Thursday, September 9, 2010

Things I hate about VN - Queuing (or lack of)

It's been a while since I last posted, but life, lack of inspiration and various commitments have all left me sort of time to put my thoughts onto paper (or computer!) Now that I have a bit more time on my hands, I can catch up on my favourite theme of my blog, which is the downsides of living in Vietnam. For any first time readers, I don't hate living in VN, far from it. There are just various aspects of life that I would like to change given the opportunity, so please don't get offended or upset if any I say anything that seems a little harsh.

Being British, I love queuing. In fact, I'll join a queue even if I don't know what it's for! Queues make sense. If you arrive to pay for something first, you get served first. If someone is infront of you, you stand behind them patiently and wait your turn. You don't push in and if you do push in you expect to be chastised for it. In this system, everybody knows where they stand, and whilst some people can get frustrated and feel put out, they can't argue that it's unfair.

Now, I don't hold steadfastly to this rule. Sometimes I will let someone infront of me. For example, if I have a full trolley of shopping and the person behind me only has 1 item I will let them past. Why? Because I'm reasonable. However, in Vietnam, this doesn't happen. The only place I've really seen queuing (except at places where foreigners frequent) is at the international airport, and even then the locals seem to resent it.

So what happens here? Chaos. Survival of the fittest or pushiest. I hate shopping here or doing anything that involves waiting in line. This extends to waiting to get into a car park to park my motorbike, buying vegetables at the supermarket and paying for utility bills.

Let me give you some examples. When buying carrots at Lotte Mart (my favourite store), I waited patiently behind a young mother. At the supermarket you bag up your veggies and price them in the produce department in contrast to weighing them at the counter in England. She was buying tomatoes, peppers and onions. By the time she had finished, I'd been relegated to 4th in the line. I wasn't quite sure how that happened! I politely waited and never seemed to progress in the queue. Various people were coming and going, with me being the only person staying. In the end I gave up. No carrots for me.

Another time, I waiting to go in a bike park. Two lines had been formed in front of the 2 ticket attendants. Then some cowboy drives straight down the middle and pushes in near the front. Nobody seems surprised or angry. The next thing I know everybody breaks ranks and a melee ensues. Therefore the average time for everyone increased due to some impatient and ignorant youngsters.

It just annoys me and makes me angry. Now I exclusively shop at places that I know there is a queuing system. No one can possibly argue that it's not the best method to promote fairness and equality. It's just common decency. Surely?!?!

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