How to Queue

In the noble art of queuing Britain stands first, second and third amongst the nations of the world principally because the other nations of the world aren’t really queuing up for that kind of recognition.

To join a queue you need to judge distance very accurately; allow the same amount of space as you would to dance with your Aunt Erica at a wedding. Beware of leaving too much space otherwise you’ll become that horrible chink in the queue through which people pass. If you can touch the person in front of you with your tongue, you’re too close.

When you’re in a long queue you must all look in the same direction. It simply isn’t done to face backwards as this is tantamount to an invasion of privacy. If people can’t see the back of your head, they won’t know you’re in front of them. Let’s face it, we would never have got off the beaches at Dunkirk if our lads had all been facing different directions.

Long queues inch forward and it’s vital that you take every inch when presented. You can’t wait until a couple of feet have opened up and then make a big leap forward because the person behind you will immediately ask, ‘Are you in the queue?’ by which they mean ‘Don’t you even know how to queue properly?’ Queues edge forward even when the front isn’t going anywhere. When you’re in a queue it’s advisable not to lean or tilt forward because the three hundred people behind you will all budge up into the vacant inches and you’ll never get them back.

There is a hierarchy in queues. Being first in the queue is next to godliness. Being able to see the front of the queue is excellent. Being able to see people who can see the front is not bad. Seeing nothing but queue is not good and being at the very back of the queue is dreadful. The only thing that’ll make you feel better is when some poor loser joins the queue behind you.

Some queues get a little bit messy and to the outsider it may not be immediately apparent who is in front. However, every single person in the queue has a mental photo-finish picture of exactly who is where. That’s why queue jumpers are the lowest form of life as they offend our deep sense of fair play. People who lead crushingly oppressed lives will stand for just about any indignity but god forbid if anybody should push in a queue in front of them.

Queuing is a serious, skilled occupation and you’ll notice that loving couples never claim to have met in a queue. Unless you’ve got a back of the neck to die for, you shouldn’t expect to score there either.


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