Monday, 30 August 2010

Brits are losing their patience to queue [Britanicii îşi pierd răbdarea de a sta la coadă]

People waiting orderly and patiently in a queue, wherever and whenever, is known to be a quintesentially British thing.

I could bear witness that such queues were living evidence of British civility, and no one or very few Brits appeared to be ‘disgusted’ with having to wait in a queue, as it often happens in Romania.

Since the days when food was rationed, an entire ‘culture of queuing’ developed in Britain, with an array of posters reminding people where to wait in order to be served.

Apart from these, especially designed pieces of urban furniture try to manage the crowds. I have already given a example, and here’s another one – a bus shelter where passengers can wait in line on one of the windy bridges of Edinburgh.

However, it seems that this example of British civility is on the wane, as Brits are less and less willing to queue, even if this means renouncing the pleasure of shopping.

In 2004, the average time a Briton was willing to queue in a high street shop was five minutes. That dropped to two minutes, while 51% of Brits won’t even enter a store where they notice a queue. It seems impatience grew as online shopping increased.

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Natalia said...

I find queuing to be a very nice British feature :). I see it as a demonstration of a respect towards other people and myself. But it seems that the word 'impatience' is too general (i.e. it may lead to different actions: neglecting other people in an attempt to be served earlier or not wasting time in this particular queuer but go to another shop where generally the same goods can be bought). On my point of view, the British impatience is due to the high cost of time, and it's always a pity to waste it :).

MunteanUK said...

Hello Natalia,

I see that, at least according to your comment, you don't really see the Brits becoming more and more 'impatient', as the article I linked to implies :-)

But as long as you admit that this supposed 'impatience' could be excused by the need not to waste time, maybe "there is no smoke without a fire", and the article may not be entirely wrong :-)

Natalia said...

I did not mean that the article is wrong, in contrary I found it very interesting (sorry, I'm always told that I don't express myself clear enough). I'll try again ;), I think that phrase 'losing patience' is a very strong claim which can be interpreted differently :).

MunteanUK said...

Hi Natalia,

I agree that the syntagm "losing patience" may have different interpretations, but I didn't want to have this 'politically correct' answer from your part.

What I wanted to know was whether - given your personal experience in Britain - you find that the Brits are more impatient than how they were described to be.

Personally - and especially when comparing them to Romanians - I find Britons are really patient, calm, cold-blooded...

As for you, why is it that you find the article interesting? Does this mean that you (at least partly) agree with it? :-)

How patient are the Brits (+ foreigners settled in the UK)compared to the nations living in Kyrgyzstan, for instance?