If you have ever entered an "horno" (bakery) or approached the counter ("mostrador") for "fiambres" (coldcuts) or at marketplace stand, were waiting to be served, and wondered what that person who approached it had just asked you, chances are it was one of the following:
"¿Quién es el último [en la cola]?" (Who is the last person [in line]?)
"¿Hay que coger número/turno?" (Does one need to grab a number/turn?)
|The classic turn dispenser in a supermarket.|
|And once you have your number, look for this digital display to wait for your turn.|
And anyone who upsets this neat system of lining up is as likely to irritate and leave locals indignant as one would upset a Brit or American if they cut in line. (Ah, the everyday morality dramas of "first come, first served" commercial ethics.) So, yes, Spaniards do know how to queue, they just do so virtually.
|And everything is relative. Apparently one Galician blogger believes that the Chinese|
are even more chaotic than the Spanish at forming a line.
But there are exceptions and lapses in this system. The worst case is at airports, where the gate line for a flight can often turn into a mass of people all glutted around the ticket check, no real line whatsoever. I've begun to suspect, however, that this is more because of the presence of guiris than Spaniards. In their time on holiday in Spain, I think foreigners get the wrong impression that it is laissez faire at the queue, and so many a time I have noticed it is the Brits or Germans who are rushing past the line to the front of the gate, which only spurs on the Spaniards to reciprocate… leading to the
|"In a rush," to the left. "In no rush," stand to the right. The Valencia Metro's|
effort to inculcate in its citizenry a common English protocol.