Friday, June 30

Don’t Bother Me, I’m QUEING

I love London.
London loves me.
However I have to say yet again, that I just do not get the mentality of the British people.
They are content to receive whatever the ‘powers that be’ dish out to them.
I like to think of it as ‘serf mentality’.

You see Kasamboys and Kasambettes, the peasants in the middle ages had to rely on the good will of the landholders. Whatever the landholder dished out, he would receive undying ‘thanks m’Lord’ from the poor serfs. Then the peasants would line up in an organized fashion in order to receive whatever bounty (like day old chicken scrapings) the landholder felt like bequeathing.

This phenomenon of lining up was called ‘queuing’ as in standing in a ‘queue’.

Not much has changed from the middle ages.

The common folk in Britain, direct descendants from the aforementioned serfs, still have this peasant mentality. They wait happily in line, content that they are continuing the time honoured tradition of their forbearers.

There is the issue of not disturbing the deep meditation that is queuing; which means that there could be an entire line of people that snakes its way out of the store, but heaven forbid if you ask someone to open up another register.
Your fellow queue-ers will be horrified.

The best example I could give would be the time when I went to Marks and Spencer to buy yet another baby in the USA the famously indestructible Marks and Sparks underwear. As I stood on the ever lengthening line, I noticed there were only two people working in an eight person cash register bay. Then I noticed that one of the cashiers wasn’t checking anyone out at all. All she was doing was hanging up bales of clothing returned by the last costumer.

I was getting really restless.
I looked around to ask a shop assistant to open another register, but to no avail. I started the old New York ‘hemming and hawing’, first under my breath and then louder to the tune of, “Bloody hell, if they go any slower they’ll be going backwards!”
Only to receive a multitude of disgusted looks as a reward.

Finally after fifteen minutes of this charade, I took out my mobile phone and called the store. Finally, after another five minutes of being transferred, I was put through to the Marks and Spencer Store Manager. When I told her what was going on and how many people were standing waiting, she was aghast. She apologized profusely, asked me for my name and proceeded to THANK me for reporting this because NO ONE EVER DOES.
And if no one complains, then how can they set the problem right?

Within the span of three minutes, the Store Manager replete with her medallions and managerial attitude, came marching through the throngs of people with another six shop assistants keeping pace behind her. I could almost swear I could hear the ‘union label’ music floating through the air. She quickly and efficiently placed each of the shop assistants at registers and yelled at the moron (who was still hanging up returned clothes) to get back to checking people out.

Then in a loud voice she said, “Is there a Mrs. Kasamba here?” to which I meekly (okay, maybe not so meekly) said, “Here!” She continuing in her booming voice she said to me, “On behalf of the entire Marks and Spencer company, I would like to apologize and thank you for bringing this delay to our attention. Therefore, we would like to offer you these gift certificates for the sum of ONE HUNDRED POUNDS!”

I graciously accepted the gift certificates with a short but sweet acceptance speech (well, it is the closest thing I’ll ever get to an Oscar) and after she stomped off to whip another one of her employees, I turned to my fellow queue-ers and noting how absolutely shocked they looked, I told them, “What is wrong with all of you? Why are you content to stand here for ages without complaining???? Next time you’d be better off opening your mouths.”

To which no one answered because it was my turn to pay.


At 9:14 AM, Blogger jim said...

Thank goodness, I am first in line back here, lol, that was a magnificent post, a whole days laughing, that one, I can see it all now, wonderful, indestructable underwear? lol. A store full of people and no complaining. Congratulations.

At 9:15 AM, Blogger Ezzie said...

Now that is awesome. I've never thought to actually call the store and complain in one of those situations. Brilliant, Kasamba. :)

At 9:24 AM, Blogger the only way i know said...

Great punch line!! LOLOLOL!!!
Actually -
Great punch 'Queu' - (snort - corny corny!! lol)
That was geat - NOW I know why the service in Marks has been so much improved in recent days!!

At 10:30 AM, Blogger kollel mama said...

Tell me you're kidding...LOL!!

At 10:38 AM, Blogger kishmech said...


At 10:47 AM, Blogger tafka PP said...

Oh that's just fantastic- Bless whoever invented cellphones!

At 11:28 AM, Blogger kasamba said...

Thank you!
Yes, M&S underwear could stand up the samsonite gorilla.

Try it!

Its cuz of me, babe!!!

I kid you not!!!!

It needed a little shaking up!

Thank G-d for cell phones!!!

At 11:44 AM, Blogger jemima3 said...

Hey, now I'm really cheesed off. I once did that in another store. I (politely) nagged the assistants till they opened another counter and although everybody looked aghast, they all thanked me when the queue started moving - but I was never offered a penny, yet alone A HUNDRED POUNDS!!!!

At 1:47 PM, Blogger Pretty Green Eyes said...

But, they paid you money for real???? You're too American for England!

At 4:15 PM, Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

you know...outside of New York...its the same..
You could stand in line for hours....everyone with this dumb American smile on their faces.
I was once in a restaurant and it was taking forever to get our I called the restaurant number from my table and placed the order over the phone..when they asked for my address..I said..The Table By The Window..!
They weren't amused..and certainly didnt offer me a gift certificate

At 4:32 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Where are you from originally? I would never get used to England. Great brilliant funny way of bringing out your point as usual. Thanks for the laughs.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

You just have to choose the right store to complain in!!

Pretty Green Eyes:
Yup, they did and I was able to buy a heck of alot of indestructable M&S baby grows for that- I tell ya!

You should at least have gotten free pie! ;)

Upstate NY! So that makes me a hick! And thanks;)

At 5:57 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Oh really how funny and you ended up in England. You can't get more opposite than that in every way. Cool thanks!

At 6:18 PM, Blogger A Frum Idealist said...

It's funny. I heard a shiur once being given by a British Rav. He mentioned this british queue mentality. He talked about this one time he was in Paris and saw a line taht had formed. He had no idea what the line was for, but as good brits he and his wife "queued" up.
He was getting strange looks while on line and couldn't figure out why, until he discoevered that he was standing on a line awaiting communion. LOL

On a very different note, I was once at a simcha, and the meal was buffet style. I over heard a slightly older woman saying, "I stood in line for food sixty years ago. I won't do that again".

At 7:06 PM, Blogger Limey2001 said...

Thats amazing, because usually they (we?) roll their (our?) eyes and say the rebel from accross the pond just doesn't get it.
On the other hand, watching the shvartze's standing on line in places like south africa is a site they can do it for days!!!!
100 quid??? unbelieveable!

At 7:37 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I just read it again funnier this time. Good for you, you are just like me I am ascertive and will not just take the crap but will speak up. Then again I am in NY you are not you are much braver. Just hesterical.

At 1:29 PM, Blogger ~ Sarah ~ said...

being from one of the, uh, "colonies" it sounds a little familiar. they do put magazines and cookbooks (and choccies so the kids can pester you) by the checkout to keep you entertained though but if you're not interested in that it's very clever to call, that's thinking outside the box. i mean, why else do we have mobiles (cellphones)?!

shavua tov :)

At 11:23 PM, Blogger Beingme said...

Im am sooo impressed. Would not have expected that response! Enjoy spending!

At 12:27 AM, Blogger kasamba said...

Yup, I sorta stick out here!

A frum idealist:
LOL! Talk about the WRONG queue!
About the other story- whoa- that woman should never have to stand in line for anything!

That's me- the rebel from across the pond!
Yup, 100 squidoolies!!!!
Sorry about England- ;(

Here they just think I'm insane anyway!

Out of the box is where it's at!
Gut voch!


Thank you, I shall!

At 3:43 AM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Hey I stick out and ppl think I am insane it aint so bad lol.

