Luckily for anyone living in this ‘green and pleasant land’ there is no shortage of opportunities to perfect this pastime at post offices, supermarkets, Apple stores and the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, to name a few.
Probably like me, the only thing that prevents you from fulfilling your destiny of turning professional at standing-in-line is a lack of corporate sponsorship. (It’s the least the worst offending companies could do to make up for the loss of productivity.)
A Mickey Mouse idea
If you’ve ever visited a Disney theme park you’ll know that they are masters at queue management, which is more of a science than art. Apart from theming the area to banish monotony, it appears the trick is to make the queue long enough to keep people shuffling forward, inch by inch. This gives the illusion of progress.
The other trick is to hide most of the queuing area from being discovered prematurely and filling the line with utter hopelessness. This is needed to avoid a queue uprising, or anarchy – the kind of crowd behaviour that you see at a car boot or garage sale. But this is where queue engineers will soon come unstuck.
Is it a bird or is it a plane?
In the near future, expect the air to be filled with personal drones that fly a few feet above your head and film your graceful moves from behind. It is anticipated that drones will be used for aerial views of individuals getting quality ‘air time’ while snowboarding or doing anything else that has potential bragging rights. So when I visit a theme park in the future, I will be sending my personal drone to check out the snaking queue ahead of me. You’ll find me sitting in a nearby café drinking a cappuccino at the time.
Now if you were asked for advice on the best way to spend 6 months of your life, I doubt that queuing would feature very highly. “Ain’t nobody got time for dat.” And yet 6 months is the average amount of time Brits spend queuing over a lifetime, according to behavioural scientists.
The bottom line is that we hate a lengthy queue, but we love the transparent fairness of the system. How much of a reward is needed for people to join a queue that is just plain stupid? Not a lot if this video is anything to go by…