Dubai Musings: Queue the frustration

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Dubai Musings: Queue the frustration

Abu Dhabi's Remmie Thomas believes an inability to line-up is just not cricket

By Remmie Thomas

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Published: Sat 17 Oct 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 18 Oct 2015, 10:38 AM

Is it me, or does it seem that queuing is an alien concept to some folk?
It's been said that if British people see a queue, they have an overwhelming urge to join it, which is maybe just an observation on that famous British sense of fair play. In which case, jumping the line must be considered akin to cheating - to getting an advantage over others by unfair means.
That said, many Arab countries employ a dual queuing system, where women are entitled to form their own separate queue, a system that's long been in place at UAE bus station ticket offices. Of course the women's line is usually much shorter than the men's line, and short of dressing up in an abaya, would be difficult for a chap to circumvent. Then again, whilst working in Egypt in the 1980s, where the men's queue for train tickets at Cairo's Ramses Train Station was a veritable 'Scramble for Africa', the cannier of my male colleagues took a lady colleague along with them whenever they wanted to purchase train tickets and inserted her in the ladies' queue, thus avoiding an hour plus wait. Cue (forgive the pun) a slap up meal as compensation for the obliging lady colleague.
Hang on! Isn't this column meant to be about the UAE? Okay, so there I was the other day in a supermarket belonging to a well-known chain of supermarkets, whose brand name, for the sake of anonymity, rhymes with 'Moo-Moo'. Anyhow, whilst busily getting bags of fruit and veg weighed and priced, some ill-mannered fellow plonks a bag of mangoes on the scales.
"There's a queue," says the young lady behind the scales.
"Do you mind?" says I, handing back said mangoes to said ill-mannered fellow.
"My friend.," says the queue-jumper, cunningly implying I'm an unreasonable so-and-so.
"I'm not your friend," says I with appropriate gravitas.
Cue (you know the drill) a look that could kill from twenty paces.
Now, before anyone accuses me of hoisting the Union Jack over this queuing business by insinuating in the first paragraph that my countrymen (and countrywomen) are always agents of polite queuing etiquette, Brits are not in the least immune from jumping the line. Outside one particular mall, without so much as a "By your leave," some plummy English lady (well, she looked plummy and English, anyhow) nabbed my taxi and sped off before I could even think of initiating my infamous leaping-in-front-of-the-departing-vehicle trick - something I've been known to do on several occasions, much to the embarrassment of my kids.
All of which goes to show that apart from being a somewhat hazardous occupation at times, queuing can be one of life's little adventures.
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