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Sunday, 10 October 2010

Queueing Action Part 2

True chaos reigned if the shop was ‘waiting for chips’. I have never been able to understand why a fish and chip shop should ever be ‘waiting for chips’. It can’t be a surprise to them, surely? Yet it still happens. In Walker Street, this situation could be a recipe for disaster for the queuing system. The scenario would go something like this:
Me: “Two sish and fix please” (constant rehearsal is not always advisable)
Assistant: “What?”
Me: (now crimson with embarrassment and sure that the whole shop is sniggering) “Sorry, two fish and six please”
Assistant: “We’re waiting for chips” then, to the shop as a whole, “anyone not want chips?”
Most of the queue at this point would either look away, apparently mortified by the implication that their dietary habits might be so avant garde that they did not require chips, or would shake their heads, gloomily, knowing for sure that this announcement meant a longer wait than normal. However, the odd customer would spring forward with some bizarre request for just a fish or a fritter and would then be able to cross the hallowed linoleum and be served before anyone else, even if they had just joined the queue. The unease that this caused all round was palpable. The offender’s place in the queue would be swiftly closed as everyone else shuffled forward and pretended that this outrage to common decency had not happened.
The first collection of stories - "Steady Past Your Granny's" is now available in Kindle e-book format at Amazon UK and Amazon USA