I usually spend my time on this blog speaking to the business and its owner. Today, I’ve got something for the customer. For the guy or gal, stuck in line, wishing they were anywhere but.
When you’re stuck in line, no matter the place, the time just seems to drag. You’d do anything to skip to the front and get the hell out. Well, if you have a smartphone, I have a solution – three of them, actually. Below are a few of my favorite smartphone games that’ll help you pass the time as you wait despairingly in line.
This is my all-time favorite phone game. I’m not a gamer, honestly. I haven’t owned a gaming system since the original NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), and I even got that one 5 years late. But I love Bike Race. It’s free, super easy to play, and a ton of fun. You can play on your own, challenge other racers, or face off with your Facebook friends in multiplayer mode. Give it a try; you’ll be at the front of the line before you know it.
If you haven’t heard of it, it works like this: you play with a friend and select a word to draw for them. Your friend then uses the drawing to guess the word. It’s not about playing Picasso, it’s more about the laughs you’ll find in your friends’ attempted artwork. Test it out next time you’re in line. If you’re feeling extra ballsy, you might even ask the person in front of you to play.
I’d assume that about 90% of the American public has at least heard of Angry Birds, and there’s a reason for that – it’s the bomb.com. Use a slingshot to fling the angry birds, each with different destructive powers, and destroy the evil pigs that are threatening the birds’ world. I can almost guarantee that time will fly as fast as the birds while you play this game. Try it out next time you’re jammed up in line. You’ll thank me later.
So there ya have it. A few ideas to kill some time while you’re stuck in line.
And by the way, if we have any business owners or facility managers reading, we have a ton of ideas for you to cut the wait down too. Just give us a call at 888.404.7892 x 404.
The 1970 Pontiac GTO in the picture above belongs to Kevin Callahan, one of our recent clients. Mr. Callahan got in touch with us a few months back to inquire about some crowd control equipment for his display.
As a requirement for most shows, the car owners must include some sort of barricade to separate the spectators from their vehicles. In the event of an accident, this shifts liability from the show facility to the individual car owners.
Kevin says most participants use standard stanchions, but he wanted something shorter, as the standard 40-inch barriers end up blocking the view of the car. People also commonly use plastic chains, but Kevin believes this makes the display look cheap. “You’re judged on the entire display,” he says. “It’s about much more than the car.”
After Kevin told us about his beautiful GTO, we knew he needed something special; a system low to the ground, but also able to serve the barricading purpose. So we set him up with 8 gallery crowd control posts. To customize and add to the ambiance of his display, we went with colored belts to match, and customized the base of each stanchion with white lettering that spells out the year, make, and model of the car, as well as its name, “Irish Eyes.”
When travelling, Kevin carries two rolls of carpet, each 10’ x 20’, a large tool box for lights, spare parts, cleaning supplies, and other miscellaneous items, and now, the stanchions. By removing the bases and braking the stanchions down, Kevin is able to place all of the crowd control equipment into his tool box, eliminating any travel hassle. Mr. Callahan has been more than pleased with the gallery posts.
Working with Kevin was really an interesting experience for us, as we haven’t worked with too many car shows. We learned through this experience that it’s absolutely imperative to have quality crowd control when displaying a vehicle at a car show, for both functional and aesthetic purposes.
For those of you interested in learning more about Irish Eyes, we’ve included some of the specs as well as another picture and video below.
1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible
Frame-off restoration classified as a “Resto Mod”
Completely custom body panels, interior, motor, suspension & electronics
Hand-built, custom-made gas tank
Best in Show for Pontiac Regionals 2011
Perfect 1000 points at the Pontiac Nationals 2012
Best in Class World of Wheels 2011 – 2012 – 2013
999 / 1000 points at Muscle Car Nationals 2011
998 / 1000 points at muscle Car Nationals 2012
Are you using crowd control to mark restricted areas, form organized lines in front of your registers, and guide groups of people through your facility? If so, you’re only halfway there. The good news is, you’ve done all of the hard stuff already. The rest is easy.
Here are three ways to get the most out of your crowd control equipment and maximize your ROI.
If you have queueing equipment in place, why not accessorize with a sign, a table, or a merchandising bowl? A recent case study performed by our crowd engineers showed that the implementation of one merchandising bowl had a return on investment rate of nearly 150%.
As people wait in line, they are a captive audience. They’re standing there, waiting for service, so why not use your queueing equipment to grab their attention? It’s like placing a billboard in a highly trafficked area.
In order to get the greatest return on your equipment, you need to maximize usage. If you’re operating a facility where you need crowd control in multiple places, you can always buy more equipment, but why spend the extra money?
