Written by Misc

Queuing

We’re told that queuing is a very British thing, although as much as anything, that might be because other countries use their own words like “line” in the US.
But what’s clear to me is that it’s not something I enjoy doing. I do it only when I need to. That might be paying for groceries in a shop, or getting money out of the cashpoint. Waiting to get on public transport is never fun, especially buses and at airports.
Queues are things we endure rather than relish. We participate in them because there’s something in it for us in the end. It’s a practical way to meet demand, but still causes frustration.
In most instances those queues move quickly. But sometimes, we have to get in queues early, because there’s a finite number of goods available. Examples might be tickets to events or limited sale stock. These days you’re more likely to be forced into a virtual internet or telephone queue for a limited supply of tickets. If I want day tickets to Frankenstein at the National, I may need to arrive as early as 1am, I’m told.
Getting there early can be a sensible strategy nonetheless.
But when that item is a piece of consumer electronics, you have to ask what the point is?
Yes, early stocks might be limited. But there’s no need to queue.
As I walked from Oxford Circus to work this morning, I cast an eye towards the Regent Street Apple Store and was pleasantly surprised to see so few people queuing – just a dozen or so corralled into a pen to keep Regent Street clear for other shoppers. Then I noticed that the queue actually had a gap, and continued in a much larger penned-in area around the corner. Hundreds were queuing.
I realise that it’s probably great fun chatting with fellow enthusiasts. And at least today is a lovely day. It probably wouldn’t be as nice if it was raining.
But really – why? If you want the device, just order it online. Or pop back tomorrow – or next week. Reserve one to pick up later. Don’t waste a day. You don’t need it today.
Similarly, what would really possess someone to stand outside a game store at midnight to pick up a new gaming device? Couldn’t you just wait until the morning. Or pop back tomorrow – or next week. Reserve one to pick up later… You get the idea.
I realise that it’s now part of the rite of passage of any geek that they need to queue to get the first device. Then post a video of themselves “unboxing” it. And then generally get terribly excited in the way a music fan might purchase a new album on the day of release.
Yet it seem unhealthy, and ultimately pointless.