ISSN : 2266-6060

First arrived, first served

queue

Back in the days, to buy fishes or sea fruits, one could estimate its waiting time in a glimpse. Looking at the number of people in front of the stall was sufficient. Once in the line, one had to be extremely aware of its own position as customers were served. Otherwise, some clever clogs may pass the most distracted and take advantage in the line. Most of the time, to miss one’s tour was preferred instead of to get involved in such a acrimonious situation in a public setting.
Things changed with the installation of a graphic device. By taking a ticket with a number, one also knows how many people are in the line with the help of a screen that displays the current customer number being served. Skills have been displaced. It’s no more worth to be neck to neck or to adopt particular postures in order to stay in the line and to stand up for one’s own territory. The numerical order of tickets has replaced the ecological management of positions, typical of the lines social order. Henceforward, attention is free from most of corporeal constraints and can solely focus on the caller display to appear at the right moment, when the salesman utters his famous “who’s next?”
In such conditions, it is difficult to cheat in order to modify the order of positions. This particular day, during Christmas, the fish shop was crowded with people. Yet, we passed by all customers, neither taking any ticket, nor entering the line. I was with a person that knows well a salesman of this fish-shop, to whom she gave a call just before we arrived: the salesman prepared the order placed the previous day and we directly went to the cash register. Neither the customers, nor the other salesmen, nor the ingenious graphic device saw our blatant unfair act…