Monday, June 30, 2008

To queue or not to queue

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Seating patterns
The seating layout of the Kitchen over the years has developed a pattern based more on intermixing discreet sub-sets of all diners (on any given day) occupying clearly definable areas or habit-zones. Medium table-groups fluctuate in content but come from larger identifiable separate pool-sets and are focused around small relatively fixed-in-content groups or units (say 2-3, sometimes family-based around a parent with young children, or groups of 2-3 young men mostly) who move freely only within a definable area, rarely straying beyond invisible habitual boundaries.
Long-time diners find they tend towards one part of the dining area more than another, dining on rare occasions in other areas when asked by a member from that area to meet for some reason.
To queue or not to queue
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines 'Queue' as 'a waiting line, esp of persons or vehicles'. Based on this definition the following analysis can be made of the Solar Kitchen lunch queue:
Participants divide into X categories:
Conventional queuers
Those who upon arrival stand at the end of the queue at that time, allowing all previous arrivals precedence.
Unconventional queuers
Upon arrival at the queue this category of diner tends to wander normally about one third of the queue's length towards the front, and then either strike up a trivial conversation with someone they would otherwise not normally converse with, for purposes of convincing themselves they have successfully reduced their waiting time by a third (assuming the queue travels at a constant speed) but without incurring the wrath of the conventional queuers they have come in front of.
In the eyes of the unconventional queuer, their strategy is a win-win situation: they have reduced waiting time without repercussion from those in front of whom they stand. This, of course, is delusion. Many focus-group based studies of community kitchen social dynamics, including Schlumberg & Moonaswami's Evolved Social Protocols in Condensed Intentional Communities Solar Kitchen case study1 show despite the absence of perceivable reaction, the majority of diners react negatively to "cutting-in"2 . Consequences for the "cutter-in"3 are usually negligible in the short term, says Geneva's 4th Dimensional Research head, John Pertwee , but long-term repercussions, while difficult to gauge, have been shown to exist5 . Long-term reactions range from diminished inclusion of the offending individual in social activities to actual vocal confrontation and in some rare cases expulsion from the larger community6 .

1. SCHLUMBERG & MOONASWAMI, Evolved Social Protocols in Condensed Intentional Communities; A Solar Kitchen case study, 2000, Chennai E-City Press, p.965-1599
2. LALVANI, J.K., Interviews With Disgruntled People, 1998, Majorcan Community Press, p. 133. Ibid4. PERTWEE, J., I'll Get You Later; Studies in Silent Rage, 1987, Mumbai Elite Academic Special Fancy Press.5. Ibid, p. 10036. PHIERRY, Z., Quit Notice For Cutting-in,
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