Wednesday, 16 September 2015

"Q". My name is Bond. Oh. not THAT Q.

I was sent a story today by a friend who knows my feelings on the subject - that is, about one of the consummately greatest of all British activities, namely, queuing.

It seems some Danish Professor or other has come up with the theory that those who queue the longest should actually be served the last. He claims it makes purchasing something altogether more efficient and smooth through the idea of 'contra-queuing' (whatever the devil that may mean). 'Serve the people at the back of the queue first', he says, with profound wisdom. Altogether very professorial, albeit demonstrating a somewhat keen lack of understanding of the purchasing psyche.

The Nobel Prize-chasing Prof suggests that if, for example, a popular entertainment act was to announce a tour, with tickets going on sale at 11am one morning, using the theory of 'contra-queuing', no one will want to be first to buy said tickets. So no one will turn up 14 months in advance and venues will be able to sell tickets directly themselves a mere few weeks prior to the event, rather than Ticketmaster (note that other ticketing shysters are available) offering them in a rush on the internet 14 months before the event is due to take place. Plus booking fee.

It was a coincidence I was sent this information at the same time as the announcement by all the "pre-order" parasites of the date of possibly the most pointless and unnecessary annual queuing activity in the country - the arrival of the 'new' iPhone. An iPhone that in reality will be almost exactly the same as it's predecessor, only with few new and extremely pointless add-ons, none of which will actually improve the quality of either your phone calls or texts. But with  hundreds of new emocons (those awful smiling faces and the thousands of derivatives thereof) to help people communicate with even fewer words than the ten or so they currently grunt with.

If aliens were to suddenly appear on earth, I wonder what they would make of the rather moronic wannahaves who queue for hours to buy a piece of telephonic equipment that in reality does nothing new except reduce the balance of their bank accounts. A piece of Chinese-made technology that leaves China for around $200, yet will be sold for close to $800 (in the USA that is - it will be more expensive in the gullible and rip-off UK).

And the idiots will queue up to buy it. Probably at the same time as refugees will be queuing up to get away from being murdered by Islamic State.

Then there's train travel. I am sure many of you will have, at some time or other, booked an inter-city train journey, compete with allocated seat. Now be honest, despite having an allocated seat, did you arrive well in advance of your journey,  queue in the station (despite your reserved seat) and then make a dash for your carriage and seat. And then sit there for half an hour waiting for the train to leave? Yes? Well why did you then? If you already had an allocated seat? It's the equivalent of knowing lunch is being served at 1.15 and you arrive at your table at 12.30 and sit there for three-quarters of an hour with a knife and fork in your hand but no food in sight until 1.15!

It's the same with air-travel. You pay Ryan Air for your "priority" seating pass (and all their other extras such as luggage, sandwich, tea, movie, toilet, air, life-jacket etc. Please note that other similar money-grabbing budget airlines are available), yet the moment boarding is announced, despite having your allocated seat ticket in your mitt, you jump into the queue and stand there like an idiot waiting to board!

And as for movies. Queuing for hours to be first to watch a new release in the confines of an auditorium where all those newly-acquired iPhones are antisocially being used throughout the entire film, as people munch their way through £34 buckets of popcorn and £20 soft drinks when the film will be available through peer-to-peer internet sharing sites for free within a week. Not that I condone piracy.

Nor do I support the outrageous prices of refreshments in those establishments (but that's another story).

Yet, when your tax return is due on the 31st January, you are quite happy to leave it until the night of the 30th January to put it (assuming there is actually room with all the returns of other last-minuters) in the letter-box of your local tax office!

OK. A tax return is not that much fun. But it does keep the MPs we insist on electing in the suitably fit state of expenses they have now come to expect. And  able to afford the new iPhone without having to queue


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