If a queue is when you wait in line behind another then the very word is a ‘Q’ with a whole bunch of letters behind it that are basically either irrelevant or silent, writes Ruta Mave.
If I was an ‘e’ I think I
would feel quite frustrated with the fact that I was standing in this word line
for no real reason at all because the letter I am supposed to be supporting ‘u’
is fine without me. And so it is for many people who will stand in line apparently
for five years of their lives.
Waiting in line is a science
important for retailers, banks, theme parks and custom authorities to know and
understand their customers to avoid any anguish or built-up tension that can
disrupt into chaos.
Behavioural scientists say
those who get anxious do so based on key factors; whether there is a limited or
unlimited time given to the line, how many operators are servicing the line and
how many customers or people are arriving to the line all at once. The most
frustration felt in line is usually in the grocery store or bank where there
are several portals equipped to serve the long line of customers but most of
them are closed or empty with only one or two are operating. For the life of a
waiting customer who has taken their lunch break to do some important banking they
can not believe why the bank who knows many of their customers who do face to
face banking are going to come in their lunch break, always give their own staff
a lunch break at the same time. What is with that psychology? It is either
complete stupidity or a sadistic pleasure of watching intelligent people turn
into caged animals as they pace from side to side looking around throwing their
arms up in the air while trying to calculate if they should stay or should they
Entering a grocery store line
is done with calculated mitigating factors if you are in a hurry. You calculate
the amount of grocery items in the carts ahead of you, you count the number of
people in the line and you watch the operator to see how competent they are
fast or slow, new or experienced. Then you make your choice only to see the
line next to you move more often than yours and now you wonder if you should
move if there is a gap – it is now or never. You watched the other lines to see
which people entered when you did and where are they now. If you are with
another even a child you may try to spread the odds by making them stand in the
line you are trying to decide between and make them wait there, the
uncomfortable and unethical part is when you decide to jump out of your line
with your trolley and try and enter the line your child is in with no trolley.
This is not kosha because the people behind them have calculated that this
would be a fast line as they assume the child only has a single purchase, now
you face the ire and glares of shoppers who are not happy. If you chance a
highly stressed shopper behind you, chaos may ensue or if they remain quiet you
may find they keep moving forward onto your Achilles heel at every slight
advancement to keep you literally on your toes that they pushing you forward
because they are not happy.
The worst times are when you
calculate the person in front only has a few items and you are going to breeze
through until they hit a price point where either the bar code is missing or
the person questions the price because the shelf pricing is wrong and insist it
was cheaper. Or the old lady who has brought all her pennies from her kitchen
jar and is insisting on counting out the exact change. Oh, lordy that is a test
of patience that is.
Actually all of the waiting in
line is a test of patience. It is also a test of taking in your surroundings
because you can’t rush by or catching up with people you haven’t seen for
awhile help pass the time.
Disneyland and airport customs
use the end is near psychology to trick people into complacency by using the
snaking zig zag line system that takes you right up to the entrance area only
to be turned back around and away again. The more turns the more the line can
keep moving while giving you hope for a good 1 to two hours.
People will wait for hours for
what they consider important – a concert, new iPhone or David Beckham to view
the Queen lying in state.