49. The Queueing Phenomenon

I’ve seen good line up. I’ve seen horrible line up. I’ve stood in lines. I’ve crammed into lines. I know about lining up.

But I have never seen line-ups quite like the Queue.

LSE’s space-to-student-population ratio demonstrates complete overcapacity. Its buildings, rooms, hallways, cafes are much too small for its large student body. This problem becomes especially acute when the school hosts conferences, events, and fairs.

I was at a fair last week, that saw more than 700 students pass through a space that can only hold 200 or so comfortably. The school has devised a system to divvy up attendees whereby limited amount of tickets are opened at three slots of time. For this event, students can go for the 5:30, 6:30 or 7:30 time slots, or they can try their luck and come without a booking.

The event was on the sixth floor. At several points, the line-up, or Queue extended all the way round the stairs down to the ground floor lobby.

Students were turned away if they came too early for their time slot or if they did not have a ticket. Some of these students have waited over an hour in the long snaking Queue. But instead of becoming overwhelmingly irritated when turned away, they simply accepted the fact and gracefully stood to the side to wait some more.

With the exception of one or two students who got frustrated with the long line, most came in with a cheerful face and at the ready for more Queues inside the venue. I was blown away by the extraordinary patience of every one of them, not to mention the persistence. I see a long line, and I am immediately turned off from whatever the line is for. I usually don’t even bother with it no matter how much I wanted what’s at the end of it all.

But this year, I will learn because at LSE, there are Queues everywhere. At the library, in the school stores, outside classrooms, inside classrooms, into theatres, into coffee and snack shops. If your day did not involve a Queue of some sort, then it must have been a sunny bright day because both are tremendously rare.

Happy Queueing!

P.S.: I am well aware that Queue is not usually written with a capitalized ‘Q’.

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