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Get in the queue

Be wary of consumer trends in the US because they inevitably end up over here.

Be concerned about the growing use of the priority queue.

You will be familiar with this practice from budget airlines. But how about in the classroom? A college in California offers a $400 booking fee so students can be sure of a seat in over-subscribed subjects. Apparently, you can't just put a towel on a desk.

From jump-the-queue passes in theme parks to paid-for express lanes on roads, the US embraces a free market philosophy that the last shall be first and the first shall be last.

Money has always purchased privilege and priority. Bupa gets you to the top of the cancer treatment list. An Eton education may fast-track you into the Cabinet. When you're standing in a packed train, those empty seats in the other carriage are called first class for a reason.

The concept of orderly queuing is fundamental to any aspiration for decency, fair play and respect in society. So you can be sure such considerations will be ignored in the process of extracting an extra few quid from the customer.

Look out for priority queues at bus stops. A gold ticket that enables you to evict the elderly, disabled, or expectant women from seats on trains. A chip shop upgrade so you get your special fish before the hoi polloi's sausage supper. A nine-or-more expensive items checkout at the supermarket.

Think, if there had been a special pass for Cabinet ministers to get their bikes through the main gate at Downing Street, we would not have had all that fuss about police officers being verbally abused.

PS: Andrew Mitchell, the minister in question, is going to get away with it, isn't he? He's probably got a priority pass that allows him to call the polis effin' plebs.

Allegedly.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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