guide to queuing etiquette

A Gentleman’s Guide to Queuing Etiquette

Queues are something we experience all the time. It doesn’t matter if you go to a supermarket, stop by a bank, visit a doctor, or wait at the airport; you experience queuing.

Now, even though queuing is so commonplace, people still tend to forget the proper etiquette of it. And queuing etiquette is very important, unless you want to end up like this lovely lady:

So on that note, let us start with the first rule of A Gentleman’s Guide to Queuing Etiquette.

RULE ONE
Do not skip the line

queue jumping

Call it whatever you want — line jumping, queue jumping, butting or skipping the line — the fact is, nobody likes it. You could almost call line-skipping a social taboo. Yet, people still tend to do it.

Some skip ahead in the queue thanks to, as Ringo Starr would say, “a little help from my friends”. A person already waiting in a queue would let someone in, with no regard for people standing behind.

As we’ve learned in school, though, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

If you plan on jumping the queue in the near future, expect some pushback. Average queue-standers are 54% likely to object to someone butting in. When the number of queue-jumpers, well, jumps to two, the likelihood of objection rises up to 91.3%!

The bottom line is, unless you have a legitimate reason to cut in line, you’d better not do it.

RULE TWO
Respect other people

queue respect other people

One important thing to realize is that you are not the only person in the queue (unless you literally are). It may sound obvious but hey, even obvious stuff needs to be spelled out from time to time.

It is quite irritating when a person behind you is talking in your ear as if it was their property. The waiting is annoying as is, so having someone noisy and disturbing is a quick recipe for disaster.

Here’s what this looks like in real life:

RULE THREE
Mind the personal space

personal space in queue

Another thing that you should be aware of is personal space. You don’t need to stand so close to others that they can feel you breathing.

Look, it’s very simple: invading other people’s space won’t make waiting any easier. On the contrary, small irritations like that will surely escalate the already-present tension.

Be mindful of others and leave some gap between you and other people. Studies show that 8-16 inches is what people generally consider their personal space. It’s best to err on the side of caution, of course.

From the Bible’s less-known passage: Stand as close unto others as you would have like them to stand unto you.

RULE FOUR
Keep your anger low

custoemr anger management

We get it, we’ve all been there. Anger is a very human reaction, especially so when you’ve been standing in one place for god knows how long.

At the same time, taking out your frustration on other victims of mismanaged queues is not the way to go about it. Ask yourself this: would you have liked to get shouted at?

Probably not.

Be patient about it. Inform the person responsible for queuing about your issue, and see if they can do something about it. In supermarkets, they open new waiting lines when they overcrowded lines.


We hope that the tips above will help make your queuing less stressful. And if you are the one responsible for managing queues, why not get help from a queue management system?

(God knows you need this help.)

Qminder has been field-tested to reduce waiting times by more than 50%. That’s 50% less frustration, anger and confusion, and 50% more satisfaction.

Make customers fall in love with your queues.

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