Study: British losing love for standing in line

Christopher Werth Aug 4, 2010
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Study: British losing love for standing in line

Christopher Werth Aug 4, 2010
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Steve Chiotakis: Maybe you know something about this. You walk into a store to do some shopping, but a long wait in line sends you right back out the door. Here’s something you may note know. Unlike in the United States, the British have long had a reputation as being very content to stand in line, thank you. But as Christopher Werth reports from London, a new study today reports that patience in Britain is wearing thin.


Christopher Werth: The study out from the bank Barclays says the British are becoming less willing to wait for what they want.

But before we get into that, first, lets take care of some linguistic differences: While Americans stand in a line, the British stand in a queue. But whatever you call it — and however boring it might be — people in Britain are really good at it.

Iain Aitch: I think the joke about the British is that you know we see one person standing still then immediately we’ll go and stand behind them. We won’t know what we’re queuing for but we know it must be good.

Iain Aitch is an author and commentator on British culture. He says some of that comes from the old traditional double-decker British buses that only had one door, and one line to get on.

But the study shows the length of time the average British person is willing to wait has dropped from five minutes just six years ago, to two minutes today. Aitch credits the change to the Internet: Brits used to shop after waiting inline, now they simply shop online.

In London, I’m Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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