Uniquely Qatar… See Queue, Will Jump
There are pet-hates and there are pet-hates. And then there are queue jumpers! In my book, that particular form of species rank somewhere really low. Right next to let’s say a single cell amoeba, living in one of Industrial Area’s stagnant pipes.
Just for interest’s sake I Googled ‘queue jumping’ and was pleased to see that I am not the only one who gets ticked off by it. In fact, the topic has been carefully researched and has a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to it, saying among other things that “Cutting in line, also known as line/queue jumping, butting, barging, budding, budging, skipping, ditching, breaking, shorting, or pushing in is the act of entering a queue or line at any position other than the end.”
There, a whole new set of words to describe the infuriating practice. I was thinking that they forgot to add high-blood-pressure-inducing, swearword-inspiring, aneurysm-creating, morning-, afternoon- or evening-ruining, to the list.
Believe it or not queue jumping has sub-disciplines. There’s “Sanctioned Queue Jumping” which is what we see happen at airport queues when an authority figure will give priority to a family travelling with children or the elderly, placing them at the head of a queue. This form, I am sure a lot of us can live with.
Here’s something for the number crunchers among us, from a 2006 Tasty Research:
- A person cutting in line has a 54% chance that others in the line will object.
- With two people cutting in line, there is a 91.3% chance that someone will object.
- The proportion of people objecting from behind the cutter is 73.3%, with the person directly behind the point of intrusion objecting most frequently.
Know what “Covert Queue Jumping” is? That’s when your friends or family members are in a queue at the cinema and you saunter in from somewhere and coolly join them. That form of queue jumping might be socially tolerated, but it is still cutting. Here’s the thing about queue jumping; it is downright discourteous. It’s not just the loss of one’s position in the line; it violates a social structure, an orderliness, a respect and an equality that recognises that someone else’s time is as valuable as my own.
Having lived in Qatar for a while, there is one locally prevalent form of cutting that really tops it all for me, giving rise to those aneurysms I mentioned.
And the Oscar goes to…. those using national dress as a special pass to queue jump! I’ve seen this hybrid form of queue jumping happen twice recently, but that’s twice too often. Especially because the cutters edged others away with a swish of their abayas, claiming a place for themselves based purely on the fact that they had more yards of black material on them. To be fair, it must be mentioned that everyone in local dress isn’t actually a local, but deliberately using national dress, the colour of your skin or your social standing so you can lord it over others, places those types of queue jumpers in a class of their own.
My most laid back, ‘live and let live’ friend has perfected the art of halting queue jumpers in mid-stride. She leans over and asks them in a tone, which would make the Dalai Lama proud: “Is someone you know in hospital? Are you rushing to see them? I was just wondering, because you jumped past all these people in this queue.” She claims her approach never fails!