iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Waiting in Line in America

Play now 25 mins

Waiting in Line in America

Duration:
25 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 22 September 2012

Even though waiting in line is an essential part of the human experience there is no such thing as a universal queue.

Many people now believe that the American queue is shedding its British "first-come, first-served" character and is taking on a new form.

In this Your World documentary for BBC World Service, Benjamen Walker examines how in the United States, the system is changing to the priority queue.

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's operational management guru "Dr Queue", most priority queues are invisible but Walker spots them in airports, amusement parks, highways and community colleges.

Benjamen questions if the idea of allowing people to buy their way to the front of the line is compatible with traditional American values like equal opportunity and fairness.

He also asks if the priority queue offers freedom of choice or if it creates a two-tiered society.

(Image: A steward holds a sign that says 'end of queue'. Credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP/GettyImages)

Podcasts

  1. Image for Documentaries

    Documentaries

    An indepth look at stories and issues from around the world. This podcast offers you the chance to…

  2. Image for World Service Music Documentaries

    World Service Music Documentaries

    All the World Service's music podcasts gathered into one place. New documentaries will be added…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss