A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46

51 -34-

Section 5. Opinion on Queueing .

All housewives interviewed were invited to comment freely on queueing, their attention being drawn to no special aspect of the problem. These comments are summarised below.

1. 5.7% Cannot Queue .

“Cannot queue because of health, because of children, have no time to queue.”

2. 35.3% Don’t need to Queue .

“Goods are delivered by van, regular tradesmen keeping store for me. Don’t shop on Friday or Saturday (arrange my shopping time)”.

3. 11.5% Won’t Queue .

“Would rather do without than queue, refuse to queue.”

4. 8.6% Distribution is at Fault .

“There should be registration for everybody. Queues are due to goods arriving late. Shopkeepers hold goods back. You have to queue or do without things. Distribution should be better.”

5. 12.2% Strong Disapproval .

“Queues are terrible, a disgrace, they should be abolished, they are unfair.”

6. 5.7% Disapproval of Queuers .

“Greedy people queue. People themselves are to blame for queues. People enjoy queueing and talking.”

7. 5.6% Queues are fair or cannot be helped .

“Everyone has their turn, don’t mind queues if there is something special; they are objectionable but cannot be helped.”

3.1% Miscellaneous .

12.3% No Comment .

2799 Sample

From the argument of an earlier section it appeared possible that the amount of queueing remembered might be connected with intensity of feeling on the subject. This can be Sample tested by a comparison of the figures above with figures in different groups.

A. It will be seen that groups 4 and 5 above express disapproval of queueing (3 must be excluded, since those who voice it do not queue). Those proportions in the Groups sampled falling into 4 and 5 are given below.

A B C D Total
4 and 5 12.8 21.1 20.6 22.0 20.8
Proportion which queued 6.2 18.9 20.3 24.3 20.6

It will be seen that a similar trend appears.

Scotland S. Wales N. Midland N. West N. & N.E. Midland S.E. & London S’th S.W. Eastern Total
4 and 5 15.3 35.6 34.2 27.4 24.6 31.3 14.1 10.1 9.0 9.0 20.8
% which queued 36.8 23.3 17.8 12.4 20.8 30.9 17.3 21.2 17.1 8.5 20.6

Those figures do not reveal similar trends but are contradictory. Thus Scotland, where queueing was heaviest, had below the average proportion expressing disapproval. On the other hand, in N. Midland and N. West, where the proportion queueing was lower than the average, proportion expressing disapproval was well above average. In London and S.E., S.W. and Eastern both the proportion queueing and the proportion expressing disapproval were low.

B. Groups 2 and 3 above summarise the opinion of those who don’t or won’t queue.

2 and 3 62.8 49.6 46.1 43.0
Proportion queueing 6.2 18.9 20.3 24.3

These figures, as might be expected, vary inversely. The differences of opinion however are by no means as sharp as the differences in incidence.

Scotland S. Wales N. Midland N. West N. & N.E. Midland S.E. & London S’th S.W. Eastern Total
2 and 3 48.4 41.8 34.4 42.2 38.6 43.1 62.4 62.7 15.7 73.0 46.8
% which queued:- 36.8 23.3 17.8 12.4 20.8 30.9 17.3 21.2 17.1 8.5 20.6

The relation of 2 and 3 to the percentage queueing varies greatly. Thus in Scotland, Midland and the South-West, there is a greater proportion of queueing to 2 and 3 than average. That is to say, the proportion queueing is maintained high despite the fact that substantial proportions say they do not or will not queue. In London and S.E., the South and Eastern areas a smaller proportion of queueing to 2 and 3 than average was recorded - that is to say, even smaller numbers queueing than might have been assumed from the proportion saying they do not or will not queue.

No positive conclusion to the effect that the validity of the figures as on the incidence of queueing is affected by opinion on the subject can be drawn from the argument of this section much of which shows contradictory tendencies. Further studies would therefore be necessary before the tendencies in this direction noted in Section 4 can be taken as proven.

52 35


This section attempts to summarize opinion of housewives on the scheme for reserving oranges for infants


1. Opinion on the scheme seems to be equally divided, 46.6% approving and 48.7% disapproving.

2. Approval is highest in upper income groups and somewhat lower in lower income groups. There are sharp regional differences in approval and disapproval. Families with under 5s are much more in approval than families with older children only.

3. The main reason for approval springs from acceptance of the scheme’s main point.

31% of the sample approved because “children come first”

12% approved for the same reasons but qualified their approval.

4. The main reason for disapproval was the desire to include older children.

28.5% wanted older children included.

9.2% wanted everybody to be able to get oranges.

10.5% wanted invalids and older people to be included in the scheme.

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