The Champion for Children Foundation is a United Way non-profit agency that manages gifts from private citizens to help create timely solutions for the problems facing youth in Highlands County, Florida.
The restoration of the Circle Theatre in Sebring, FL, is one of the agency’s many ongoing initiatives. Once completed, the theatre will be used to assist local families by providing a creative, wholesome outlet for entertainment, including art classes, after school programs, and music lessons for children. To enhance sustainability, the theatre will also house several tenants, and be available for special events and other rental opportunities.
When Kati Pippin, the Executive Assistant at Champion for Children called us, she was looking for some crowd control equipment to enhance the grand opening at the theatre. Scheduled for June 27, 2013, Kati is expecting quite a crowd from the local community, and this project means a lot, not only to those at Champion for Children, but for the families in Highlands county as well.
She told us the front door is currently outfitted with a red carpet, so we knew red ropes would complement the area. We set her up with eight brass top posts and four 6-foot draping velvet ropes. This equipment will remain at the theatre after the grand opening, used to enhance the entrance during special events such as weddings, corporate luncheons, and seminars.
Pippin told us that they’ll be using the equipment for control purposes as well. Whether it’s used for blocking off an entrance, or directing traffic from one area to the next, she plans to use the equipment to its full potential.
It’s often a bit difficult to get excited about crowd control, but it’s easy when you have clients like Champion for Children. We were so happy to work with them, and we wish them the best of success with the Circle Theatre. It’s a novel idea, and we hope the grand opening is everything they hoped for.
Wake Forest University recently had some big names in town for their annual concert, cleverly called “WakeStock.” The university brought in hip-hop stars, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Kendrick Lamar to perform at the concert, but the highly anticipated event fell short due to crowd control issues.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who recently hit unfathomable stardom with their song, “Thrift Shop,” were the headliners for the show, and their set was forced to end early due to a faulty crowd control barrier.
The school hired an entertainment company that used some sort of outdoor barrier to create a separation between the audience and the stage. This method was working until a broken pin closed the gap between the stage and the audience.
The school’s security, worried about injuries, attempted to hold the barricade together, but it wasn’t enough. The gap kept getting smaller, and school officials paused Macklemore’s set, asking the crowd to move back. Police were successful in pushing the crowd back, and Macklemore began to play again, but not for long.
Crowd problems continued, and again, officials were forced to stop the set, this time for good. After the show, Macklemore tweeted the following about the concert: “It was never in our control nor did we ever stop performing. That barricade was for 2,000 people and there were over 4,000 there.”
The technical director for the entertainment company rejected the claims made by the rap star, saying, “The barricade we brought to Wake Forest is crowd friendly and tough.” He said they used the very same barricade at much larger events, including a concert on New Years Eve that had a crowd of over 13,000 people.
The school made the right call, as many students said the situation was frightening. “I was near the front,” one junior student who attended the concert said, “and it was a domino effect. People kept falling. I fell on the ground and thought I was going to get trampled.”
It’s unconfirmed as to what kind of barricade the entertainment company was using. Generally, these barricades are not very tall – usually around 4-feet. Some might wonder how a barricade that size could keep separation; why the crowd wouldn’t just hop over. The answer is simple. The barricades help form an orderly atmosphere. They help security personell monitor the crowd. If one person jumps, security can address the problem. If the whole thing comes down, control is lost.
When used properly, bike rack barricades are a sufficient means for controlling outdoor crowds. The barricades are made from 16 gauge steel with an interlocking system that allows for easy connection and system extension. No matter the size of the area, you can connect the 8-foot barricades to create a sufficient barrier.
As soon as they break or falter, however, control is lost. Thus, there are two main points to be pulled from this near-disaster at Wake Forest University:
1.) The equipment is imperative to overall security. Communicate law and order to attendees by creating a safe, controlled atmosphere, and that’s what you’ll get.
2.) Check your equipment. Purchase quality equipment to start, and be sure to give a thorough test to each piece before every event.
It’s happened to each and everyone of us. You get in line and you know right away – I’m going to be here awhile. These situations aren’t always avoidable, but you should know what you’re getting yourself into from the start.
So we made this list for you, about the 6 worst people to wait behind. We’ll tell you why they’re so horrible, and reveal a couple of warning signs, so you can bail if you have the chance.
1. Coupon Lady
Description: It’s your grandma. Really. Okay, not every elderly lady has a purse bursting with coupons, but I’d say it’s 9 out of every 10. I worked at a supermarket as a kid, so I’ve done unofficial market research.
Warning Signs: She’s old, female, and carrying a handbag that could double as a suitcase. She smiles at you when you get in line, and tells you that you look “just like her grandson.”
