You’ll have to forgive the terrible and rather obscure historical pun in the title, but this is one thing I can’t get used to in China and it’s irking me more and more as time goes by.
Without wanting to be too much of an Orientalist… Chinese people (well at least those in Beijing) just don’t queue very well. I hate it. I love China but I hate the lack of queues. I can’t think of anything that has pissed me off more here than watching fairly well-off and educated people crowding literally a milimetre in front of an elevator door without bothering to leave any room for folks who might want to get off. Then when the doors do open and people are trying to get off, they swarm in and it becomes a tussle to get out of the fricking elevator. And, naturally, this leads to stupid situations where you have a fairly full elevator where the person who’s getting out on floor three is at the back of the elevator because he/she rushed in first, while the person getting out on floor nineteen is practically up against the door because he has a modicum of politeness.
It goes for queues in shops without a ridgid till system. I was at McDonald’s for the first time in China the other day on a Friday night (we’re talking about 12.30 am here) and trying to form an orderly queue was nearly impossible. People would come in, waltz up to the front of the queue and begin edging their way in until they got to give their order. It also happens in any local shops you might go to. It drives me insane.
So I’m loving China. Not loving the lack of queues at the moment (and for some reason women seem to be the worst culprits). Next-up – I’ll be whinging about a 30:1 shop-assistant-to-customer ratio in various Chinese malls.