Archive for September, 2006

KFC on Ecclesall Road, Sheffield

September 30, 2006

I’ve never been to KFC before.

I know, I couldn’t quite believe it myself.

There wasn’t a clear queue in place and, to be frank, it mattered to me not.

I was utterly baffled by the many menus of differently named chicken buckets which all seemed to be exactly the same.

I still had no idea on what to order when a space opened up at the counter and I feared that we were going to be next.

Which we were. I panicked and chose one of the high end buckets for about 12 quid.

Which was upped by the KFC chap in a cap to 15 quid with gravy, beans and some Pepsi thrown in. “You might as well,” he said. So I did.

I hate Pepsi.

Not only was I hoodwinked, but the queue experience passed by unnoticed. Luckily, we had plenty of time to observe consequent customers.

These two fellas were right behind us and were veteran visitors to KFC. Their order was confident and assured, with no changes made.

The next pair of gentlemen entered and finished their conversation before glancing at the menu boards. They were in no hurry to form a queue and I noted that this may have been a necessary period of acclimatisation.

Keeping the same position at the back of the premises, they counted pennies and debated their order.

Only once they were ready to order did they then approach the counter.

Blinking like freshly born lambs, these two also needed a period of acclimatisation upon entering.

However they skipped the decision making stage, cautiously approached the queue, and joined the previous two gentlemen in the pensive stage of arms crossed and mouths open.

At first, it looked liked the men in front were going to order separately and the young couple remained in a state of meditation.

But once they realised that the men were ordering together, the young couple were quickly panicked into making a chicken bucket decision.

The first two men ordered a chicken bucket and no extras. They knew what they wanted and they got it.

It is not surprising to learn that the young couple were convinced to buy gravy, beans and diet Pepsi on top of their order.

Sheffield Union

September 30, 2006

Neither Gary Wood nor I are students anymore. But that didn’t stop us.

In we popped to the Union to buy Saturday’s Guardian for the student price of 60p.

We joined the back of the quiet, hungover queue that smelled of Lynx with a hint of alcohol.

It was a slow moving affair and by the time we reached the chewing-gums Gary Wood wanted to leave for fresh air. Of course I didn’t let him, and once we’d entered the official queuing area there was no chance for him to turn back.

Upon reaching this point not only was I chuffed with my imminent saving of 60p, but some considerate fellow had also detached some of the queue lengtheners so that we could cut through, straight to the tills.

With customer numbers lower at the weekend, this makes perfect sense, and it’s this lovely attention to detail which you’ll never find in the cold harsh world of bank queues.

Sheffield City Centre

September 30, 2006

When you wake up and find Gary Wood on your sofa at half-nine on a Saturday morning, you know you’re in for a good day.

Off we trotted into town for a cup of tea and to take in the sights.

You can tell by the queue that this is a nice part of town.

This is where a lot of the banks are and again, impeccable queuing.

But then the mood changes when you pass Pizza Hut towards the bottom end of town.

The lady with the red bag was determined to shoulder barge her way into this queue. Not very English you may say, but at least she’s doing it at the back of the queue and not near the front.

The man on wheels was left to wait outside while his wife went in to queue.

Once in Rotherham I saw a lady on wheels enter Two Queues Greggs. Her queuing was unremarkable and she, like us all, eventually made her way to the front.

When she wanted to leave however, she didn’t attempt to turn around inside the shop, instead she merely shifted her wheels into reverse.

Without fuss, the queue responded quickly and moved like a wave as she exited the shop. It was very beautiful to watch.

Cooplands, Rotherham

September 29, 2006

A sad day today. My last day in Rotherham and so my last day visiting Cooplands.

Ah, Cooplands. Beautiful queue on the right; single file with everyone in order, everyone facing the right direction.

Once at the front of the queue, you join the counter where appropriate and place your order.

Take note Greggs. Simple, efficient, and easy for even the young to use.

Goodbye Cooplands of Rotherham.

With your ‘ta love’ and your ‘want butter, duck?’, you have been kind to me and my soft Southern accent.

You will be missed.

West Street, Sheffield

September 29, 2006

A hole in the wall queue that was bubbling with excitement and stinking of aftershave. Full of happy freshers flirting with each other and making sure that they had enough cash to blow on 2 for 1 WKD, which is always enough to make themselves sick.

Fortunately, I was just passing by.

Saw a queue which you must always go to the front of.

Although students think they can pick whichever cab they fancy, which irritates the hell out of the drivers. Bloody students.

Tesco Express on West Street, Sheffield

September 29, 2006

Had just had a cheap curry at Weatherspoons and wanted some Maryland Cookies to eat in front of Question Time.

Great queue this. Newcomers to this Tesco branch are often dismayed to see such a long queue for just one till. But round the corner, hidden behind the crisps, are a couple more tills that you’re also queuing for.

A lovely relaxed layout that gives you a nice suprise when you get closer to the front.

