International queueing theory

Queueing up to board the Eurostar in London recently, I saw these very conspicuous signs engraved in the doors leading to the platforms

On apprend l’art de faire la queue comme les anglais.

Attributed to “Jean-Marc, Paris”. There was also a translation, something like “We are learning the art of queueing up like the English”. Is this intended to shame the French passengers into behaving well in the queue? To flatter the English? To mock them?

Of course, while the English are very proud of their queueing habits, there are greater superlatives imaginable. Historical context is crucial, though. If the French develop their skills further (and if the Germans make more progress in dismantling the European economy), perhaps one day they will be able to say they have learned “the art of queueing up like the Poles (Communist era)”. Or even the Russians. If they get really advanced, they might learn the art of queueing up like Depression-era Americans.

And that’s the pinnacle. Presumably they’ll never have to learn to queue up like these people…

holocaust victims queueing for train

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