queue horror stories

🎃 Tales From the Queue, Volume 1

We interrupt your regularly scheduled feel-good customer service tales to bring you ghoulish, ghostly and gripping stories from the other side of retail.

Ah, see? You’re already unnerved, even though you don’t know what from yet. “What other side of retail?” you ask yourself as your brain keeps scrambling from within the coffin of your skull.

Prepare to have your blood chilled and for shivers to travel down your spine like a pack of venomous spiders. The stories you’re about to hear shy the light of day, so pull your window curtains and take out the candles for that extra dash of spooks.

Let us descend together into the world of the macabre, where the line between the real and unreal is blurred and nothing is what it appears.

Grip my hand tighter. After all, we don’t want you to get lost in…

…the world of waiting.

Disney’s the World of Avatar: Wait Till You’re Blue in the Face

disney attraction queues

Walt Disney World is home to some of the most blood-curdling, bone-chilling wait times ever. It’s not uncommon for a single line to extend for several hours.

Take, for example, one of the newer additions to Disney WorldFrozen Ever After. This is a ride that arguably revels in as much frenzy-like popularity as a movie it’s based on. Rain or shine, hundreds of people queue up for this attraction — and with a 175-minute wait time, many are bound to get as frozen as the eponymous movie.

“But wait!” you might cry out, “Only three hours long? I’ve been to restrooms with more waiting!” Patience, dears, we are just getting started.

Now, how about Peter Pan’s Flight, with its 192-minute waits? Based on a movie that barely breaks top 20 Disney animations for most people, this attraction enjoys undying, cult-like love from children and adults alike.

Or should I only say “adults” since by the time kids finally get their turn, they’ve already turned into legal voters.

Soarin’ Around the World, which was promoted from Soarin’ Over California in June 2016, is another attraction whose lines provide even more thrills and chills than the ride itself. At 193 minutes long — the ride’s longest verified waiting — this wait time could make even Phileas Fogg pale and say “no thanks, I’m taking a cab”.

But this is nothing. This is just an appetizer for the main meal.

I hope you’re sitting down for the next one. And if you are, hold on to your seat ‘cause we’re getting into uncharted waters of Pandora: The World of Avatar.

The pleas of all the movie fans suffering from Avatar blues have finally been answered with the newest ride opened at Disney World. Fly on the back of a mountain banshee in a 3D ride around the moon, hike atop floating mountains of an alien world, and indulge yourself in exotic, made-up Pandorian cuisine.

Oh, excuse me — you could do all of the above, provided your body is strong enough to withstand several hours of waiting.

When the ride had just opened up and the first reports of 400-minute waits were coming in, they were, of course, exaggerating. As of June 2017, the longest verified wait time at the Avatar ride clocked at mere 319 minutes.

A kid could have a time of their life on Peter Pan’s Flight and then get within a stone’s throw of the Soarin’ Around the World’s cabin by the time you so much as touch a banshee.

You want to know the true horror, though? James Cameron is filming not one but four Avatar sequels at the same time — and with the same, dead-but-not-really main villain, no less.

Should the sequels succeed, Cameron risks opening (World of) Pandora’s box. Only instead of containing evils, this box contains more waiting.

Have fun while you can!

Franklin Barbecue: Putting Queue in BBQ

barbecue restaurant queues

Ah, BBQ! The second best three-letter word there is!

(The first one is, of course, ZZZ — and either of them, incidentally, is best enjoyed after the other.)

Barbecue is one of those American-to-the-bone things that weren’t even invented in America — like the Statue of Liberty or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Texas right now is hailed as the capital of barbecue.

And within this capital, there stands a single Mecca — Franklin Barbecue, an Austin-based BBQ joint.

What makes this place stand apart from the competition is not even the flavor of its meat, but the lengths at which its customers are willing to go to taste it. If you ever hope to sink your teeth into the award-winning, 14-hour slow-smoked brisket by noon, be sure to reserve your spot in a queue as early as 7:00 AM.

That’s right, you have to wait four to six hours to get a chance at getting into Franklin Barbecue.

But what is this wizardry? What makes all these people come in droves at dawn — dawn of the dead, more like — a single “braaaains” chant short of becoming actual zombies?

That’s where we get to the meat of the story.

