chgroenbech / tags / united states

Tagged with “united states” (1)

  1. 99% Invisible #49: Queue Theory and Design

    I’d recently moved from the United States to my home country of Nigeria where queueing is a relatively recent practice: most places, especially banks, still get it wrong. I was in one of 2 lines -the american in me isn’t in love with the word ‘queue’- being served by 3 tellers. My line was directly in front of 1 teller, the other line to the right of me was in front of another teller and the third teller was off to the far right. So naturally those 2 tellers ended up serving that line while my line was almost exclusively being served by the 1 teller.

    When I was in the front of my line, a lady 2 of 3 spots in line behind me started agitating about the other line moving faster and insisting that I should go to one of the 2 right tellers when the next person was called. When I didn’t respond to her and someone from the right line went up next, she pushed to the front of the line. I told her off roundly, and told her to get back to her place in line because her time was not any more important than everyone else in line ahead of her.

    She was obviously very surprised, I think by 2 things: that, being younger, I spoke that sharply to her (that’s a societal no-no in Nigeria), and by my foreign accent. She looked at me for a second and then said in a sing song mocking tone: “ms. London, ms. America”

    I came away from that encounter with a few things: here people generally do not have the sense of ownership to their place in line like I do, because so-called “VIPs” always get fast-tracked, also due to cultural norms older people also cut in and are excused, and -like in my encounter- anyone who’s loud enough or strong enough or assertive enough tries to do what that lady wanted to, and just cut in front of everyone and ‘everyone’ doesn’t want to make a fuss so stand in line quietly and let’s her go ahead.

    …so there’s my story about queue theory. It’s a great show and I’m quite a fan -I.T

    —Huffduffed by chgroenbech