Queuing Business
Share this on

Queuing Business

hk-queue  Do you know that in Hong Kong, queuing has become a lucrative business? The demand for queuing has sparked the existence of a syndicate that allegedly sells slots for people to be among the first in line.
/>
/>I mentioned the term queuing sporadically in some of my past posts: first to get that iPhone 3G, ATM queues, queuing for a delicious meal at a favorite restaurant, queuing at Ngong Ping 360 or queuing for Olympic tickets and/or souvenirs.
/>
/>The nature of Hong Kong’s law abiding and disciplined society that “you should follow the last person in the queue” from waiting in the bus stop to following the last person lining towards the supermarket cashier has earned praises. Those who try to cut in line (some Mainland visitors are notorious of this, I was told) receive nasty looks but are safe from any physical harassments.
/>
/>The business works when a member will go out of his comfort zone by trying to be the first in line. How they do it is quite vague to me as everyone can take their place only if they are early enough to be in the location. One case of this business happens in Yau Ma Tei offices of the Immigration Department, according to SCMP. Once they are in place and lines get longer long before the opening hours, they start peddling their slots between HK$60-120. Those who are in a hurry and need to finish their transaction earlier are prompted to part with their money.
/>
/>Touting is an offense and a more convenient alternative is to go online and make appointment, but still many would prefer to queue. Maybe among the reasons are the lack of knowledge in going online or the strange philosophy that even after you make that phone or Internet booking you eventually have to go to the location so why not go directly there.
/>
/>A similar business also works on booking of sports facilities where it is extremely difficult to make bookings for facilities of popular sports. For example, I have been trying to play badminton with friends before. Booking a facility is allowed a month before a desired date. But they told me that it was very hard to make online booking because slots get filled immediately even at the very minute the booking opens. SCMP also reports the same syndicate that operates very efficient hands that are capable of making bookings that beat the competition. As with any skill, this comes at a cost that few frustrated people are willing to pay.
/>
/>What’s next? A five dollar charge to give up seats in Hongkong Tramway or MTR, where passengers expect to be perpetually standing during rush hour rides? A five dollar rate for people who queue at HSBC during short weekday lunch breaks?