At 6:55 AM, Blogger Dot Co Dot Il said...

If you wore your cape on the outside, people wouldn't be so oblivious of the powers you truly possess.

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Kasamba: I'm sure the rest of the people in the queue weren't jealous...but still horrified.

One of my best uses of a cellphone was standing on a long line (queue) at a restaurant. After 15 boring minutes, I called up the restaurant, and was able to make an immediate reservation. I then said "bye" to my fellow queue-mates, walked to the front of the line, and got a table.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger the sabra said...

ah i do love 'the only way i know''s "punch queu"

and sababa how you landed up w/ the cash. good move.

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Limey2001 said...

sorry about england?????!!!!
you cant even hold back your glee!!
shame, hows hubby and the veggies taking it?

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Beautiful disaster said...

gotta hand it to ya... us brits.. we really are the peasants..
on another wonder why people walked all over me when I was in the states... ;)

At 4:45 PM, Blogger MUST Gum Addict said...

It goes both ways I guess....

Recently, on a trip to Miami, I rented a car for the MUST family and requested a car with navigation. We had a long line of restaurants we wanted to visit during our stay (a favorite activity in the MUST family), and would be lost amongst all of the over-70 drivers making right turns from left-hand lanes.

However, it turns out that when I get to my assigned Chevy Blazer, there is no navigation unit, and so I head towards the desk to get this straightened out. But there are some folks in front of me. One such person seemed to have a bit of a "problem" with his car and was using only the most colorful of languages (the kind where Mrs. Must and I try to cover our children's ears, but alas, there are only two of us and three of them...).

After the flight and bus ride to the Car Rental place, the wife and kids were a bit restless, but I pleaded with them to please be patient while we wait for this rude man to complete his mantra of making sure everyone knows that he alone is the sole reason for the existence of life and that all must obey his every whim.

Finally, the man leaves and it's our turn. I smile and make a comment like "what was the matter with THAT guy" and the kids giggle. After calmly explaining my issue with my car, he tells us how nice we've been with him and he smiles at the kids and says "I'll be happy to switch your car for you... would you mind driving a Cadillac Escalade?

So the MUST family drove around
Miami in a pimped-out chrome and leather appointed vehicle (with Uncle Moishy blaring).

Then again, I should admit that I'm a "que" person myself. I have way too much patience and would stand in line for several hours if my wife wouldn't do precisely what you did first.

At 5:10 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

It ain't half bad!

I always knew I liked you!

Hey, they looked green to me!
doesn't shakin things up feel gooood?

The Only Way is the best way!

Well, sorta sorry;)
Hubby and assorted veg are in dire need of therapy.

Beautiful Disaster:
You're Jewsih- that makes you a princess- way above the peasants!!!

Brialliant story!!!

Sometimes it does pay to stir things up!

At 5:54 PM, Blogger blueenclave said...

Kasamba, give your husband my condolences.

On the post: LOL!

At 6:08 PM, Blogger Okee said...



Nuh uh! Really? Really?


Kasamba, you rock.
You rock the house alllllll the way down.

At 9:20 PM, Blogger Sweatshop Worker said...

I can only assume you were in Brent Cross... Lord, I miss that place!

At 9:53 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

Thanks- I sure will!

Well, I have done worse....

Right you are!!!

At 11:47 PM, Blogger Karl said...

Don't you just love Americans!

At 12:48 AM, Blogger notahottie said...

you always make me laugh! anyway, good for you. i'm from new york and i go nuts if i have to wait in line for more than a minute. i'm always saying loudly to the cashier, "can you get someone else to open a register please", and when i go out of town, i always end up making fun of how slow everyone is. i mean i know they're more laid back and everything, but doesn't everyone have a job to get back to, a kid to pick up from school, or even a bad back that kills from standing in one place for so long?!?

At 8:10 AM, Blogger Nemo said...

