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Queues

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DVD Smith
1281348.  Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:09 pm Reply with quote

According to Etymonline, the word "queue" comes from the Old French word for "penis". Well, sort of - the word also meant "tail".

Lots of great information about queues and queueing theory in this Slate article, where they interview Richard Larson, an MIT professor who has spent his life studying the subject (and apparently signs off his emails with the moniker “Dr Queue”). [1]

Lift queues: How do you keep people occupied while they’re queueing for a lift? One New York skyscraper in the early 20th century found a genius solution. The building management had been getting loads of complaints that the lifts weren’t running quickly enough and that people were getting annoyed with the long waiting times. After a consultation was done, the suggestion was made that rather than try to make the lifts operate faster, they should make the wait times more tolerable. They therefore installed floor-to-ceiling mirrors next to the elevators. After this, complaints dropped to almost zero, as people were too busy checking their appearance in the mirrors to notice the wait time for the lifts. [1]

(This story seems to have been bouncing around in one form or another for the past 100 years – usually set in an office building. [2][3] The oldest reference to it I can find is a clipping of American Architect magazine from 1932, which mentions it as an “apartment hotel”, but unfortunately Google Books doesn’t have the whole text available, and I can’t find a copy anywhere else online short of paying £30 for it on Amazon.)

Airports: Similarly, at Houston airport, staff were getting a lot of complaints from passengers about the length of time they were having to wait for their luggage. So the staff decided to move the arrivals gates far away from the baggage reclaim section, and move the bags to the furthest carousel. As a result, the passengers now had to walk six times further to reach their bags! Complaints about waiting dropped to almost zero – although I imagine there were a lot more complaints about sore feet. [4]

Theme parks: Of course, if environmental encouragement fails to improve your queuers’ moods, just lie to them! At Disney’s theme parks the “estimated wait times” along the queue paths are deliberately inflated to make people think that their queue is moving faster than usual. They also hide the length of the queues by snaking them and wrapping them around buildings, as a study showed that people are more concerned with how long a queue is than how fast it’s moving. [4]

Call centre queues: If you’re being held in a queue on the phone to a call centre, you’re not always put through to the first person available. Rather, you may be held longer until some specifically capable of dealing with your problem is available – so if your problem is quite complex then they might wait until a more experienced member of staff can take it, and leave the newbies to handle the easy calls.

In 2013, an IT manager named Nigel Clarke launched a website specifically designed to help people navigate call centre menus. To build his database, he spent seven years making 12,000 calls to 130 UK companies. [5]

 
Feralcat
1281356.  Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:14 pm Reply with quote

Unless I were going up 4 floors or more, i'd take the stairs

But if they had mirrors where you queued I'd be really annoyed and standing with people between me and the mirrors.

I can't think of anything worse - to me - but I would very soon become scornful of people sucking in bellies and cheeks and leering at others, all about me.

 
DVD Smith
1284069.  Mon May 14, 2018 11:30 am Reply with quote

Right up until the early 20th century, a "queue" was also the name given to a men's ponytail, or braided pigtail, particularly in China.

Queues of this type were very popular in China from the 17th century right up until 1911, when the Xinhai revolution took place and the hairstyle became very quickly unfashionable, seen as a symbol of the existing Chinese regime. [1]

By 1912. when the revoution was over and the new government of Yuan Shakai took power, Yuan issued a mandatory decree that all Chinese men must have their queues removed, and ordered police to enforce the hair-cutting rule, as in his eyes "cutting queues is like taking an oath of allegiance to the new government". If the police found any man hiding his queue under a hat, for example, they were instructed to cut it off then and there using anything they had to hand, whether that be "a sword or a bayonet or an axe or a handsaw". [2]

 
tetsabb
1284077.  Mon May 14, 2018 12:04 pm Reply with quote

Of course, Soviet-era Russia was a great source of jokes about queues, my favourite being:-
What is 100 metres long and eats potatoes?
A Moscow meat queue.

 
'yorz
1284754.  Tue May 22, 2018 8:11 am Reply with quote



This is another queue - a Queue Paris (late 1700s) (bustle?)
A train was also called 'a queue'.

more couture info

 
tetsabb
1284830.  Wed May 23, 2018 4:18 am Reply with quote

I remember seeing such dresses in period dramas on TV as a kid, and thinking that some women had enormous bums, until I was advised otherwise.

 
Gabby Lister
1287206.  Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:29 pm Reply with quote

The world record for the longest queue for the toilet is 756 people, it was a record set in Brussels to raise awareness and funds for pumps, wells and better hygiene education for people in third world countries.

https://metro.co.uk/2009/03/23/belgium-sets-world-record-toilet-queue-570491/

I reckon my school breaks this on the regular.

 
Jenny
1287210.  Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:42 pm Reply with quote

That dress is surely late 19th century, not late 19th century?

 
crissdee
1287213.  Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:58 pm Reply with quote

I think I know what you meant there Jenny!

 
Jenny
1287266.  Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:00 am Reply with quote

Sorry that was a bit random wasn't it? I was referring to the picture in post 1284754

 
crissdee
1287286.  Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:38 pm Reply with quote

Yeah but;

Jenny wrote:
That dress is surely late 19th century, not late 19th century?


?????????

 
tetsabb
1287319.  Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:14 pm Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
Yeah but;

Jenny wrote:
That dress is surely late 19th century, not late 19th century?


?????????

Quite!!!

 
Jenny
1287367.  Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:39 am Reply with quote

Oh duh! Typo. 'yorz said it was late 1700s and to me it looks a hundred years later. I meant to write late 19th not late 18th.

 
DVD Smith
1290422.  Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:07 am Reply with quote

According to this BBC article, the reputation of the British as "a nation of patient queuers" was shaped in World War II. During this time, when rationing was in effect, people would often join the back of a queue without knowing what it was for, just in the hope that it was for something useful.

However, an article in the New York Tribune dated June 26th 1921 describes it as already a part of the British mindset - attributed to rationing from the First World War instead. [1]

Quote:
There is apparently some fundamental of British psychology that demands queueing into orderly lines when two or more are gathered together in one place for some common purpose. London's crowds queue for tickets of any kind, from a hat check stand to a cricket match. Orderly queues form at the fixed points along the street where the buses stop; more queues appear on the subway platforms opposite the point where the car door will open. During the rationing period of the war London learned to queue for bread, butter, sugar and meat cards, and the instinct still prevails. Even the punters and rowers on the upper reaches of the Thames queue their small craft into lines when they wait to enter the river locks. Give a Londoner a line and he'll queue himself.

That article is talking about the old 19th/20th-century London tradition of letting people queue up for theatre tickets on the day of the performance, and a movement to abolish it. Every day, the West End would see multiple queues of hundreds or even thousands of working-class people, all desperate to get in to see the performances. The reason for this was that the majority of the pit and gallery seats would not be available for sale in advance and would only go on sale two hours before the start of the show. [2]

 
Bondee
1290431.  Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:43 am Reply with quote

Somebody must've mentioned this elsewhere on the forum, but "queue" is the only word that is pronounced the same when 80% of its letters are removed.

 

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