There’s a few things British people are solidly, unquestionably good at. Passive aggression, specifically in office-based situations. Complaining, except really, really politely. Colonialism. And, top of that (very orderly) list? Queueing.
We love a queue, don’t we. We love the blank, passive act of queueing. Ever been in a situation – in a European airport, maybe, or in Greggs or something – where people just start… not queueing? The subtle shift in the air as someone wantonly disobeys the innate, unspoken rules of the queue. The anxiety. The fear. The horror. The anger. The relief when a mild-mannered middle aged woman extremely politely says “excuse me, but there’s a queue?” and the offender skulks to the back.
Anyway: look at this queue, then.
The photo, taken by London-based Andrew Last and posted on Reddit, shows a spontaneous queue. No barriers involved – just an omnipotent sense of DECENCY and FAIRNESS and DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG I’VE BEEN STOOD HERE YOU CAN’T JUST BARGE IN FRONT OF ME.
The queuers were snapped at the O2 waiting to see Ed Sheeran.
“People were obeying the invisible lines perfectly for the couple of minutes I was watching before I snapped the picture,” Last told the Evening Standard. “They had just started letting people into the venue, so the queue had started to move but no one was trying to barge in.”
Other Redditors shared their own, uniquely British, approach to queueing.
“Being British, and rarely travelling alone, I had never never really noticed how other countries aren't that fond of queueing until this year. I was flying to Cairo and had a stop over in Frankfurt, and when I came to boarding everyone just stood around, in like five different lines, pushing to get to the front.”
“I literally didn't know what to do, so I just stood quietly to the side and waited for it to die down. After about five minutes there were about 10 other people behind me, all looking over in a mixture of confusion and disgust. Turns out I'm so British I had started a queue of other British people without realising. Obviously, being British, I didn't actually speak to them to find out, but I overheard a few 'cheers' that confirmed my suspicions.”
Ed himself isn’t a stranger to queueing, either.
Well done, Britain: we have the shittest superpower ever.