I have to WAIT to pay?!

Last Sunday afternoon I made the grave error of going to a central shopping mall which is notorious for being a crowded cluster fuck. I had a grand total of four items and, when I saw the line of people snaking away from the “express” check out lane, I nearly dropped my items and walked out, filled with rage at the prospect that *I* would have to wait in line to *give* them *my* money.

I feel Americans harbor a unique indignity and resentment for queuing. Rather than being seen as an unavoidable fact of life that must be endured, waiting in line is tantamount to a violation of one’s rights as a consumer and a citizen. I find Americans are much more likely to complain about having to wait and are much less patient about doing so. In the land of customer service, the customer is king and should not be made to wait. Especially not for the bill or to make payment. Who is serving who here?!

The British, on the other hand, are master queuers. British people are in their natural state while waiting in a queue; they do it automatically and naturally. On more than one occasion when I was living in the UK, I saw a British person join a queue as a default behavior, even if they could have easily avoided queuing.

For example, there were usually two registers at a Boots drug store: the main check out area near the front, and then a secondary check out in the cosmetics or pharmacy section. I would routinely do my check out at the latter two, where there were few to no customers. Meanwhile, there would usually be a long line of people at the front check out.

The queue was not something you questioned.  You just got in it. And across the pond, Americans (such as myself) are suffering from queue rage. How dare you!


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Filed under Practicalities, Service, Shopping

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