Sunday, February 26, 2012

a row with rows

I've got a row with rows. Pardon the pun, I couldn't resist. :) What I mean is, I've recently realized that there are some pretty frustrating things about queues these days...

The half-hearted queues - A popular drugstore here in Manila has those queue posts with retractable belts leading to the pharmacy counter. But when you get to the counter, it suddenly becomes free-for-all and people just find gaps  along the counter (even if they don't necessarily fit a whole person) to squeeze themselves into it. And once you find a gap you can fit in, you have to try to catch the attention of a drugstore personnel to get what you need. So I wonder: what was the hopeful-beginnings-of-a-queue for then?

The invisible queues - I see these mostly in mall bathrooms. A small line begins to form before the first bathroom stall, then someone enters and bypasses the line and creates her own line at the second stall. Soon, the people at the back of the original line rush to create a third line at the third cubicle. Since I'm sure I didn't have Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility on during these times, I tend to ponder: do they really don't realize there's a common line? Or do they just believe in shrewd line-picking (which results in a "Woot! Woot! I picked the fastest-moving or shortest line!") over the fair first-come-first-served line?

The imaginary (really unnecessary) queues - For me, this is the worst of all. You know how baggage claim belts are pretty long (and winding) at our airport? I can never understand why people line up behind me - even if there's a wide expanse of empty portions around the conveyer belt. So they end up pushing me, trying to catch a glimpse of the bags passing and even force me to move aside if their bag comes before mine. I would be okay if it was a really big plane and there were just so many passengers around the belt that a queue is necessary. But when it's not, I really cannot fathom why they queue up behind me (hitting my calf with their trolley a number of times) when they can have their own empty space in front of the belt, just a few steps further. In fact, I've contemplated a lot about this (yes, it takes that long for my bag to come out) and I think it's better for people to stay away from the belt (i wish airports would paint a yellow line a meter away from the belt so people can stay behind it like they do at immigration or ATMs) since you can spot your bag from afar anyway. And once you do spot your bag, that's when you can go beyond the yellow line to pull your luggage from the belt with enough space to maneuver the heaving of bags off the belt and onto your trolley (is it obvious my bags are always at maximum allowable weight - and then some - vis-a-vis 5'1" me?). Isn't this a much better baggage-claim system?       

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad to see people lining up more these days. But I just wish we'd do away with these half-hearted, invisible, and imaginary (really unnecessary) queues.

Photo from annnniegirl.

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