English national habits – QUEUING

Queuing is a national habit in England, and it is polite to wait your turn. George Mikes called queuing the English ‘national passion’. He wrote, ‘An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one.’ It’s but natural for the English to follow their queuing rules, they do it instinctively, without even thinking about it. And this national habit should be respected.

One of the worst mistakes visitors to England can make is to get on a bus without waiting their turn. If you jump the queue (пройти без очереди), the other people in the queue will probably not complain loudly, but frown (хмуриться), raise eyebrows, cough and sign (кашлять и вздыхать), look at the jumper with contempt (с презрением). One should be able to read these secret signs of disapproval (неодобрения) and apologize.

Drivers in cars become very aggressive, if they think you are jumping the queue in a traffic jam. The same concerns any other kind of queue jumping. People respond in a very emotional way if someone pays to bypass a hospital waiting list to get an operation more quickly.

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© 2012 Школа Китайгородской