Romanian Survival Book

November 21, 2006


Filed under: Society/Lifestyle — darian @ 2:19 am

Queuing has a special connotation for Romanians’ life. In old time – read Ceausescu’s time- living in the line was the ‘normal’ life: get the milk early in the morning, queue in advance few hours, to secure that you get your one bottle of milk for your children, queuing for meat, fruits, just anything. The queue is something many of us, especially the young people, don’t want to put up with anymore.

If you go around the city – I mean Bucharest – you will still notice lots of queues. Being asked ‘why these people queue for?’, I wouldn’t know what to say. They seem to queue for everything still, in a loud, disorganized manner, with lots of comments, nerves and sadness. The queue has become a mental strain and a national peculiarity for Romanians. But is it that we have a passion for queuing or is just some sort of national mental disorder that gets us in line as soon as we see others sitting there? Or is the Romanian bureaucracy grounded in the line mentality, as there are so many services that you cannot pay for on-line, so we must go queuing. Take the cable TV, for instance. We only have 2 companies covering Bucharest and if you live in a certain neighbourhood you cannot choose, so you stick with yours no matter whether you are happy with it or not. And you are obliged to queue for long 40 minutes or more to pay your bill. Why is that?!

I am sure that there are many queuing stories out there. This suggestion on queues I have got from Mihaela Butnaru, via email, who has her own story.
(photo from



  1. Anthony Adams said…
    Enjoyed reading your article–so the queues continue well past the days of the demise of the strongly Communist days–so who would you say is to blame for the long lines in the present climate?—Have a great Day—Anthony Adams

    11 September, 2006

    Anthony Adams said…
    So the queues continue in Romania—-and now that we are no longer in the days of a strong Communist government in Romania—actually 17 years past the demise of—what would you say is the cause for the current state of affairs in Romania—So many more western companies doing business in Romania and the so called ‘free market’ @ work now for this long–and how many of Romania’s people are really helped by??

    11 September, 2006

    hiacint said…
    It’s probably a genetic resignation or- but one shouldn’t get that far- a need to feel the group,the family, the mass,to be a part of it. Maybe it’s a brutal way to communicate.

    12 September, 2006

    claudia darian said…
    Anthony, maybe Mihaela is right here: some sort of need, maybe a habit, maybe just a routine. If you look at any queue, in the bank, at the cable office, almost anywhere, people look so grey and sad, everyone lives in his/her own mind while sitting there, looking worried and overwhelmed. Also, there are queues and queues. In the supermarket, people seem gullible. Also at the cable queue -that is an obsession of mine, sorry – you don’t see happy people or rich people for that matter, or at least professionals, because their schedule is absurdly identical with office hours, so you’re left with no hope than to ask someone to do it for you, do it yourself somehow or wake up early on Saturday morning. So, I think is also a bureucratic mentality: in this type of service, I assume they don’t want to turn people redundant by making the payment accesible on line.

    On the other hand, I don’t really think that there are so many big foreign companies in Romania at the moment and the ones that are, mostly looking after their business and their profit, could not care less on changing habits. Then again, something strange is happening: many foreigners become so Romanian and beyond that. Why? Because they can, it’s easy and free and gets them lots of benefits. We are a happy country with sad people, so it’s so easy to take advantage. Not to mention, the obedience and weakness in the presence of foreigners: you merely need to speak a foreign language here and doors are opening so easily. Thank God that this is changing now, and people are smarter, better travelled and they don’t fall so easily for anything ‘foreign’ anymore out of a provicial, marginal complex. Anyway…this will make the subject of another post perhaps.

    13 September, 2006

    Anthony Adams said…
    Hello Claudia-I definitely appreciate your viewpoints here–I live in America,however,I’ve had (and still have of course)a great interest in Romania all of my life–I’ve watched as many shows as I could about Romania when I was younger,read books and mags about and have tried to learn as much as I can from Romanians that I’ve met in America–I worked w/ a Romanian woman at a certain place where we worked several years ago—I’ve also taken a couple of short attempts @ learning the language(I recently have more time to begin studying Romanian–and of Romania in an even serious fashion–and now that so much has opened up online–there is a lot of info available–yet I need to narrow my focus a bit and you having your blog here provides a great opportunity for me to get involved—you live in Romania -so of course you have this personal perspective and you also have a passion for this pursuit of yours which makes the interaction here all that much more attractive to me—thanks for the feedback on the queues–much appreciated for sure–and now I think I’ll go over and check your Romanian Survival Book a bit more–My best to you of course—Anthony

    13 September, 2006

    Comment by dizzyggg — November 21, 2006 @ 2:21 am | Reply

  2. Have enjoyed the blogs describing life in
    Bucharest. Am interessted in restaurants
    where salon music performs as you dine, theatre,
    shows and places where one might meet some of
    the charming ladies Romnia is so famous for.
    On a short visit. Going to the country
    sounds good, but my main mission is to enjoy
    and experience the culture of that City.

    Comment by Raff Ahlgren — July 6, 2007 @ 11:00 pm | Reply

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