04 August, 2012

Queuing at my outdoor pool

A few weeks ago my family and I visited out local open air swimming pool. Yes, hugely surprising, I know, given the gallons of rainfall that we’ve had recently. But right at the beginning of the summer there was a really warm weekend day. Remember?

Anyway, the net result of said warm day was that the world and his wife (well, my local community and his wife) flocked to the outdoor pool. Now, our pool used to have a sensible system in place—three swim sessions a day with everyone thrown out at the end of a session and new people admitted at the beginning of the next session.

But this sensible system has changed. What happens now is that the pool opens first thing in the morning and stays open all day long, with no separate sessions and everyone allowed to stay as long as they like. This means that if you decide to go swimming in the afternoon, for example, there’s a good chance that you won’t get in at all. You’re reduced to queuing until enough people come out that you reach the front of the line. And this can take a very long time, as I can attest from my personal experience a few weeks ago.

If you’ve got young kids, queuing at length in the heat can be difficult—even more so if you’re forced to give up in the end. Why don’t the powers that be at the pool recognise this? Especially since the majority of their customers are indeed families with young children.

I should also point out that a system generating long queues simply encourages people to play dirty—queue jumping by joining friends who are further ahead in the line, for example. But that’s another story...

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