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Queueing, Austrian Style

When it comes to queueing, Austrians are an unpredictable bunch.

Gleinkersee near Windischgarsten © Österreich Werbung / Popp Hackner
How and if a queue develops depends on a variety of things in Austria. The mood of the parties involved, the authority of the service or product for which one queues, the urgency of the matter, whether one is friends with the person behind the counter and various other, sometimes conflicting factors.

For example, you will find that Austrians form very orderly queues in banks and post offices, but don't do the same at bars, ticket offices or ski lifts. Getting off public transport can be a scramble because many people don't wait to let you get off before boarding themselves. Only very rarely will you find Austrians queueing for taxis or to get on the bus. This particular application of queueing is practically unheard of.

Equally, there are few restaurants and cafés where patrons are required to wait to be seated. It is common to choose your own table, trusting that a vigilant waiter notices your arrival and welcomes you once you are seated. This wayward attitude to queueing is known to drive unprepared visitors to despair in Austria. Consider yourself warned.