saw this article in the Daily Mail today, and to say it features one of my biggest pet hates is an understatement. I’ve blogged about this more than once! It’s simply a feature of life in Mexico City, and elsewhere in the world, but it’s one of the few things I just can’t get used to. Of all the things the British have exported over the years, why couldn’t good queuing manners be one of them?! Perhaps I should start my own ‘Queuing School’. Surrounded by more than 20,000,000 people, I feel it might be a doomed mission though!

Foreign students are to be educated in one of Britain’s most important etiquettes – how to queue properly. Our European neighbours prefer to jostle for a place on public transport, rather than form an orderly line. And, during visits to the UK, their youngsters have been upsetting the locals by barging past them in queues. Now, in a bid to smooth international relations, language schools on the Isle of Wight are being asked to provide tips to their students on the correct – and, of course, polite – way to catch a bus. The Hampshire island’s bus company, South Vectis, said regular visits were made by youngsters from across Europe, including Scandinavia, Italy and Germany. Operations manager March Morgan Huws, who has made the request to local colleges, said: ‘On the Isle of Wight we get lots of foreign language students staying with families. "In their cultures, they do not queue for buses where they live and there is a scrum every time a bus turns up, while in British culture there is a nice orderly queue. We have had quite a few complaints from residents who queue up in an orderly fashion then all those foreign students push past them. What we have said is that we will work with the language schools to provide some instructions on the etiquette of queueing. We won’t be marching the students up and down showing them how to queue, we will just leave it up to the group leaders to pass on the information." Colleges are considering the plea, but are thought unlikely to object to passing on such a gentle piece of advice. The Government has itself realised that things which are second nature to the British – such as the offer to buy somebody a new drink, in the event of an accidental spillage – are alien to many of our neighbours. The Home Office’s own Life in the UK handbook says: "Public houses or pubs, as they are known, are an important part of local life in many parts of Britain. Groups of friends normally buy “rounds” of drinks, where the person whose turn it is will buy drinks for all the members of the group. If you spill a stranger’s drink by accident, it is good manners (and prudent) to offer to buy another."

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