musical chairs queue

Was at Klongchan Credit Union (CUKJ) as part of a massive exercise to file a lawsuit against the previous management for embezzlement. The hall was converted for the purpose of streamlining people to the various checkpoints along the route to submit their individual case.

To give a clearer picture, CUKJ has more than 50,000 members, most of them with under 50,000 Bt assets. However, other credit unions in the country also invested with CUKJ due to the fantastic returns (10%). Thus the embezzlement case has massive impact on a broad swath of the lower income segment in this country.

Back to the hall, imagine this – after making copies of documents that you need, you make your way into the hall. At the front of the hall, a row of officers are checking the documents for completeness, explaining things to the elderly and so on. Slightly to the back are rows and rows of chairs occupied with members waiting to submit their documents to be checked. However, there’s no visible queue system – how does it all work?

Standing there for a few minutes, the mystery is revealed. Every now and then, when an officer completed processing a case, someone waiting in the front row get up and walks up to the available officer leaving behind a vacant seat. This vacant seat is filled by the person adjacent to it, leaving behind an empty seat in turn. This is then filled by the next person and so on and so forth until everyone has shifted exactly one seat.

This musical chairs version of a queue is rather amusing. While in the queue, sitting and getting up, it occurred to me that a less strenuous and probably less amusing way to do this is simply to add two flags to the system – one flag labeled HEAD and the other TAIL. When an officer is available, the person holding the HEAD flag gets up and hands the flag to the person next in the queue. When a new person joins the queue, he ends up holding the TAIL queue.

No getting up and down but also less musical. Oh well…


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