Apologies to all those who have arrived here from Slate, Wired, Guardian, BBC and the National Review, but this queue is now over.
Samantha spent Saturday night smashing up her built-in wardrobe with a hammer. And so Sunday morning brought with it a phone-call to drive both her and a pile of plywood to her local tip.
Unfortunately her local tip is not like our rural affair in Market Harborough, but is instead smack bang in the middle of the city of Leicester and is shared by a significant number of DIY weekend enthusiasts.
Here we have an aerial shot of the queue leading into the tip, which Samantha took from the roof of our car.
It was not a fast mover, and most had turned off their engines. This however led newcomers to believe that we were parked and not queued, and so they tried to enter the skip by driving past we patient queuers, who incidentally were all tuned in to BBC Radio 4. Or so I like to think.
In the above picture is a cheeky chap who soon learns the error of his ways and is compelled to make a hasty retreat, and shown below a second chap who, clearly rather embarrassed by his unwitting attempt to queue jump, decides to turn around and leave the area completely.
There were those who avoided the queue by entering and leaving the tip on foot.
Despite signs forbidding that you should do so.
And finally, here is the queue master, the chap in neon in charge of the barrier.
Who was terribly nice and called me pal twice.
However do not let this distract from the fact that he waved in a friend driving a large white van who, after the removal of two strategically placed traffic cones, was able to enter the tip ahead of the queue.
Coming up to lunchtime on a Friday afternoon, which for a lot of people is the start of the weekend. I joined the anxious-to-get-home workers in HSBC and stood in the small queue, ready to pay in a cheque.
Although only two people ahead of me, it was a slow moving affair as those already at the counter were doing their end of week banking.
Either that or they were both going through the complicated process of purchasing endangered orangutans which are on sale this month.
A few minutes passed and the queue quickly grew, and it was at this point that the fellow who works at the welcoming desk, I suppose the concierge, approached the queue and asked if anyone was waiting to make a deposit.
Of course we were. We all were. But we all knew full well that he wanted to take us over to the machines. From past experience, there was no chance that I would be depositing my cheque into a machine. I’ve opened the slot before and found an envelope already sitting there, full of somebody else’s cash. Once in Falmouth I had a cheque disappear for two weeks and was told that there was no evidence of it anywhere, despite my receipt proving the contrary.
I stood my ground and waited in the queue, along with everyone else. However after a second attempt the concierge managed to pick off the weakest member of the queue, the lady at the very back.
A couple more minutes later and I deposited my cheque and was almost finished with the day’s banking. I just needed to see someone about getting a new card. Someone who was now stood in a queue for the Deposits machine, waiting to show the lady how to bank a cheque.
That’s him in the white shirt. Making mundane comments about the marvels of modern technology. The lady next to him made appropriate noises to show that she was impressed. But she clearly wasn’t. And neither was I. I had to wait several minutes until the pair were finished and thus created another queue in the middle of the bank. Quickly joined by two others, we all did our very best not to get in the way.
I’ve noticed in this Asda and the one in Manchester, that there is a red line that divides the tills from the main shop.
It separates the shopping experience from the packing your bags part of a shop, however this demarcation does upset me somewhat as it passes right through the queuing area.
Joining the queue till-side of the line is comforting and inclusive, however, if the length of the queue pushes one over the line, shop-side, then you are forced to stand in this newly created no man’s land.
One wants to belong to the till area but you are instead made to feel aware that you are actually in the shopping area and therefore in the way of persons still shopping. Note in the above picture how the man, made to feel self-conscious by the line, has put his trolley side on in the queue to take up less space.
I found a designer label for less at TK Maxx and so we headed to the cashier.
It didn’t take long to settle into the queue and Sarah started to deliberate over whether she should go back for that purple top or not.
Before she could decide whether she should or should not, another cashier arrived and we were called to her counter. Next Please!
By the time we walked round Sarah had forgotten completely about the top. If service had been slower, I’m sure she would have gone back for it.
There was ice falling from the sky when I purchased my petrol, and a well intentioned chap was queuing up inside to pay while his wife braved the elements and filled up their Mondeo.
That’s him to the right of the picture, clutching the Leicester Mercury. The chap at the counter actually arrived after Mr Mondeo, but wifey outside hadn’t quite yet finished filling up, so Mr Mondeo offered his place to this second chap by taking a step back from the queue and pointing towards the cashier with his Mercury.
“All yours mate.”
He stepped forward back into his place at the head of the queue, and was seemingly confident that his wife would have finished filling up by the time the second chap was finished.
