Friday, April 13, 2007

Queuing culture

Some people just never learn, myself included.

Last Sunday we went to Genting Highlands (my parents were visiting us) knowing that it would be terribly crowded because of the Easter Holiday weekend. As if that wasn't enough, we decided to take the cable car.

The picture shows how close the person (a guy, unfortunately) behind me while we were queuing for cable car in Genting Highlands. It was like that - constant contact, my back and whatever his was - for at least 30 minutes.

A visit to Genting (on the weekends) is always full of queuing, just like any other theme parks. But with many visitors trying to cut the queue, Genting's management should do something about it.

Anyway, why do some people like to stand so close to the person in front of him/her while queuing?

Can't really find the reason why, but found an article about personal space:
"Social distance is the casual interaction-distance between acquaintances and strangers. It is common in business meetings, classrooms, and impersonal social affairs. Social distance ranges from 120 to 360 cm. Its close phase, 120 to 210 cm, is the characteristic of informal interaction, while more formal interaction requires the far phase 210 to 360 cm. Some physical barriers such as desks, tables, and counters, usually make people keep this distance. Proxemic behavior of this sort is culturally conditioned and arbitrary (Hall, 1966, p. 121-123)."

Or perhaps personal space is just a Western concept?

I also learned in my operations management class about psychology of waiting lines (pdf) by David Maister. He offers 8 points of psychology of waiting:
1. Occupied time feels shorter than unoccupied time
2. People want to get started
3. Anxiety makes waits seem longer
4. Uncertain waits are longer than known, finite waits
5. Unexplained waits are longer than explained waits
6. Unfair waits are longer than equitable waits
7. The more valuable the service, the longer the customer will wait
8. Solo waits feel longer than group waits
(© Copyright 2001-2007 by David Maister)

Not sure, though, if the list can explain the "closeness" in waiting.