Friday, March 25, 2005
The funny queue system
Suppose you are at a shop (not a mall or department store) and the shopkeeper is handing over the articles you ask for. Even while you are buying things, in a very poor attempt at multitasking, the shopkeeper simultaneously attends to customers who have come after you. What irritates you the most is the fact that all those who came after you would have left, while you are still at the shop!
The raison d'etre is strange. The shopkeeper doesn't want anyone to be standing idle. Not surprising, since we in India don't have a system of queue. We don't know how to stand in a queue. Lack of patience or sheer lack of civic sense?
The shopkeeper thinks, if people are made to wait in a queue they may just go to another shop. So, at all times, there are some half-a-dozen people jostling for the shopkeeper's attention. Or in other words, the shopkeeper ensures that all the customers are 'engaged'.
You had it, if you have a lot of things to purchase. Suppose you have 10 things to buy from that shop, and while you are getting them, if, say, six people come after you, each of them buying just one article, then, all six would have left the shop, even while you are still stuck there having bought just four.
Probably, the shopkeeper's logic is that making six people wait in a queue and incurring their wrath is a far greater sin than making you extend your shopping time by a few minutes.
And, once I was made to look like someone from Mars, when I gently suggested to the shopkeeper to attend to me only after he was through with the person who was already there before me.
My worst experience was on Thursday. I was at a shop on CMH Road to buy geyser and fan. I reached the shop around 11.45 am. Only the owner of the shop was there, since two others had gone on some errand. And, to my horror I was stuck there till 1 pm, while so many people who came after me bought whatever they wanted and left. Every time I protested, the harassed shopkeeper, profusely apologising, said, "Just a minute, sir." When I asked, "Why you are attending to people who came after me, when you are not through with me," he said, "Sir, I have to show you the full range of fans fans and geysers, it will take time, is it not.."
I had already learnt that there is no point in protesting against deep-rooted customs and traditions, which have withstood the test of time. Learn not to take offence.