However, Mr Mondeo didn’t account for Sheila coming off her break and opening up a second till. Wifey outside was still not yet finished and I was guided to Shelia by a folded Leicester Mercury.
This is why we British know not to chat in a queue.
This youtube video was brought to you today by Gary Wood.
May I thank you all for allowing me some leeway over the Christmas and New Year period, and I am well aware that I promised to stand in queues as soon as this year, that we’re already comfortably in, began. However, there does seem to be a hiatus of queues in British towns of late and I wonder if this has anything to do with the big skive that we heard much about last week.
This Saturday afternoon just past, I went to visit my older sister in the city of Leicester and was prepared to have at least three queues under my belt by the time darkness fell. Unfortunately, despite being in a prime location at a prime time, I have only two queuing situations to report on.
The first was in Tesco.
With my sister’s trolley full it was time to head to the checkouts and I anticipated, with a certain degree of excitement, that we could be in for a small wait.
Although it was at this point that Samantha realised that she’d forgotten to pick up Saturday’s Guardian, and so off I was made to trot.
And by the time I got back she was already packing.
The queue had already happened, without me in it.
Fresh out of Tesco’s car park we went to fill up at the petrol station, and I hoped that here at least there would be a small line of people waiting inside the shop.
But alas it was not to be as we could, and did, pay at the pump.
After lunch, we caught a matinee at Leicester’s Odeon and again I expected to queue.
But we were stood here only briefly and within no time at all Samantha was purchasing two adult tickets for Miss Potter.
Leaving the queuing area empty except for one small girl.
Although in the above picture you see her in a moment of contemplation, just after this photograph was taken the small girl, with the rebellious nature of a Dadaist, showed utter disregard for the rules set in place by the queue dividers, ducked under the red ribbon, and ran in a full circle around the metal stand.
Although many of us have already forgotten the momentous day that was Standinaqueue Day, I am rather pleased to say that it has not been forgotten by the lovely Dr David Brand. Yesterday in my inbox, I received his brilliant entry about a queue that he was in on November the 9th:
Here is my, admittedly rather late, contribution to StandinaQueue Day:
A few days after StandinaQueue Day, I looked at your website and thought, rather sadly, that I hadn’t actually stood in any queues on the great day. But then I realised that I had, in fact, stood in a rather interesting queue without realising it.
A new professor at the University of Brighton was due to give an inaugural lecture with the intriguing title ‘Smashing Atoms’; here’s the slightly alarming poster for it:
(I’m afraid that I have no other pictures.) Well, as I knew the Professor slightly, I felt that I should attend her lecture, so I trekked off to the University after work. The lecture room was at the back of the main building; it was comfortable, but rather cold.
We were told that refreshments would be provided after the lecture in the canteen (two floors above the lecture theatre). So, at the end of the lecture, all the academics, friends and family of the professor, and assorted hangers-on moved towards the door and the stairs. The inevitable result (since this was England) was the formation of a delightful queue of around 100 people.
William Deed, as you have so rightly stressed on many occasions, it is the essence of the English queue that there should be no talking (or any other inessential communication). In this case, however, everyone in the queue knew several other people there. The result, of course, was that the queue became noisy and rather ill-defined. People kept seeing other friends at other places in the queue, and moving one or two places towards the back or front.
Eventually, we arrived at the canteen where only two people were serving wine and food. This meant that the queue moved very slowly, but the prospect of a glass of wine was enough to keep us all happy.
As people in a queue move through it they usually walk away after they have reached the front (and been served). In this queue, though, people just moved aside a little, so that the queue gradually changed shape from a line into a kind of amorphous rectangle. People suddenly recognised friends that had been some way away from them in the queue, so there was quite a bit of shuffling around.
After taking our glass of plonk and a plate of food, we all mingled and chatted, and the noise level began to rise steadily. I’m glad to say, however, that everyone behaved impeccably, and there was no unseemly jostling.
So I did StandinaQueue on StandinaQueue Day after all. I hope that this account of a happy, chatting queue will add to the considerable body of queue research that you, William Deed are in the process of amassing for the benefit of mankind.
Today’s post is just a small Sunday entry I’m afraid, and an even smaller queue.
It was quick and hassle free, which is everything you could possibly want on a wet Sunday afternoon.
Giving me the rest of the day to read the papers, take cold and flu tablets, and eat clementines and chocolate cake in front of the open fire. I love having a cold on a Sunday.
It’s a shame that it’s not as fun on a grey Monday morning.