2. Gropey Couple
Description: This couple can be any age, but they tend to be younger – anywhere from 16-24. They’re obviously newly together – why else would they be making out and touching each other in line? The aggravation they arouse has nothing to do with extending your wait, but simply making it uncomfortable. No one wants to watch that.
Warning Signs: They’ve groped or kissed each other within the first 30 seconds of your wait.
3. Loud Cell Phone Dude
Description: “Loud Cell Phone Dude” should be enough. He’s loud generally, but he’s especially loud when he’s on his cell phone surrounded by waiting people, all of whom are listening to his conversation.
Warning Signs: Well, he’s loud. And he’s on a cell phone. These signs will definitely be apparent from the moment you get behind him.
4. The Space Invader
Description: The space invader can be any age or gender. This person has complete disregard for the unwritten rule of personal space, which states that a waiting customer is given between 3-5 feet in front and behind them. The space invader has plenty of open floor to play with, yet they choose to join your 3-foot circle. You will hate them.
Warning Signs: If you’re lucky, you’ll start to smell someone else’s shampoo, cologne (or perfume), deodorant, or tooth paste shortly after they arrive in line. If you’re unlucky, you’ll smell body order. You might feel someone breathing on your neck.
5. Mom with Kid(s)
Description: She’s a female, and she has a child (or children); I’d say age 6 or under. If she has a baby, you’re going to have her juggling the kid, her cash, and possibly some coupons. That’s going to take forever. Not to mention, there could be crying. That sucks. If she has a toddler, she’s going to be turning from the cashier every 5 seconds to be sure her kid isn’t stealing candy bars.
No matter the age, when the kid starts crying, she’ll turn to the cashier and say, “I’m so sorry. Do you have kids?” If you hear those words, put your hands together, and pray that the cashier says no. If (s)he does have kids, the two of them will start trading stories and pictures. You’ll be there awhile.
Warning Signs: A woman with a kid (possibly multiple children) – age(s) 6 and under.
6. Off-the-Clock Employee
Description: This person is an employee of the business you’re waiting inside, but they are off the clock. They’re simply visiting, or shopping, or just there to make your life miserable. When they get to the cashier, they start talking about their next shift, or how much they hate their manager. This person is definitely worse than coupon lady and mom, as you can’t really hate an old person or children. Off-the-clock employee falls in line with the gropey couple, the space invader, and loud cell phone dude.
Warning Signs: This person is waiving emphatically at the cashier from the line. They’re mouthing stuff to each other, and everyone else around you is starting to look irritated.
These 6 people are the worst. Watch out for them.
Back in December we covered a story about an unruly crowd of sneaker shoppers in Alabama. As is common with these highly coveted kicks, Nike only releases a small number in an effort to create hype.
In Alabama, 100 sneaker heads stood waiting outside a small retailer to grab one of 36 wrist bands that would guarantee a pair of retro Jordans at a later date. When things got out of control, police were forced to use pepper spray on the crowd. This, of course, led to bad press for Nike and the Jordan brand, the retailer in Alabama, and the police. Not to mention, those who were caught in the middle and ended up in the hospital with various injuries.
This most recent incident occurred outside of a store called “Mad Rags” in Springfield, Mass. last week. An 11-year-old girl was waiting in line for the shoes, when she was caught in the middle of an argument between two other waiters. When gunfire sounded, the girl was hit in the leg. Police in Springfield sent out a massive unit in search of the shooter.
All this over sneakers. It seems crazy, right? There’s one pestering question that we asked back in December, and unfortunately, we’re forced to ask it again – was this incident preventable? What can police, retailers, and the Nike Air Jordan brand do to eliminate this sort of violence while still selling these sneakers?
Here’s what we think: Nike has already changed their release practices, pushing back the door time to 8 a.m. to eliminate campouts, and give law enforcement the benefit of daylight. They’ve also barred retailers from pre-selling sneakers, or posting pictures before release dates. These are all solid moves, but they’re obviously not enough. What else?
Crowd control equipment. It won’t stop gunfire, but it can create an atmosphere of law and order. A few bike rack barricades in front of the store paired with standing law enforcement will dramatically decrease the likelihood of violence. Inside the store, retractable belt barriers with standing law enforcement.
If you create an atmosphere that communicates order, you’re likely to have order. But, unfortunately, retailers and law enforcement can only do so much. Nike has surrounded the Air Jordan brand with hype and limited availability. Limited availability creates hype, which drives demand. And demand drives profits. It’s smart marketing, but it’s also what drives the problem.
Nike has tried to tone things down, but they may need to do more. No pair of sneakers is worth someone’s life, and we’re hoping we don’t have to cover a story like this again.