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Queue Management

How do you manage a queue?  It’s a question that comes up almost every day on the newbie Facebook groups.

Over the years there have been an enormous number of different methods put forward. Here are a few suggestions based on my 30 odd years of painting.



🧍  Team painting: It’s really helpful both practically and for moral support to work with another painter.  It helps with queue management, gives you a chance for a break and keeps the fun in your manner.  A bit of banter between the two of you can make you fun to watch!

🧍  Line manager: The best option of all!  Your line manager  can take money, control the queue, encourage choices, hold a mirror and answer the annoying, time-consuming and repetitive questions.  Bring your own or ask the host/organiser in advance to help out.

🧍  One queue: Be aware of the queue spreading out and forming two queues particularly if there are two painters – that is a big cause of arguments.  Keep shouting – ‘only one queue please!’ – get up and organise them if need be.  Use a post with  signage at the front of the queue.

🧍  Next in line: It’s useful to have two or three chairs just at the front of the queue to make it clear who is next.   Get a mat for the next to stand on – or a picnic blanket for them to sit on. If working within a gazebo, put ribbons or rope around the three sides to form a barrier.

🧍  Closing the queue:  Keep an eye on the crowd in line.  Make a rough head count occasionally so you know how long they are waiting – then you can assess when you will have to close the queue. It could be 30 minutes, or 2 hours!  This will depend on the speed at which you wish to paint.

When you realise it is time to close the line, then walk up the line saying very loudly what you are doing and you will be numbering everyone.  It is important to be loud, assertive and smiling as you do this!

Then with your paint and brush, go to the back of the queue and make friends with that person (you may have to choose a suitable adult) – have a quick chat and explain/ask that you wish them to be the bouncer!  You will reward them with the best paint of the day.  Give them the ‘last in line’ vest or whatever you have.   Explain that if there are any difficulties, they should send that person to you.

Then start numbering the children – number 1 is the back of the queue.  Keep shouting out for the children to hold out their hands to get a number – it they are absent, paint on the queue holder/parent’s hand.  Work your way to the front and now get painting – you know how many you have to do in the time.   Some people use numbered tickets.

Sometimes you may have to curl the queue around so the end person is right by you – this makes it easier to keep an eye on the late-comers.

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