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Old 19 Oct 2012
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Queues or Standing in Line....

At one time or another we have all queued up because a number of people wanted to do the same thing at the same time.

Queues are culturally bound - that is to say queue behavior differs
between and within cultures.

Here is a brief description of queues, what you might expect in London and in Moscow with implications that ring true worldwide.

Radio: Programs: Queues : Voice of Russia

You might have to click start more than once for the audio to begin....

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Old 19 Oct 2012
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Very interesting. As a polite and courteous Canadian I'd wither and die in a system like that.



The absolute best system I've ever seen was in Cuba when I was there in 2005. You walk up to a place and there's no real queue, just a bunch of people milling about. Then you just call out "El ultimo?", "The last one?". Someone will acknowledge that they are the last person in "line" and you now know who goes right before you. As soon as the next person shows up and you've acknowledged that you're "el ultimo" you can now relax on a bench or take off for a while if you know roughly how long it takes for the queue to move. I did see them queuing for ice cream in Havana but at the Casas de Cambio, etc the "el ultimo" system was in use.


...Michelle
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Old 2 Nov 2012
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Having grown up in Communist Bulgaria where queuing was effectively a rationing system, I've realised that queuing is the least efficient but most fair way to distribute a scarce resource. Why? Because people's ability to queue is probably the most uniformly distributed skill people can have - pretty much any age and most physical conditions will allow you to queue. Yet the amount of time wasted in a queue is huge.

The capitalist system moves rationing to money. Here fairness is largely non-existent (is a billionaire's contribution to society really worth however many nurses/teachers/policemen it would take to even the $$s), but the system is very very efficient.

So nowhere's perfect.....
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