Apparently, the one thing that us English people do very well is queue. We queue for buses, for theme park rides, for films at the cinema - all sorts of things. But I don't think we do it well because we enjoy it, I think we do it well in terms of the fact that we have to do it so much. I would go as far as to say that all hate queuing, because on many occasions I have observed people going right off on one because they have had to queue.
Take today for example - I popped out to Co-Op to pick up some lunch, and when I got to the checkout there was a bit of a queue (three people), but it was moving. People were in a good mood - well as good a mood as you can be when queuing - and all was well. And then, it all went horribly wrong.
The cashier was a new member of staff. I could tell this, because he did not have a uniform on. I'm not saying he was naked - that would put you right off your packet of sausages -, he was wearing a brown check shirt. He was not a gormless teenager, he must have been at least late twenties or early thirties - so on first glance, you would have thought that he was a competent adult. Well, you'd be wrong. Suddenly, this cashier lets out a shrill, piercing cry:
'I've gone wrong! I've gone all wrong! Sorry! I've gone wrong!"
Something had gone wrong. The moment the cashier made this cry, the faces of the people in the queue changed from a vacant expression of boredom, to an eye rolling, tutting, look of anger - it was like a mexican wave of hatred. At this point, I would like to stress that I was not part of this growing lynch mob - having worked in retail for 11 years, I do have sympathy for the cashier at times like this - even though it was his own fault, and the fact that he was waving his arms around like a hysterical person was beginning to get on my nerves.
Mind you, with several people glaring at him, and complaining under their breath - as well as over their breath, and tutting and what have you, it was understandable. To a degree - the useless nerk.
I looked around for other options - there is a smaller, Kiosk cashier available (I mean the Kiosk is smaller, not the cashier - although, ironically todays kiosk cashier was the small bloke who shouts everything he says), but there was already a queue forming there. For a moment, I thought about staying in the queue I was in, but the cashier was still flapping. From what I could make out, the problem was caused by the customer asking for cash back, which was clearly an area of training the cashier was as yet to undergo.
I decided to move to the Kiosk cashier queue, and risk being deafened by shorty mcshout. Fortunately for me, another till was opened so I jumped on that one (not literally), and got myself served, and went on my merry way.
Which is more than can be said for the other people in the "queue of death". As far as I know, they are still there, waiting to be served......