Pret A Manger & Greggs, London

November 21, 2006

We have another entry for International Standinaqueue Day.

I am very pleased to welcome Picklin Paul the Prince of Pickles who reports on two queues from London town. He has also thrown in an extra queue from Chicago O’Hare which, although international, was unfortunately not taken on Standinaqueue Day. But, as we’re all friends here, I don’t think that anyone will mind this inclusion.

Without further ado:

Overall, I really enjoyed my day of queuing but I really could do with some advice on the art of queue photography. As you can see I missed queues and failed to capture complete queues. Mainly this was due to a shyness about taking a picture and then having to remain in the queue. This explains the rather furtive first picture shot at waist height – it was a shame I forgot to turn the flash off therefore completley negating any attempt to hide my photography.


The first queue of the day was in Pret A Manger. There was only one queue for four servers which always leads to tension as opportunists try and jump in. Notice the gentleman all in black standing slightly outside the queue, attempting to block any attempted queue jump.

He wasn’t helped by the man on the coffee machine (you can just see him on the far left with a baseball cap on). He was asking people in the queue if they wanted a coffee. This allowed the more assertive queuer to get their order in first. Surely this practice negates the whole point of the queue?

Next a retrospective queue photograph from Greggs.


Being new to the art of queue photography I wandered in unprepared and found a short queue and an efficient server. I left with a pasty but no photograph. You will just have to imagine the service.

Finally, not a queue from Standinaqueue Day but a rare oddity. A highly regulated queue from America.


This one was for passport control at Chicago O’Hare airport. On a recent trip to the States I found that automation and a highly effective table service culture had made queues a rare experience. But as you can see they can queue when they want to. The flags helped to emphasis that everyone was welcome in this queue – how’s that for professionalism?

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4 Responses to “Pret A Manger & Greggs, London”


  1. What is the proper queue ettiqute on queue photography I wonder? Like Picklin’ (I hope you don’t mind the abreviation Picklin Paul the Prince of Pickles) I also found myself a touch on the shy side when taking my snaps, prefering the no flash option.

    If there is no established one, do you think it’s time to create it?

  2. williamdeed Says:

    Yes, flash photography is a bit of a no no.

    I have a new camera phone and the other day I forgot to turn off the flash, the thing went off in the face of a queuer in Tesco, Edinburgh. If this should occur, the trick is to ignore that is has and look like one who is texting. British people are willing to accomodate in pretending that nothing has happened.

    So, when out in town, always make sure that both your flash is off and, if your camera makes a noise when taking a photo, that your sound is also off.

    When it comes to actual photography, I’m a little wary of taking pictures at bum height, as this can look suspicious, especially if there are teenage girls in the queue. You will draw less attention to yourself if, again, you pretend you are texting or something similar, but with the phone held at a higher height. To make this believable, keep nearly all of your attention on the screen, as these days no one knows of what your phone capabilities are, and you could be doing any number of things.

    These are, however, precautions that I take when in a smaller town or village. When in a city, such as Edinburgh, Sheffield or London, I just snap away. It’s amazing how culturally accepted this has become in the last few years, and people do not bat an eyelid.

    Although this is when using a camera phone, I think people would give you funny looks if you were using just a camera.

    We ignore each other so much in modern society that the trick is, mostly, just the confidence to do it.

    If you have any more questions, shoot away.

  3. Gary Wood Says:

    I took some photos in a sandwich shop today WilliamDeed. People saw me and whispered.

    I think they thought I was a health inspector. I’ll go in tomorrow and see if it is a little cleaner.

    Sometimes I pretend to be calling somebody and then press the button with my ear – it is tricky and usually results in a slanted photo of nobody.

  4. williamdeed Says:

    Ah yes, Gary Wood you just reminded me.

    I do have another tactic for taking pictures. If I need to get a higher angle and cannot do so from the pretend texting position, then I simply scratch my nose, with phone in hand, and snap away.

    Although I have noticed that this does tend to give you greasier skin in the T zone area.

    Which sandwich shop was it Gary Wood? And was it dirty?


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