Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Dreaded Line

Lines (queues) are an interesting beast. I say “beast” because they are pretty much universally hated.

Think about it…have you ever actually enjoyed waiting in line?

“Oh look! There’s six people with loaded carts ahead of me in line! YES!”

“Hey! This line only has one person, so we should probably switch to the one over there with three.”

“I’ve got a great idea! Why don’t I wait in this line and you in the one over there, and whoever gets to the front first and switch to the line of whomever is still waiting!”

I think you get the point….we don’t like lines.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Six Flags Magic Mountain Theme Park. When we got in line, the security guy told us the wait was three hours. THREE FLIPPING HOURS! To boot, the guy in front of us was smoking like a chimney.

Oh Joy. A three hour wait in line is all I need to have the lungs of a 10 year smoker and clothes that smell like a chimney.

After some discussion, we ejected and decided to buy the “Fast Pass” Upgrades. $100 later, I was waiting only 20 minutes for each ride, and getting to ride everything TWICE in a row! (literally, the roller coaster would come back to the station, the restraints would come up, and we’d pull em’ right back down as the twelve year olds next in line gave us murderous looks for being able to stay on).

Grocery store lines are another animal though. There’s an ultra fast calculation that most of us do when picking a line. This calculation factors in such things as: amount of people, amount of groceries (taking into account produce takes longer to ring up than normal store items), age of shoppers (are they young and spry or old and slow?), likelihood of tobacco purchase (since they have to go to that special case to get the tobacco) etc.

Things get really thrown off though when someone decides to pull out the ol’ checkbook. You’re paying with a CHECK!?! Really? REALLY? Pulling out a checkbook at the grocery store line is like rear ending someone on the freeway and causing traffic to back up.

Not only does Checky McCheckerson have to fill out the stupid check, but he has to record the expense in that log in the back of the checkbook (which I don’t understand since you have on-hand a carbon copy of every check you write). Then, the clerk has to run the check through that weird receipt machine. THEN, they have to open the drawer, take the entire change holder out, and stick the check underneath.

Good. Lord.

Checks should be eradicated. They’re incredibly primitive and cumbersome to use. God invented credit/debit cards for a reason people! The only time I use a check these days is to pay rent. Even this could be avoided if the landlord had a paypal account.

Most of the time, I go for the self-checkout. But even this can cause problems. Most people are incredibly slow with the self-checkout. They get confused with produce. Then they panic and need the clerk to walk them through. Meanwhile the guy at the next checkout needs the clerk to approve his alcohol purchase, but since she’s too busy helping grandma ring up her club soda, the whole damn thing gets backed up.

But even this is a cake walk compared to return lines. I rarely ever return anything because the process of returning is so painful. Somehow, the process is at least twice as long as purchasing. And the longer someone takes at the front, the more you start to hate them.

Last year, I had to go to Costco to return something. At the front of this line, their was a lady returning Bananas.

Who returns Bananas? When you buy produce, especially something like bananas, you should be aware that they have a shelf life. And it’s not like bananas are some big mystery as to the state of their ripeness. There’s no pressing of the skin, smelling, thumping it with your fist.

If it’s green, it’s not ripe. If it’s brown it’s too ripe. And If it’s yellow….surprise of the century, I know….it’s ripe!

It baffles me how people spend hours in line on Black Friday (for you internationals, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving on which every store has crazy sales and discounts). Last year, driving home after Thanksgiving dinner, I saw a huge line outside of Best Buy. People even had tents!

It's interesting how little people value their time and will waste it for meager discounts.

Last year, Baskin Robbins had this 25 cent scoop day. I was going to stop by, but when I got there, the line was around the block.

Really? People are waiting 30 or 40 minutes just to pay 75 cents for 3 scoops of ice cream thats normally $4. Yes, that's a whopping $3.25 in savings.

Sometimes, it’s just easier just shopping online ;)

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