Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Q-Bot

Knows its place, and holds it for you
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An android that simply wanders around London (or some other English-style city) searching for queues to join. As it progresses through the queue, a price display steadily increases. Anyone who wishes to take the robot's place in the queue can deposit the specified amount, at which point the robot will cede its position and go look for another queue.

When your fellow queuestanders tut-tut to themselves quietly while casting you reproachful glances, you simply glare back at them with a look that says “How dare you assert that life can only exist in carbon-based biological form, you speciesist meatsack!” That will surely put them in their respective places, and hopefully teach them a lesson about tolerance besides.

ytk, Feb 20 2014

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       I like the idea but long before you arrive to swap places the robot would be in a local dumpster. When you do arrive you will decide that swapping places with the device is not for you.
AusCan531, Feb 20 2014
  

       //the robot would be in a local dumpster//   

       Highly unlikely. Do you have any idea what duranium alloy *weighs*?
ytk, Feb 20 2014
  

       A group at Manchester University (who knew?) works on the psychology of queueing.   

       This is the group that found that queue bargers were only reprimanded about 15% of the time.   

       In a more recent study, they made a simple sign on a wooden stand that read "I will be back". A queuer joined the queue with the sign and, after a while, simply left the sign in place and went off.   

       In about 90% of cases, the people behind simply moved the sign forward as the queue advanced.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 20 2014
  

       The simple solution is to not allow position trading at all. The next step is to have different lines for premium and regular priced tickets.
WcW, Feb 20 2014
  

       // This is the group that found that queue bargers were only reprimanded about 15% of the time. //   

       I wonder how this changes with age. From my experience, young children would repremind the queue barger 99% of the time. But does it drop to 15% somewhat suddenly when a person matures then level off, or does the probability continue decreasing indefinitely
scad mientist, Feb 20 2014
  

       Neat idea but I wouldn't let anybody in front of me because they gave money to a robot. I'd be thinking "This robot has no civil rights enforceable by the courts therefore he can't transfer these rights, specifically it's ownership of a particular place in line." But I'd simply say "Back of the line pal" if somebody tried to cut in front of me. If he called me a "speciesist meatsack" I'd offer to shove a robot up his... well, it might get ugly but he'd end up behind me one way or another. If it was a woman I'd be polite and let her in and take my wrath out on the robot. See previous dumpster post.   

       To counter this, the robot would have to be equipped with some kind of combat capability and then we're getting into a whole new game here, but I doubt it would come to that. And what does the robot do when people cut in front of it?   

       //In about 90% of cases, the people behind simply moved the sign forward as the queue advanced.//   

       When the sign gets to the front do all the obedient little sheep wait patiently for the poster to return or at some point do they dare to stand up to the sign and cut in front of it? Talk about a population ripe for subjugation. I grieve for civilization.   

       I smell an art project: "Signs". Various goofy signs posted around telling people to do ludicrous things to see if they'll obey.
doctorremulac3, Feb 21 2014
  

       Does it have to be a robot?   

       Is this a job opportunity for the unemployed?
The self-employed executive queuing assistant is born.
  

       //In about 90% of cases, the people behind simply moved the sign forward as the queue advanced.//   

       What happened in the other 10% of cases? Did they return to find that their place at the back of the queue had been retained? Or perhaps they'd been volunteered for an entirely different queue?   

       I'm struck by how the word 'queue' has a dicharacter repeat, like banana. I wonder how many other words have similar repeats... I might write a perl script to find out.
Loris, Feb 21 2014
  

       ’queued’ is even better!
pocmloc, Feb 21 2014
  

       //I'm struck by how the word 'queue' has a dicharacter repeat, like banana. I wonder how many other words have similar repeats... I might write a perl script to find out.//   

       You can do it with a regexp.   

       grep -P "([a-z][a-z])\g1" words | wc   

       Returns 2,910 words on my system. If you filter out proper nouns (by piping to "grep -v [A-Z]") you get 2,627.   

       If you further limit it to repeated vowels (replace "[a- z][a-z]" with "[aeiou][aeiou]") you get two words: “queue” and “polyphloisboioism”. However, notwithstanding the fact that Googling the latter word gets 21,400 hits, I can't find a definition for it and am not convinced it's actually a word.
ytk, Feb 21 2014
  

       this is hilarious, especially when you think for a second and extend it to being a job for unemployed people. I could so imagine a Seinfeld episode like this, or some other sitcom. People trying to do this and get money for it.
EdwinBakery, Feb 23 2014
  

       The Q-bot would come in two styles - dejected or harrassed - so as to blend in with the English.
calum, Feb 25 2014
  

       Hey - that's not fair! We also do hesitant.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 25 2014
  

       // //the robot would be in a local dumpster//   

       Highly unlikely. Do you have any idea what duranium alloy *weighs*? //   

       Hesitantly... build a dumpster around the bot?
popbottle, Mar 02 2014
  

       The human version of this idea is one I had a few years ago when you would wait for literally 5 hours (and sometimes even more) to get to the front of a South African Traffic Department or Home Affairs queue. Certainly the drivers license renewal queue is faster these days, so perhaps the market for this service is now gone.   

       I find the idea that genuine place-holding is somehow unfair a bit strange. We sell a lot of the rest of the time we might waste on leisure, so why not our queuing time? (and let the market decide what the value of that time is).   

       In this country the bots would have to make way for humans (and would be helped along their way if they got in the way of humans, too).
skoomphemph, Mar 02 2014
  

       Further to my random tangent above, my daughter pointed out to me today that 'bringing' has a tricharacter repeat.
Hope this helps.
Loris, May 07 2014
  

       If all queue standers behind that point got a cut of the proceeds, it might cut down on the annoyance.   

       Or you could allow them all to input what price they would accept to be cut in front of, and the bid price would be that+the robot's fee.
MechE, May 08 2014
  

       It wouldn't be long before someone creates a Q-bot distractor that sets up fake queues in front of people's houses or something thus setting off an arms race that would culminate in a malevolent ultra Q- bot which forces all of humanity to stand in endless queue's until we all starve.
terryo, May 11 2014
  
      
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