(Photo courtesy of Joumana Haddad)
I always enjoy reading Joumana Haddad‘s articles. This one’s hilarious yet so true.
Lebanese people do not queue. This aversion to waiting patiently for their turn in anything, at any given time and place, is so common, so “natural” and innate, that you’d think it’s written somewhere in their genes: The Swedish are blond. The Chinese have slanted eyes. And the Lebanese don’t, won’t, can’t queue. It is a (para)scientific fact.
Every single day, I experience first-hand encounters with this phenomenon. Take yesterday for example. I was waiting in line for my turn at a payment desk in one of Beirut’s malls, and a guy suddenly appeared from nowhere, and headed directly to the cashier, completely ignoring my presence and that of three other women in front of me. Maybe we were invisible, because the stud didn’t even look our way. What’s worse is that the three ladies standing ahead in line were going to let him get away with it. But I wasn’t. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t: That’s the kind of things that are written in my genes. As soon as he stretched out his hand with the bill and credit card, I stepped forward and asked him to wait in line like the rest of us. He gave me one of those “you talkin’ to me?” looks, so I gave him the “you’re an asshole” look. When the cashier agreed with me, the de Niro aficionado had to surrender and go to the end of the line mumbling something about “crazy people.” What can I say? Guilty as charged.
Also yesterday, another similar scene in the evening at a hip restaurant in downtown Beirut. A guy (again) walks in, apparently without a reservation. When the hostess told him there is a half an hour wait for a table, his nerves (already pressured by his dire need to impress the 30-years-younger-than-him woman hanging at his arm) couldn’t handle it. He started screaming at the employee, and insulting the management of the place. “You don’t know who I am” seemed to be his favorite catchphrase, since he repeated it more than a dozen times before storming out. And yet no, the hostess didn’t know “who he was,” neither did the rest of us dining there.
Read the full article [Here].
Three years ago I was at my bank waiting in line. A man entered and went straight to the counter. He was asked to stand in line. He did, but while murmuring: “shu ni7na bi Souriyya?” (We live in Syria?)
i wa in a bank and they wanted to introduce a queuing system by placing those poles wih the red rope. anyway we were queuing and this older dude walks in straight to the counter speaking to the bank manager. while he was completing the transaction he said to him ” jean, why have you huys put this here, someone could trip on it and hurt themself” haha classic !
i also noticed that while flying to lebanon, all the way through various transits people behaved and queued etc. but for some reason the same people didn do this at beirut. haha
Haha…hilarious. By the way I am often bothered by elderly women sneaking in front of me at the butcher queue in supermarkets – pretending i am not there.
There is an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, where Larry David boasts that he invented the “chat and cut”. It’s an old trick, where you pretend to recognize an old friend who is in an advanced position in a queue, chat with him a little, then stand right behind him as if you were here all the time…
@Fouad: This was one of my favourite moments of the latest season. I especially like the fact that Larry ends up convincing the guy waiting in line that he’s “kind of” being used by this “supposed” friend whom he once met 8 years ago.
I don’t think the situation with queuing in Lebanon is that bad though. You do need to be extra careful about what’s happening around you. On more than one occasion, I’ve had to address the person trying to sneak in to let them know there’s a queue. Usually they respond positively/apologize and go back to the end of the line.