The Cue To Queue

Monday 17th November 2008

So I was in a shop earlier. Tesco, as it happens. With one of my brothers. This particular branch of Tesco is one of the small ones, and is laid out such that the queue for the checkout can form in a couple of ways depending on whatever psychological forces you care to mention. I cant be bothered to explain what I mean, so here’s a diagram of the layout:


I should make it clear that theres no sign or anything saying “queue this way”, it’s basically down to where people choose to queue.

So anyway, today the queue formed in the way I’ve labeled as queue A in the layout above. When we got to the end of the shelves, my brother stepped aside to look at something at the end of the shelf, while I stood in the same place. The position my brother was in was the same as that of someone who in queue B, so when he took a step closer to the checkouts when the person in front moved, the two girls stood behind us chose to pass comment.

Not to us, of course. One said to the other “god, don’t you hate it when people queue in the wrong place and then cut in”. Now, usually I’d let it go, but this time I didn’t. I turned round and explained that yes the queue went that way (I hadn’t labeled them queues A and B at this stage, I’m not that sad) but that actually he was in front of them. At which point one said to the other – not to me – “don’t you hate it when people cut the queue and then have attitude?”. My brother then turned round and told them to go ahead of him. Their response was “oh, well I don’t really want to now”. Again, said between themselves, not to us. They did puish in front of us in the end.

Theres not much I’m gonna say about that. It just seemed so British. That sense of “well yes I have a problem, but rather than tell you about it I’ll just pass comment about it, loud enough so you’re bound to hear. Hah, that’ll get ya!”

That I’m writing about a queue also seems pretty British. But there you go.

Btw, that I drew that diagram is the second indication today that I probably need to get out more. On Top Gear tonight, there was a car being brought to the presenters on a low-loader. It was hidden under a cover so they couldn’t see what it was. Just before it was unveiled, I mentioned to my housemates that it looked a lot like a Renault Avantime – a car that’s pretty rare, especially in Britain. And thats what it was…

Tangent: Architects. How are they so rubbish? CAD drawings often have lots of layers; say for buildings, or white lines, or furniture, or drainage, or whatever. Engineers’ drawings are all generally right. Everything is in the right layer, and it makes sense. Whenever you get something from architects though, it’s a complete mess. You might have trees on the same layer as the half of the foul drainage, the rest of which is on the “levels” layer. Which also contains the title block, for some inexplicable reason. Someone told me the other day that they once got an architects’ drawing that had a completely different project they’d worked on, to one side of the actual project. The architect had pasted the old drawing into the new one, because they wanted to copy something from it. Probably the taps, or something else that real people delete so they can do proper work with it… Oh, also, they never purge them (i.e. get rid of layers, blocks etc that arent being used). I purged a 5mb drawing from an architect the other day, it got it down to about 3… Perhaps we expect too much. Another guy has told me about how he once had to explain to an Architect why exactly it is that water runs downhill…

None/little of that last paragraph will make sense to anyone who isn’t a Civil/Structural Engineer. Sorry.

This is a fairly non-post. But I couldn’t sleep and wanted to write something, so in that sense it’s served a purpose. Goodnight!

Posted at 3:34 am | Posted In: EngineeringRandomRant



Monday 17th November 2008, 3:03 pm

They should have barriers and signs to prevent that kind of queue malarky.

Re: the aventime. You car people are nuts.

I got that architects are morons, but then I do hear a lot of shameful stories about civil engineers, too. Mostly involving not accounting for water in swimming pools or books in libraries.

Enjoy your non-comment on a non-post :)


Monday 17th November 2008, 3:26 pm

Fair point about swimming pools and libraries, but those cock-ups are generally rarer than the one Architects make. And technically those are mistakes by Structural engineers, not Civils… :p


Wednesday 19th November 2008, 8:20 pm

I find it interesting to find out about what other people learn about, even if I don’t really understand what they’re on about (like the difference between structural and civil, and uh, architect…) Some parts of my degree are so core to my course that it often comes as a surprise that there are people out there who don’t know what certain things mean, like reflux or differentiation.

Also lol at the Britishness. You could have completed it by having a conversation with the cashier about the weather ;)


Wednesday 19th November 2008, 8:35 pm

Architects say what they want something to look like, etc. They decide the layout of a building, what goes round it, where the rooms are, etc. They also talk funny – theres one involved with a project I’ve been working on that, whenever he issues a new layout, says he’s done it to “rationalise the way the corner of the building addresses the square”. I still don’t have a clue what he means, cos generally theres no difference between the layouts….

Structural engineers make the thing stand up. They take the look of the building/whatever and turn it into a structure that stands up.

Civil engineers make sure that the building fits into the surroundings. Make sure it doesnt flood, that the toilets have somewhere to flush to. They make sure that the height of everything works properly (eg that they’re not accidentally building the floor of the building 10m above the ground outside), make sure theres no contaminants in the ground, and work out where any existing pipes are so that you don’t break any when you dig. Basically they make sure a site is ready to be built on, and co-ordinate it with what’s around.

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