Lines Make A Cameo Appearance in Azerbaijan
One morning, residents of Baku, famous for its lack of queuing, witnessed an oddity. A group of young people were setting up artificial lines in front of ATMs and bus stops, and patiently “waiting” for their turn and distributing educational leaflets to passersby.
Counting on the power of example, these young people were trying to advocate standing in queues. This was an action held by a new youth group — one aimed at positive change.
This can only be a good thing. I’m pro-queuing, pro-lines, pro-waiting-your-turn. My most recent line experience here was just yesterday when I had to go to the AzerEnerji office to pay for electricity. The system is a good one, but they are still learning how to use the computers effectively. Currently, it takes three people to get me my electricity (it’s a card system where you put something like 10 AZN on the card, and then insert it into your electric box, and it allows you that 10 AZN of energy; it’s a nice pre-paid system, actually). One person sits at a computer typing in the bill information, another has a computer and device for putting money on the cards, and one person takes the money and writes every transaction in a hand-written ledger. You could probably guess that this process takes some time, and there might be delays. As I was waiting in the enforced line (really just a mess outside the door to the office with the three operators), I was impressed by how much people could complain about having to wait in line. I am even more grateful now for having parents telling me that I had to wait sometimes, and that I’ve learned an appreciable degree of patience.