Leading article: They also serve who stand and wait

Click to follow
The Independent Online

In praise of those who wait, it should be asserted that the British are not a nation of shopkeepers but a nation of shoppers. And the most important part of shopping, as we all know, is queuing for the checkout. Why we are culturally disposed to form an orderly queue is a question for the British Journal of Psychology rather than this newspaper. Although we should not inquire too closely, perhaps, into the psyche of either the Prince of Wales or the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Or into the psyche of the mean-spirited minority who call them appliances and make cruel remarks about saving energy by not leaving them on standby.

The majority of us, we feel sure, have respect and admiration for the qualities of patience and forbearance, and a heroic resistance to the pressures of modernity for immediate change to everything. Form a stable and orderly line, please, and repeat after us. What do we want? Deferred gratification. When do we want it? Now.

Comments