Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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10 words or fewer express queue

For the quick moving time constrained among us
  (+19)(+19)
(+19)
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against]

With 5 minutes left until your train leaves the platform you’re faced with five queues (or ‘lines’ in the US) for the ticket windows. There seems to be an equal number of people in each queue, so you find yourself making a quick decision based on the number of grannies present in each one. In the queue you slowly and impatiently edge forward until the person in front of you reaches the desk and proceeds to embark on the longest, most complicated ticket exchange/complaint/life story that you have ever had the displeasure to witness. You miss your train. I propose a ‘10 words or fewer express queue’, similar to the ‘10 items or fewer express queue’ that is often found in supermarkets, except that you are only allowed to say 10 words to the person behind the counter. This will ensure that only simple requests such as, “one single ticket to Glasgow please” get dealt with here allowing those who are in a rush with only a simple request to get through quick. I realise another solution lies in the multiple desks – single queue format, but a lot of places don’t have this system and the express queue idea may be even quicker. It would also be useful at banks, post offices etc. I realise that there has been some half-baking of this problem previously, but, well, here's more.

<altered after Lg's grammatical advice>

stupop, Oct 18 2001

(?) Less vs. fewer http://www.alt-usag...erpts/fxlessvs.html
Read for your own safety, stupop. [pottedstu, Oct 18 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

(?) Queuing http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/queueing
Halfbakery discussion of better queuing systems [Lemon, Oct 18 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       ah, I see what you're doing there, potted. You're trying to change the sense of the idea title so it means "speak 10 words, or go to a less express queue" which, ironically, could also be called a 'more expressive' queue where those who are more in touch with the nuances and deep emotional aspects of their journey could purchase their tickets. Now there's an idea I'd vote for... as long as I wasn't in a hurry.
lewisgirl, Oct 18 2001
  

       What if you want to go to a town called   

       Yel Gres The Vinnick Mays?   

       You'll never make it under 10 words... That's discrimination! Boo!
Pleez, Oct 18 2001
  

       Ok, to appease [Pleez], have a template talk line.   

       define:question{[num] ticket(s) to [location] [plesantry]}
define:num{1 .. 99}
define:location{<list>}
define:plesantry{my good man, thanks, ugh}
allow:question; disallow:all
  

       It would take a little while to learn the first time you go, but that's no different to one of those ticket machines with 500,000 buttons and a hidden, gum-jammed coin slot on them.
sdm, Oct 18 2001
  

       [Me]: "Supersaver Return to Bristol please"
[Ticket Office Person]: "Temple Meads or Parkway?"
[Me]: "Temple Meads"
[TOP]: "When do you want to return?"
[Me]: "Sunday evening"
[TOP]: "You'd better reserve a seat"
[Me]: "OK"
[TOP]: "Facing or not facing?"
[Me] ""
[TOP]: "Sorry? I can't hear you"
[Me]: ""
[TOP]: "Facing or not facing?"
[Me]: ""
[TOP]: "Next please!"
[Me]: "mmmmmgh!"
hippo, Oct 18 2001
  

       That reminds me of 'The Soup Nazi' - "Nothing for you!"
thumbwax, Oct 18 2001
  

       Ah, a pet hate addressed. Excellent!
As it happens, I've just spent the last 30 minutes queuing for a train ticket.
My solutions to this are as follows...
1.) A trap door immediately in front of the ticket sellers window. Anyone who asks the ticket seller about train times (instead of going off to the travel information desk) is immediately dropped through the floor into a large vat of something very nasty.
2.) All students, old age pensioners and foreign tourists should be immediately dropped through the floor into a large vat of something very nasty.
3.) Return to steam trains. All those people recovered from the large vat should be shovelled up and fed into the furnace in order to speed my train on it's way.
4.) The train doesn't move until I'm nice and comfy in my seat.
5.) Ah, that's much better. It's good to get these things off your chest!
DrBob, Oct 18 2001
  

       A couple of weeks I bought a car. About 2 days before I collected it, I stood queuing in the railway station, as usual. A woman was at the ticket desk demanding that someone listen to her complaint. She was complaining that rather than being sold a ticket while on the train which had just arrived, she had been sold one upon *leaving* the train. And she was upset about being kept waiting the additional 2 minutes. So naturally, rather than hurrying off to the appointment she was late for, she immediately marched up to the ticket office, stood in line, waited to get to the front of the queue and repeated the above story about 5 times, also taking the opportunity to mention a few other grievances about overcrowding, late running and probably the colour of the seats clashing with her skirt. I should also point out that she had come from a station where it would have been possible for her to purchase a ticket in the first place *before* boarding the train. Meanwhile, everyone in the queue behind her, who just wanted to buy tickets and possibly catch the trains they were there for, studied their fingernails very intently.   

       I also think you should be able to queue for tickets and your morning cappucino simultaneously.   

