While it has been claimed that queuing patiently is an inherent part of the British psyche, most pensioners know that it’s a perennial irritation in an unnecessarily large number of routine activities. However, with a little ingenuity, you can usually sidestep the waiting and gain considerable satisfaction from undermining the accepted etiquette.
Shouting ‘cake’ several times in succession will often convince others in the queue that you’re psychotic, while feigning a heart attack is a well proven ploy for forward movement. Starting to undress usually embarrasses three or four people out of the queue, especially if it reveals heavily stained underwear that looks in imminent danger of descending to the floor. Taking an unusual pet, such as a giraffe, tapeworm or jug of scorpions, will unsettle a good number, as will showing people the contents of your handkerchief and pushing a large needle through your tongue.
Never join a queue without knowing its exact purpose, as this could inadvertently lead you to buying postal orders, acquiring seats for Katie Melua concerts or being given a large bag of rice and a tent.
Always set a limit on the amount of time you spend in any queue, but if you are close to the front when the cut-off point is reached, it’s permissible to sound a very loud klaxon in the ear of the person(s) ahead in order to frighten them out of the way.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world’s longest queue was formed at Glastonbury in 1997, when 83,742 people stood in line to use the communal portaloo. The shortest queue consisted of seven dwarves waiting for their tea during a break in rehearsals for Snow White at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton.