I don’t like lines. Big deal. Nobody like’s lines… queue’s in the UK. Just one of life’s minor problems.
Well, I have to say, I certainly prefer lines to the system we had before lines, the mob. Where the strong and violent went first and some people might never get a chance. The line is certainly more fair and civilized, and all around less destructive. But it’s been like, I dunno, many hundreds of years since the advent of the line and little has improved upon it.
There was the “take a number” innovation sometime in the past, so you didn’t have to physically save your spot. And a more modern version of that is seen at some restaurants, where you get an electronic devise that starts beeping at you when it’s your turn. Those are both great, but we can do better.
This is the 21st century. I want that devise to constantly be updating with an estimated time and error bars. It knows how many people are in front of me, and it could have access to a massive database to extrapolate the time each person is likely to take. That data would also be useful to providing a margin of error, so I could err on the side of caution in I wanted to. The devise should alert you if there is a dramatic change in it’s estimations for some reason. It should also be possible to use the devise to make slight adjustments. Like… say, if I’m in line for something, and it says that it’ll take 45 minutes. So I go off shopping (this is clearly hypothetical) and time passes and then all of sudden my estimated time goes from like 20 minutes to 10, and I’m not going to make it back in time. I should be able to use the device to say, I can’t get back until 15 minutes, so try and arrange it so that I don’t hold up the line, but that I don’t loose my place entirely. That way maybe 1 or 2 people could cut in front of me, maximizing efficiency, but I’d still have the freedom to use my time. This power should have limits, though, or else people would abuse it and then the estimated wait times would be constantly inaccurate.
There are other possible tweaks to the classic “line” we could make. Maybe they could start auctioning spots in line. Or making it a game. People try and answer trivia questions or something for chances to move ahead in line. I look forward to the glorious future queue.