Although recently freshers have been seen loitering in the queuing area, and it is quite common to think that you’re in the queue when actually you’re stuck behind four non-queuing students chatting about how drunk they were last night. Very annoying.

Although my mood was not spoiled for long as it was two for a pound on Marylands. Brilliant.

Showroom, Sheffield

September 27, 2006

Anna and Ken were soon to come but, even though we had time to spare, Paul and I decided to join the growing queue.

That’s the back of his head in the bottom left.

The Showroom has an utterly charming queueing area when you’re not in a hurry to catch the start of a film.

Lots of interesting leaflets on cultural things to do in and around Sheffield line the left hand side of the queue.

In front of us, a group of young ladies were enjoying a natter to pass the time.

Although I do wish she’d face the front.

One of the rules of a queue is that everyone faces the right direction otherwise you’re confronted with the face of a total stranger, which makes it hard to know where to look and it is quite uncomfortable for everyone.

Luckily, Anna and Ken soon arrived as a distraction.

We greeted each other and then Anna pointed out to Ken that there was a queue, which implied that they should join the back.

“Don’t worry about it,” I said, as Anna and I normally save a place for each other in the queue. And so they stood with us till the front.

But of course, we should have worried about it. Whereas one queue jumper joining one solitary person in the queue at the cinema is perfectly acceptable. Two people joining two people is not.

It was a social blunder and by the time we reached the front of the queue I was hot with shame for making the two lovely ladies behind us wait longer than necessary.

Especially as paying together became too complicated, and so we all paid separately which took even more time.

And the worst thing about it was that the ladies’ behaviour was impeccable.

They neither sighed not tutted at the youth of today in front of them .

There they are, examples to us all, behind Anna and Ken who are at the front of the queue.

Tesco, Glossop

September 26, 2006

Just your average Tesco.

The sign above says “10 items only please”, which I think is too specific. I had only two.

As they are express tills, there is one at the front and one at the back, facing either direction. The man underneath the sign was strategically hovering at the back of the tills in order to hog both queues, and so was able to take the first available.

Although quite far from the furthest till, I thought this position very clever and decided to follow suit, and so I attempted to be a man in two queues.

The till furthest from me looked like it would be free first and so I started to step towards it.

But suddenly, from behind the freshly cut flowers, came an old lady with dog food and frozen peas. Without shame she put her items into the basket by the till and I was forced into retreat.

So I took the till on the left, and the lady from before was just finishing being served.

I noticed that she had two carrier bags filled with no fewer than fourteen items, but I suppose she was closer to ten than me.

Lunch Basket & Bakers Oven, Rotherham

September 25, 2006

The charm of the olde style gothic font is somewhat offset by the boarded up window.

Inside was cosy, and I took position at a respectful distance behind the only customer.

Unfortunately, I should have probably stood closer to the lady, as the next customer came in and stood on the left next to the counter and I feared that I may have lost my place.

But the fear of losing my place was soon eclipsed by the fear of my embarrassment, which was already starting to rise in empathy with the gentleman’s embarrassment for when he would realise that I was next.  

Once the first customer had finished being served, the lady behind the counter was aware that I was next but did not want to not acknowledge the gentleman waiting right next to the counter, and so simply said “Next please” and looked at the two of us in turn.

Much stuttering and muttered apologies ensued and I was, now to my shame, served first.

The gentleman stood at a respectful distance behind me while I was being served, away from the counter. But then a lady in a badly fitted suit entered the Lunch Basket and stood to my left, right next to the counter and in front of the poor gentleman.

Once served I left as quickly as I could.

Unfortunately the roll I had was not filling enough, and so in town I decided to buy another from Baker’s Oven.

The Bakers Oven is split into two; the restaurant and a very small takeaway bakery.

Inside the bakery there was less room than there was at the Lunch Basket. But luckily for everyone, we had decided to forgo personal space and stand as close as we could to each other so that queue confusion would not have the chance to appear.

Waitrose, Sheffield

September 23, 2006

I’m not sure why Waitrose chose a white colour scheme for a petrol station.

Petrol is far from the pure and saintly qualities that white suggests, but with unleaded at 85.9p a litre I was willing to turn a blind eye.

The garage was pretty much empty when I arrived. I filled up, picked up a copy of the guardian, and stood in the queue of just two people.

The lady at the front of the queue was taking rather a long time to be served. She had a large amount of purchases which had to be passed one by one through the small square hole in the perspex barrier which, as Sheffield is a low crime city, is there to protect the cashier from catching the common cold.

Two minutes later and the queue ahead of me was still looking the same.

And the queue behind me was starting to build up, and most of the pumps were also now blocked with empty cars waiting for their owners. Out of the two pumps that remained, one man had already started to rapidly turn his car around, ready to reverse into the space.

The speed at which he reversed showed signs of agitation. And now there were cars queuing at the pumps and to get into the station. There were a couple of sighs behind me and I realised that the perspex safety barrier was directly having an effect on the service being provided and creating the hostile atmosphere which it was there to protect against.

Maybe they thought the white would be calming.

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