Tuesday 30 June 2015

Retail queue optimisation - or how to burn a mink coat safely...

                                                                                                    pic: Kim Stallwood

According to The Telegraph, the UK population is losing the ability to form an orderly line, in that companies are developing new technology to make queuing more efficient or eliminate waiting altogether.

In fact, dedicated tennis fans join the famous (or infamous) Wimbledon queue every year and, for many, waiting in line has become almost as enjoyable as the tennis itself.

However, this may become increasingly exceptional.

In fact it is estimated that British retailers lose almost £4,000 a day because people are put off making purchases by queues.

The article goes on to detail initiatives by John Lewis aimed at to shortening queues for "click & collect" parcels, sensors embedded in trolley wheels, Barclaycard Anywhere’s device that eliminates the need for receipts and cash protection in-store, and provides a number of pictorial examples of potentially redundant traditional UK queueing…

Speaking of which, despite having a low tolerance limit for any form of queueing, I did spend 15 minutes in a sale-queue outside a major London store, back in 1979..

A neighbour of mine had decided to queue for 5 days to secure a mink coat reduced from £795 to £79, which she planned to burn in an animal rights protest.

Details here & here

I was working in Oxford St on Fay's fourth day and decided to join her in line and keep her company for a while. She was delighted to see me (!) as she apparently had some technical issues to resolve i.e. how to ensure the coat burned quickly. I assured her that my expertise was limited to retail buying and selling, but decided to practice my listening skills for a moment…

I asked her what she planned and she told me about a bottle of petrol she had about her person, intending to sprinkle it liberally, etc.

I cautioned her that unless she intended to make the ultimate sacrifice, perhaps draping the coat over a nearby wire waste-bin (pic) would suffice…thus ensuring a 100% success in terms of media coverage, and my little place in history…

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