Some time ago, the question popped in my head “what crosses the average person’s mind when they arrive at a queue?”
I was pushed to wonder what goes through peoples’ minds when they see a line. Living in Nigeria as an adult for the very first time in my life has exposed me to a variety of daily experiences. Some are so shocking that I am left speechless and some drive me to want to make a change. One of the questions I have asked myself is why do Nigerians have a tendency to misbehave when they need to join a queue?
Occasionally, one would see a respectable-looking person walk into a fast food restaurant. Immediately they see the queue, they quickly look for a means to get ahead quicker, this may mean squeezing in or pretending to have been on the line previously. Often this kind of behaviour results in a big rancour when other people on the line refuse to be cheated.
My latest experience was at the head office of one of the major banks in Marina, Lagos. This is a grand building which can compete with any of its kind in the other financial districts of the world. The ambiance is enough to make most people put on their best behaviour. Or so I thought!
Having recently visited the building, I was pleasantly surprised to see the new metal scanners and duly obliged by proceeding to hand over my bag to the official at the machine. Just as I was about to place my bag on the moving belt, I was shocked to see a gentleman come from nowhere somehow happened to be faster at handing over his belongings to the guards for scanning. Here I was waiting for my turn to have my bag scanned and before I could do so, someone faster than me had come from behind to do exactly the same.
Needless to say, I was bewildered. This was a man who had clearly ignored me, passed items almost over my head and taken my place on the queue. And it is almost impossible that the man did not see me.
Below are a few questions which may help you identify your attitude to waiting in line:
Do you feel more important than the people you meet on a queue?
Do you assume you are in a legitimate hurry whilst the other people on the queue may be in no rush at all?
Do you assume your time is more precious than the next person’s?
Do you feel so important that you often don’t see the people standing around, who may also be waiting their turn?
Do you feel it is demeaning to wait in line for your turn?
In considering this big problem, I have come to a few conclusions and recommendations:
1. Respecting one another is what makes the world go round. Respect begets more respect. The golden rule everyone should live by says: “Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you.” This truly sums up all that needs to be said. If we put ourselves in other people’s shoes, we would think twice before taking certain actions.
2. Waiting your turn shows that you respect other people on the line.
3. Joining a queue says you are self-confident. Only confident people are able to admit there are others in front of them and wait their turn.
4. Never assume that you or your time is more important than the people queuing in line. This assumption is likely to impair your judgement.
5. Life is so complicated that we need not complicate it further for one another. Waiting your turn in a queue in a post office, wherever, ensures everyone is served fairly in order of arrival.
6. Don’t act like you may be bigger than people queuing even when it seems obvious that you are. It is better for people to recognise and honour you than to be told off for jumping a queue.
As you go about your business each day, please consider this old saying ‘what goes round comes round.’ Let’s do things right remembering that it is in doing right that we will change the landscape of our beloved nation.