Why don't these things ever happen to me... must be cause I'm from America where our thirty-lane supercenters are always minimally staffed with eight cashiers.... Then again, there was the time that the ATM spit out an extra twenty dollars... best day of my life.

At 9:13 AM, Blogger kasamba said...


I know, you could go nuts with all the people who take so much time- at your expense!

Actually, stuff like that happens to me all the time- BORUCH HASHEM!

At 10:24 AM, Blogger Chasidishe Shaigitz said...

LOL! :) Great story/post :) Now I'm going to be laughing in my sleep.

G'morning and g'night

At 12:13 PM, Blogger almost_frei said...

Oh man... can I relate!!!
as a NYer living in London, I have tons of stories just like yours.

It's amazing how many stares one gets when just trying to help 'move things along'!

One trick I use is to finish each complaint with 'sorry'. That word seems to calm everyone down.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger exsemgirl said...

I second Kishmech.

Don't mess with the English law of the land.
It is inherent in our English natures.

No wonder I climb the walls when I am in Israel....

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Scraps said...

Oy Hashem. It's a good thing I've trained myself not to laugh out loud at work. I must say, that surely was a stroke of genius! And it's great that you got a gift certificate out of it too!

At 4:29 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

Chasideshe Sheigetz:
Thanks and sleep well!

Almost Frei:
You're so right- sorry is like the magic word here!!!

Too late!

Thank you!!!
Glad you enjoyed!

At 4:59 PM, Blogger RR said...

LOVED this post- I read it the other day but did not have time to respond. Anyway, just wanted to say that the British sound like Americans- compared to Israelis.

Americans will usually just stand there, waiting forever, at most letting out a passive-aggressive "tsk!" or exhaling deeply. Israelis will bitch and demand that another line be opened.

Glad to see that the Americans over in the UK are doing us proud!
Good for you! I never would have thought to call the store on the cellphone!

At 11:24 PM, Blogger The Next Contender said...

Highly amusing. We English are way too polite for our own good.

It's kinda like the classic tube story. I know this is deviating from queing slightly, but all in the same vain.

A guy gets on the tube and proceeds to place 12 plastic ducks on 12 seats. As the train fills up, NO ONE and i repeat NO ONE moved a duck to sit down. they all just stood there - and i'ms ure you all know how squashed and uncomfortable it canget on the traisn during rush hour...

G-d bless the British!

At 12:37 AM, Blogger Li`l Miss said...

awesome post!
lol at tnc! that duck guy's lucky though. whenever i put my shopping bags on a seat and doze off, somebody usually wakes me up and takes the seat! though it's not usualy taken by a cultured, well-bred Englishman.

At 5:12 AM, Blogger Okee said...

Oh, dear, I just realized I'm the type of person who wouldn't move a duck... Great, now whenever I feel the need to stand up to someone, I'll think "Just mooove the duck"!

I need more backbone. Kasamba, where can I get one like yours? Do I have to go to England for it? I do like to travel...

At 8:45 AM, Blogger kasamba said...

Thanks for being proud- I stand for the American way!

Next Contender:
Brilliant story!
I could really see that happenning!

Lil MIss:
Start carrying an Uzi- you'll soon have NO problems!
And welcome!

One week, just give me one week!!!
You're welcome any time!!!

At 1:34 PM, Blogger student said...

luvin it!!!!!

have u ever noticed in england, howall the cars will stay behind each other in one lane, and no1 will use the lane, until theres someone else in it- are they scared something will happen??? but its brilliant for those of us who have th courage to be the only one in the lane and skip the queue!!

At 1:35 PM, Blogger student said...

oh, and kishmech n xsg.....ur sooooo english- get a life!!
what is inherently good or desirable about queuing that u wana preserve??

At 10:00 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

LOL- So true!!!!

At 1:17 AM, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

You'd get along well with my wife.

At 10:04 AM, Blogger kasamba said...


Ooooh, I like her already!

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