In the Waiting Line by @NicholasKugge

Nicholas Kugge






By Nicholas Kugge



A couple of days ago I flew back to France. I am still excited to take the plane, despite having lived and

travelled abroad. I always have this feeling of heading for something new, even if I know it’ll just feel like

home. I like the distinctive ambiance which you can feel in airports. This weird feeling of being

surrounded by hundreds of people, sometimes seated beside them for hours and yet have no impact at

all on their life. It’s fascinating we are spending some time with so many different people, all probably

sharing unique stories and we don’t show any curiosity. I have to admit I am probably guilty of putting

my big headphones on and of turning into another zombie. But not this time. Following are some of the

situations which caught my attention during this late, long but cheap Ryanair flight.


There is something I really hate it is listening to people talking about advertising when they really don’t

know anything about it, especially when I am queuing on the jet bridge at 1 a.m. Thus, as I was heading

to seat C3, we got blocked on the bridge. The only distraction apart from staring at each other’s rear – at

least for the couple in front of me – was to analyse one of HSBC ads. For the following three minutes and

a half Don Draper and Peggy Olson had suddenly materialized. Don didn’t understand why so many

posters where displayed next to each other despite Peggy’s wise remarks. They then spent the remaining

minute debating about the purpose of the ad until we finally boarded in. I could still hear them discuss

about it, as I sat down. I unfortunately don’t know if Don and Peggy managed to reach a consensus. After

all, it’s maybe not ideal to have a long attention span from the public.


After getting rid of Don and Peggy I sat down near the porthole, buckled up and immediately started to

doze. I was woken up by a French Sothern accent “Bonsoir”. Great, I had already landed in Marseille.

“Mmmm” I replied with a perfect English accent. I suddenly realised I was facing a French grandmother

and not the French stewardess I was expecting – we hadn’t even taken off. After dealing with this

disappointment I was confronted to a major dilemma. Should I pretend to be an English tourist visiting

the South of France – leading to a conversation on wine chateau and golf course – or should I reveal my

true identity. I chose the second option, “Bonsoir” I said, with a French accent this time. In less than an

hour the old lady had told me everything about her life. I had the feeling of being the publisher of a

famous novelist on her deathbed, listening to her billon pound story without interruption. The book

wasn’t that good. But I smiled when I discovered she was actually heading to Saint-Tropez to see her

lover, naughty Grandma.


After all I enjoyed these moments spent with these passengers. Not only due to the source of human

insights they can possibly generate. But also because after establishing so many consumers’ profile,

behaviour and pattern we tend to forget what a real consumer looks like.


Thus, I will keep watching and listening to people. And who knows I’ll maybe be part of someone else’s story.

Waiting in Line

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