Queuing is something we British are excellent at and always have been. However, we are not very good at waiting. If we go to the dentist or the doctor and have an appointment at 2 pm for example, we will arrive on time, calmly take our seat in the waiting room, and sit there. By 2.05 we will start looking at our watches. At 2.10 we will start to get agitated and by 2.15 we will be yelling at the receptionist. Dominican waiting isn't like that at all.
|Waiting room in a public hospital|
In the doctors, dentists, lawyers waiting rooms, Dominicans will wait patiently, sometimes for hours and hours. The appointment may be at 2 pm and the person you are waiting for will invariably still be at lunch and will often arrive an hour late. No one makes a fuss, people just wait, seemingly stress free while any expats there get more and more frustrated. Everyone chats among each other, maybe eating or drinking, but basically no one appears to have any problems at all waiting, even for hours. Nowadays if ever I have to go to the doctor, dentist, lawyer, immigration or any other type of office, I always make sure I have nothing else to do that day and take a book, water and food, and sit there calmly and chill and wait.
And when it comes to queuing, Dominicans are very good at that too, especially at election time where they can spend hours in a line, waiting to vote.
So we have a nation of people who know how to queue beautifully, and who are patient and stress free sitting for hours in various waiting rooms, but what I want to know, is what on earth happens when they go to the colmado, the corner shop, when the whole process of queuing and waiting goes out of the window?
Every time I go into my local colmado someone jumps in front of me and yells "Dame" something or other, which means "Give me". Not a please or a thank you in sight! The kids, who can't even see over the counter, push themselves in front of me, slam their 5 pesos down on the counter and yell, "José 5 pesos of butter!" Not one person has ever come into the colmado and just waited for me to finish with my order. And does José the owner tell them to wait? Not a bit of it. He leaves me in mid-order and gives them what they want! Not just once but several times.
|José in his colmado|
|British people queuing for bread during the war|
Can anyone explain to me what makes a colmado different from a dentist's or a doctors? Does anyone ever actually wait in line in a colmado?