Saturday, 28 July 2007

A very British skill?

Here in Frejus I am enjoying the sunshine and fresh air sitting outside our caravan whilst engaged in a battle of wits with my wife who is trying to con me out of the last Harry Potter book.

We had agreed to read a chapter each alternately but somehow she is already about five chapters ahead of me as we pass the half way point.

No I won't give any spoilers , I am enjoying it so far and will attempt a review as usual in due course.

Anyway I am actually blogging to report something which struck me with great force yesterday while I stood in the middle of a "hypermarche" trying to buy a TV.

What struck me was this;

The French are much better than us Brits when it comes to queues.

What I mean is that the French are better at creating them, managing them, being in them, everything. All aspects of queueishness appears to be more developed over here than back home. Let me explain.

We wanted to buy a TV, along with a trolley load of other stuff. First we queued a the checkout along with everyone else. The mme on the checkout said that we couldn't pay for the TV there but had to go back to the electrical department because they sorted out the guarantees.

Ok, so my wife and daughter went through the checkouts, and I grabbed the TV and manhandled it back to the electrical area. I queued up at the central service area there and when I reached the front of this queue I was then waved to one end of the service area and another queue. After queueing here I was presented with a piece of paper and asked to sign, I am a bloke, so I first signed it, and then noticed it was for three times the cost of the TV.

The papers turned out to be for the chap behind me and I didn't have any because the papers can only be generated by the sales staff who wander about the open areas of the shop. They are a bit of a cross between gallic Mr Peacock and the velociraptors from Jurassic park. unfortunately the velociraptors were shy of me so it took a little guile to corner one and eventually I persuaded him that I did want to buy the TV I had been carrying around for the last twenty minutes.

We then had to complete a questionnaire on a mini laptop he had. Realising I was English he skipped most of it, although I did notice he completed my birth date as 1/1/1960, which meant he overestimated my age by 7 years.

A rare burst of fluency from me back at the service point when I reached the front of that queue for the second time - "Deja Vue" I said to the Madame there with a french shrug (or my best impression of one ) and the performance earned me a smile.

Thirty five minutes, most of it queueing. Quality queuers these French.

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