The owner of Franklin Barbecue, Aaron Franklin, first started the joint in 2009 with his wife Stacy. Starting in a food trailer, Franklin opened a full-fledged restaurant on 12 March 2011. He claims he has sold out of meat every day, even in the wee days of his business, and plans to keep on selling out.

Just a couple of years since, Texas Monthly named Franklin Barbecue the best in Texas (which, in their mind at least, equals to the best in the world). Likewise, Bon Appétit declared their slow-smoked brisket the best in the country.

Aaron Franklin arrives at his restaurant at 3:30 AM — they’re not called slow-smoked ribs for nothing! Franklin Barbecue is open for six days a week, and their working hours are, to quote, “from 11 until sold out”.

While in line, people bid their time socializing, reading, or even stuffing their mouths with snacks. (A pre-dinner dinner, so to say.)

Want to jump ahead of someone? Tough luck.

In a state that’s so preoccupied with power it has its own power grid, your wealth means nothing to the owner. Even the likes of Kanye West are told not to cut in line and respect other customers.

The one and only exception was made when Barack Obama paid Franklin Barbecue a visit in 2014.

So if there’s any moral to this story at all, it’s that to touch the heaven, you have to endure the lines of hell. That, or become the President of the United States.

(We’re onto you, Mr. Trump!)

In case you think this story doesn’t have enough Halloween spooks… How about this: Franklin Barbecue caught fire in August and, as of now, closed until further notice.

No one got hurt — except maybe BBQ connoisseurs’ hopes and ambitions. You thought five-hour waits were nightmare-inducing? Try several months — and counting.

The Green Bay Packers’ Season Tickets: A Lifetime of Waiting

american football queues

What able-bodied American doesn’t enjoy a good football match? And what true Wisconsinite doesn’t want to get a highly sought-after seat at a Green Bay Packers game?

Certainly, that’s something to die for!

And many throughout the football history did, as you can tell from the infamous Packers waiting list.

Let’s take a proper look at this beast of waiting shenanigans and thumb through its history in the grand Necronomicon of Queues.

As some of you may know, The Green Bay Packers have sold out every regular and playoff game since November 1959. On 22 November 1959, the Packers played their most recent non sell-out game — and even then, only 297 tickets went unsold.

That’s significantly more than what Lambeau Field, the Packers’ home field, can maintain — and that’s after the Packers have added 7,000 new seats.

“How long can it take, anyway?” you ask, barely able to contain the trembling of your voice. Let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth, shall we?

twitter football queue

Thanks, Rick. This certainly makes us feel better.

Rick’s spine-tingling experiences are not unique in this regard, though. According to a Packers fan from Reddit, they’ve moved up “an average of 409 spots since 2007”.

We’d do the math ourselves, but we’re too afraid to lose sanity from these Lovecraftian calculations.

Long waiting is why many a parent has placed their newborns on the waiting list. And those who didn’t, casually contemplate leaving their unclaimed spots as part of their last will.

You see, Green Bay Packers have a ticket transferring policy. In the event of an untimely demise, season tickets can be transferred to heirs, surviving spouses as well as blood relatives who are “not more than first cousins”.

While the entire generations of football players come and go, you barely move up a thousand spots or two. If you ever hope to see the Packers play — sweet but childlike naivete — you have to wait for someone to relinquish their tickets or abandon the waiting list altogether.

The Packers, however, estimate that only 90 season tickets are given up each year.

After 30 years of waiting, you’d think more people would have lost patience. But the Packers claw into any gullible soul who’s put their name on the list, and nurture their hopes just enough, with annual postcards to keep them informed of their progress.

The list is roughly 110,000 names long now. 30 years is said to be the average wait time. People who put their name on the list today will have to wait for over 100 years.

A stadium packed with skeletons… Now that is a spooky image!


And this concludes our very first installment of the Tales From the Queue.

Hope you enjoyed our voyage into the world of lengthy lines and wait times bound to make you scream your head off. Hopefully, you returned from this journey a bit wiser, a bit more knowledgeable — even if at the cost of a bit greyer hair.

Happy Halloween!

And should you muster strength to go on the trick-or-treating prowl, heed our advice — when in line, don’t ever turn to look back. Who knows what terrors have been patiently waiting behind you…

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