       On the other hand, some British railway stations won't let you book tickets or buy tickets for later travel until after 930 in the morning, to avoid such waiting for regular travellers.
pottedstu, Oct 18 2001
  

       In a rare moment of individual brilliance, I once saw a mobile ticket chap walk up to the longest queue and start selling people tickets as they queued. Quite brilliant, but of course the same problem rapidly ensued around him, but without the linear stoicism of the booth queues. Thus it made it worse really. Still, nice to see someone thinking. How about a popular destinations queue? One booth could be Birmingham New Street only, one Coventry etc...thus the people with faff or banter could go to a separate queue.
Nadir, Oct 18 2001
  

       //With 5 minutes left until your train leaves the platform you’re faced with five queues (or ‘lines’ in the US) for the ticket windows.//   

       Actually, in the US, we're faced with four closed ticket windows, and one open ticket window through which, beyond the cobwebs, we can just make out the silhouette of an AMTRAK teller reading a Harlequin romance novel.   

       But I see your point, and it is certainly applicable to many of our more popular businesses. Croissant.
Guncrazy, Oct 18 2001
  

       Two things:   

       1. When I was in the UK and in a hurry, I'd use the ticket machine. I didn't talk. It didn't talk. We were both speedy and happy.   

       2. [petersealy] <pedant>Didn't you mean "10 or fewer", rather than "under 10"? (Otherwise, you're an offender, too.)</pedant>
MrWrong, Oct 18 2001
  

       Dialog with pertinent interruptions:
Me: Good morning, I'd like a ticket to Memphis with an idea to be there tomorrow morning.
Agent: Well, there are two choices: leave at 10am or leave at 2pm, both arriving in Memphis before 9am tomorrow.
Guy behind me: "Hi Marion!" (obviously reads name tag)
Agent: Hi!
Me: 2pm will be …
Guy behind me: Marion, are there any seats left for the 2pm departure? I need two.
Second guy behind me: Hey man, buy your f*n ticket and quit holding up the line!
Agent: Have you decided on the 10am or …
Overhead disembodied voice: De … 9…4…ving gate … to … and … phis … and changeovers boarding now.
Me: No, I haven't … and I and these two back here are about to make ourselves late for the 2pm trip as well.
  

       This scenario could as easily be the coffee shop or the pay phone … cure it and I'll keep you in croissants.
reensure, Oct 18 2001
  

       When someone decides to interupt while I'm transacting, I complete my purchase - then interrupt the offending party. If they complain, I tell them I am giving them their own medicine.
thumbwax, Oct 18 2001
  

       It should be introduced at garages. "I have the correct money for my petrol checkout" - TWO words or fewer - "pump 3" - istead of - " I want to check my account and can I use this card and check my account and where is the nearest blar blar"" "how much do I spend to get the free atlas?" or "do you have any `REAL logs for my fire"
sessa, Oct 18 2001
  

       "Knock knock!" "Who's there?" "Joe, the interrupting cow." "Joe, the interrupt-" "MOO!"
daruma, Oct 18 2001
  

       Ever notice the similarity between AMTRAK and "anthrax?" Coincidence?
beauxeault, Oct 19 2001
  

       [blissmiss]: You would be queueing at the PigglyThing, or standing / waiting in the queue at the PigglyThing. You wouldn't be queueing in the queue (cos where else could you queue?).
angel, Oct 19 2001
  

       Like MrWrong said, the answer is obviously ticket vending machines. If you can reduce the conversation to ten words that fit one of five templates, why are we talking to a person anyway?   

       On the NYC MTA commuter rail, you can buy a ticket from the train conductor for a higher price. Economics in action: if you have time, use the ticket window (or vending machine); if you don't, just get on the train. Works for me.
egnor, Oct 19 2001
  

       Well, i always book over the internet for long distance trips. The ticket vending machines are good as well, but generally won't let you get railcard reductions, and i'm mean enough to want my third off the fare even if its a £2 local trip.   

       The convenience store closest to my work needs this idea badly, as i work next to a large university. There should be a queue reserved for those of us who arent students, so i can get served and back to work with enough lunch break left to eat in.   

       Mmmm, makes me sound bitter doesn't it? Probably true...
wg, Oct 19 2001
  

       Beauxeault, yes, actually. On the other hand, blissmiss, someone already did. Kind of like the disease, there's a computer virus named 'Antrax' that is broken in such a way that you have to work pretty hard to actually catch it.
StarChaser, Oct 20 2001
  

       PeterSealy- I think egnor is talking about the metronorth part of MTA, not the NYC subway. My question about the Metrocards is what do the homeless guys who offer to trade card swipes for tokens do with the tokens they gain from doing this?
alelias, Oct 22 2001
  

       Sell them?
angel, Oct 22 2001
  

       and... many US train stations, as mentioned above.
Deity, Oct 22 2001
  

       Wouldn't it be simpler to implement this if you based it on time rather than number of words? Set up a timer which starts whenever a person walks up to the queue. Give people 10 seconds (or however long), and if after the little beeper goes off they're still talking, they can migrate to another (non-express) queue. This could also help those with long destinations, assuming they can talk/mumble it quickly enough. (Perhaps DrBob and blissmiss could work out the exact nature of the nasty substance and/or route to China.)
cp, Oct 23 2001
  

       I didn't have anything specific in mind, cp, but a combination of razor blades & salt & vinegar flavoured crisps would produce a satisfying number of howls.
DrBob, Oct 23 2001
  
      
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