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Queue Etiquette 2011/11/19 03:15
This summer, my family ate at a popular ramen shop in Tokyo Station (Rokurinsha). We had eaten their great food a couple of times before. Anyway, this time, I was in the long queue, while my wife and two daughters went down the corridor to shop. I was going to phone them when our time was near. Anyway, one of the hostesses came by and asked me how many in our party, and I indicated, 4 of us. Then, she started talking rapidly in Japanese when she realized that three of us were not in line with me. My Japanese is fair, but I couldn't understand exactly what she was saying. She eventually brought out the manager and we figured out that all members of the party needed to be in line. So, in order not to cause a scene, I apologized, went to the back of the line, and summoned my family. It was a bit frustrating because it added about 45 minutes additional wait time.

Anyway, is this a usual way to manage a queue in Japan? I am not being critical of them. If this is the standard custom, then we will adjust. But this was the first time this has happened to me anywhere in the world...

Dale
by Oenophile Angler  

Re: Queue Etiquette 2011/11/19 10:07
It depends on the type of queue and the organization and eventual rules of the establishment, but generally speaking it is not good manner to have the rest of the group to join later in most types of queues. Such practice is very aggravating to the people behind you and must have been the reason for the particular business to cold heartedly point you back to the end of the line.

Is it different in the United States when you line up at a ride at a theme parks, for example? I didn't think so.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Queue Etiquette 2011/11/19 11:55
Thanks, Uji, for your thoughts,

In the US, there are a lot of restaurants that don't take reservations, and have lines. It is very usual to have a ''representative'' of a group stand in line (usually this is before an establishment opens for lunch or dinner). I've been to only a handful of places outside of the US and Japan, but I've not seen this kind of enforcement either.

Now, the custom is also that an establishment will not seat a group until all party members are present. I think that is usual anywhere.

I haven't been to a theme park other than Disneyland (Anaheim) in years! But, at Disneyland, I have observed single representatives standing in line for their group.

And to clarify, the staff at Rokurinsha were NOT cold hearted at all. They were very polite. I don't believe that I suggested that (although we were certainly disappointed)! And I was very polite and apologetic as well...

Just trying to get a sense of customs.

Dale
by Oenophile Angler (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Queue Etiquette 2011/11/19 13:27
It was a ramen place where you simply queue up, right? In other restaurants where people write their names and the number of people in their groups on a board at the entrance, and can wait leisurely outside, people who drop by would look at the number of names listed and the sizes of the groups to estimate how long they would have to wait.

So in a ramen place where you simply queue up, people who are considering if they want to queue up or not would look (generally) at the number of people in the queue and estimate how many minutes of waiting they are to expect before they get to eat, so having their group members join later can be frustrating. So that must be the background why the shop enforce that rule...

I've seen that rule in restaurants where you physically queue up (instead of writing your names on a board at the entrance), and yes, as Uji mentioned, in theme parks and other places. I would find it very frustrating if someone tried that at a train station waiting for non-reserved section of Shinkansen train, as another example.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Queue Etiquette 2011/11/21 11:30
I haven't been to a theme park other than Disneyland (Anaheim) in years! But, at Disneyland, I have observed single representatives standing in line for their group.

This practice is highly discouraged at Disneyland and most other themeparks, and usually made impossible by segregating the waiting line with barriers.
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Queue Etiquette 2011/11/21 16:52
In the recent years, Disneylands around the world have been distributing "Fast Passes" for a lot of their rides, which works kind of like a numbered ticket you hold on to without having to queue for hours.

This system is practically the same thing as what AK discribed in her 11/19 13:27 post as "other restaurants where people write their names and the number of people in their groups on a board at the entrance."

At most ramen bars, taxi queues and other commuter transportation queues, they don't waste manpower and paper to hand out numbers for those who wish to wait. In fact, at many food places it's part of the culture to wait: The more you wait, the more you look forward to it. The inconvenience is part of the attaraction.

You do always have the option to eat elsewhere where you don't have to queue. I actually know a lot of locals here in Japan who decide to never go to the same place again after having to wait too long.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

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