I must admit I was terribly embarrassed when I failed to act as per the announcement on microphone calling me to present my identity papers at the counter inside any one of the stanchions. The bloggers conference hall was yet to get filled up even though I walked in exactly at the scheduled starting time of 1.30 PM. The reason for my embarrassment was I did not know what a stanchion is.
Eventually, when I reached the counter to register, I smiled sheepishly at the pretty young girl and frankly asked her whether she is one of the stanchions. She burst out laughing. She could not control herself for several minutes.
I reddened but waited patiently, the sheepishness was then as broad as the ball room. Finally, with a look of understanding, she pointed to the shining brass poles that held a silk ribbon.
Ah, there! The ubiquitous crowd control system that we see near the checkout counters in shopping mall and in trade shows is called stanchion post!
My dear, what a way to learn English vocabulary!