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"now serving" - another line/queue management question

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"now serving" - another line/queue management question

Post by BarbieSmith on Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:43 pm

Does anyone do a "now serving" system, like you might find at the butcher counter at the grocery store? I was thinking of a tabletop stand with numbers for the "now serving" part, and then I already have stickers from SF that say "I am #____" for the numbering children part (which I use for birthday parties, successfully). Does anyone use a similar system, or like this idea? Any drawbacks that you can think of?

I know line management is the biggest curse of our otherwise delightful jobs and is a never-ending quest for all of us. Am I any closer with this? LOL

Thanks,
Barbie

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Re: "now serving" - another line/queue management question

Post by Kristal on Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:47 pm

Magna brought this up once (here or in "real" life, I can't remember!) and I can't remember how it turned out for her, but my take is that at a large event when people are everywhere, if they have a number, I'm thinking they'll take off and come back later.

But what about those who lose track of time and miss their turns? What if you get through all of #1-33, can't find 34 or 35, are finished by 40, then they show up? Do they "budge"? What if you're DONE at 40 and packing up to leave, and they come up and brandish their numbers at you? Do you paint them, or are they SOL?

IMO, at a large event, if they want to get painted, they will stay. No one is forcing them to wait, and I'd prefer to see how many people are in line, and translate that over to when to cut the line - although I can see the advantage of only giving out ___ tickets/stickers in the first place.

I stand by my non-numbered, wait-in-line ways! Razz

Kristal

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Re: "now serving" - another line/queue management question

Post by TheSparklingLady on Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:44 pm

I have people come back and try and cut in, but your scenario of people coming back has always been one of my nightmare and scared me away from the numbers racket! Shocked

I let em duke it out until the last hour, then, I give each person in line at that time a big gold pirate coin (from Party City) and tell them they are the last ones I will be painting today. They come up eagerly pay their coin for their FP and that is the end. Other who come see the big coins and say to the kids on line where do I get one of those, the kids say, she's all done, there are no more coins. Most times, that makes them go away.

The ones that come when I am breaking down are more difficult. I usually carry some "Get-away-Loot" (clown noses and whistles) that I give awa y as I zoom outta there. It doesn't always work. People get SO nasty sometimes. [Sigh] tongue

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Re: "now serving" - another line/queue management question

Post by wmeventservices on Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:53 pm

At parties where there are bounce houses or other entertainment, I do sticker name tags with a list to sign when the child arrives at the party or first arrives at my table. I call out the name of the child and verify it on their name tag. This way everyone doesn't stand in line and miss the rest of the party. If I child doesn't respond in a timely manner, I move them to the end of the list and go on to the next child. It has worked out pretty well for me. You just have to be firm with the host of the party and let them know that you will not be waiting while people walk around the party looking for a specific child. That child will be moved to the end of the list and their name will be called again later.

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Re: "now serving" - another line/queue management question

Post by CATZ on Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:12 pm

I just wrote a long response and it didn't post! sigh...I'll try again.

It depends on the size of the event

Large uncontained event of over 100 guests isn't practical to use a number system. I thought of getting the big LED number sign for the outside of the tent, but it's expensive. The # binder I use is too small for a large field type event.

A large party of 50-100 guests in a contained area benefit from a numbering system. This way they can participate in the rest of the event and come back when it's closer to their turn. If they don't come back in time, they miss their turn. I bought a 'take a number' reel and put it on my sandwich board that has a whiteboard. The numbers come in sequences of 100 so you only need 'now painting #'s up to 100. I used it for a school carnival and I limited it to the first 40 tickets as I only had 4 hours. It worked well but the tickets were gone in the first 3 minutes so I had to put the reel away and write on the board that all tickets were gone. I put 'now painting #'s in sheet protectors and in a folding (stand up) binder to show what number we were at. As long as it's visible enough and you have at least 2 kids waiting in line you're fine.

For small parties under 50 guests I just line them up and paint a number on their hand. I either have the kid just painted round up more kids or call out the numbers depending on where the others are. The fold up binder/sign is helpful if you have the space.

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Re: "now serving" - another line/queue management question

Post by BarbieSmith on Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:19 pm

Thanks for the input, especially the breakdown by event size! At the birthday parties I do I *do* have the problem with some missing their number when it was called, and then I just worked them in as soon as I could. It kinda worked itself out, the kids were always fine. But yes, at a larger event where the folks were not all related by at least friendship (unlike as at a private party) then I can see tempers flaring. I will have to think this through more...

Is this our holy grail of face painting? Queue management?
Barbie

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Re: "now serving" - another line/queue management question

Post by CreateFaces on Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:57 am

For big public events, my husband is usually the line manager. We don't have any special technique except for the following:

He warns the line when we are approaching our break time and announces how long the break is. Then, by estimation, he stands next to the person he feels we will get to before the break. He says "We'll probably get to this person and then the artists will take their break. This way everyone knows what they're in for as far as wait times.

His job is also to go through the line periodically when it's long and kindly thank everyone for waiting and announce that it takes approximately 3-4 minutes per person to be painted. He lets them know that it's a good idea to have a design in mind when it's their turn.

He announces periodically that we do not paint babies or anyone who is visibly sick, including anyone with a runny nose due to "allergies".

Most importantly, during the last hour at big events, he will manage the cut off point for us which is a God send.

Towards the end of an evet when we're alone without a line manager, it's very stressful to concentrate on painting when you have to continously look up to make sure no one else is trying to get in line.

My whole point...if it's a big enough event, consider hiring a line manager, it's worth it. I've hired my cousin for $15/hour to manage when my husband has been unable to do it.


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Re: "now serving" - another line/queue management question

Post by Judy on Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:22 am

I tried the ticket/numbering thing and people ended up waiting anyways incase they missed their turn.... go figure. Don't do it anymore... people just have to line up and wait.

Judy

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