The Art of Queuing

I went back to France. Again. Why? Easy. I had been the opportunity of

being accepted for the 2nd year of this Master Degree in Business and Foreign Languages, wine specialization (Négociateur Trilingue en Commerce International, Parcours Vin). But I am not a student anymore. Like all the other student of the year, we are Négociateur(s)/trice(s) Trilingue “en formation”. And I must admit that sounds totally different. It is the pass to enter the world of professionals, to take a step further.

I will not talk about all the amazing (but tough) projects we have been given this week, but of the difficulties in settling in France. It seems a misinterpretation, but believe me! If you could see the amount of documents and queues and useless tours of the city to do everything you need to settle properly, you would think twice before living in France. The most difficult part is finding the “leak”. The weakest link to stop the chain of compulsory thins you need to have: bank account, house, insurance, without mentioning internet, mobile phone, transport tickets and if you are a student the University enrollment, social aids etc. I had a little bit luckier than last year, but I spent my whole morning walking through the city trying to put order in my new brief French life. queue

The most surprising aspect of France burocracy is that everything can be done by internet but if you go to a shop to buy your new SIM card or to an office to subscribe your insurance policy, be sure that you will have to queue. And I do not mean 2-3 people. Queuing in France means having at least 20 people in front of you, if not in the street outside the office or the shop. It is just insane! If everything can be done online, where on earth do all those people come from?!? o.O It is still a mistery to me. It is a neverending queue. Wherever you go, whatever you want to do, whenever you decide to go, there are people queuing in front of you.

An example? This morning I went to the bank to ask to transfer my bank account in nearer agency. 2 people in front of me at 9h20 (oh yeah I forgot to say that most of the offices and shops open at 10h in the morning and are supposed to be open during lunch time) because the lady at the counter was complaining (what a surprise!) about Hollande and the fact that she would have paid more money for her driving licence if she waited a week more… Bref, des bétises!!

Another example? At the CAF (Caisse d’Allocations Familiales: a public organism in charge of giving social aids for almost everything, from the apartment to the babies) the queue included 6 people outside the office (around 30 people waiting to leave some documents or asking for new aids. Result? 2 hours waiting, 2 piece of papers to fill in and 4 documents to deliver and hopefully some social aid.

I will not mention the very short queue at the train office or the one at the insurance one (I was the first, so it does not count 😉 ), not even to mention the queue at the coffee bar or restaurant at Uni (there are tons of students, so that is normal).

It needs to be said that French master the art of queuing quite well: strangely enough they do not complain (as usual), they calmly wait, they entertain theirselves talking on the phone, they listen to music, they play with their children etc.

Little by little I am trying to perfect this art, although in Italy is more having short queues or in some occasions people prefer the “flock” solution instead of the “single file” one.

How about your country? Which “solution” is the most common?


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