Thursday, January 16, 2014

10 lines we might be in

Our neighbors across the pond call it queueing up.  In America it's called getting in line.  Seems like queue is the proper term, but in any case, it's basic economics.  When supply is scarce and demand is high, there is just one thing to do and that is LINE UP!

10 The DMV - If you don't drive anything motorized, you have never had to stand in line to get your drivers license or get it renewed.  That could be a lot of people.  People in big cities will sometimes never learn how to drive.  If you live in a fairly urbanized country, you will have had to stand in line for this privilege.  In America young teenagers will experience their first Government bureaucracy here where you take a test that has several driving related questions who's math equivalent may well be 'how many is 1?'  You then may take a live test where you have to demonstrate that you are at least serious enough to not act like an idiot while someone official is watching.  After that, it's just another line or 2 to get your picture taken and BANG.  You are driving with the full permission of the state.  yay.

9.  The Emergency Room - Holidays bring out the best and the worst in us.  Often during a holiday, there will be a bumper crop of injuries and no doctor's offices open (after all, it's the holidays!).  Now you may not be standing in line specifically, but you most definitely are in line.  You wait your turn until they take your information.  In some countries, the IDEA is to have a long line and a bothersome process. That way, you'll only stand in line if you are REALLY sick.

8.  Concert Tickets - So you hear that the Foo Fighters are coming to play in your local Olympic Stadium.  Sure, there are a lot of seats, but how many of them are the GOOD seats?  Not many.  So you stand in a LONG line of equally fanatic fans to get the best seats.  In order to increase the lines, now a lot of ticket vendors will give you a number and then draw numbers for the good seats.  This increases the line, but shortens the duration in the line since nobody is picking seats.

7. Theme Park - This is the essence of standing in line.  From buying your tickets to riding the rides.  Much more of your time is spent in lines than on the actual rides.   It became such a problem that over the years, theme parks have devised numerous methods to keep people moving to rides.  First the graduated ticket book system by Disney, where the now famous 'E' Ticket was born.  Well, this turned out to be not so great because it just created lines at the ticket booths as well as the lines.  Then they went to the fast pass.  This helped quite a bit.  Now they have smart phone apps that tell you where the crowds are so you can go to the least crowded areas.

6.  Black Friday - The day after Thanksgiving.  Isn't it interesting that the day after the day originally instituted by America as a day of observing general gratitude comes a day unofficially dedicated to observing gluttony.   Well with this gluttony comes the deals from the stores that offer 'for the first 100 customers' deals that seem too good to be true.  These deals have prospective customers standing in line for over a day to get a shot at the goods.  I've given up standing in that line long ago.  The deals are attractive, but unless that line has a ride at the end of it.  I will decline.

5.  Airline Security Check - This line is probably one of the most consistent lines you will stand if you travel.  Designed to be orderly, and protect your security, it tends to be neither.  The TSA are there to rifle through your things and scan you for dangerous items.  I have heard the TSA in the airport referred to as security theater.  the TSA is the most long lasting annoyance that the 911 terrorists have left us with.  We add up to 30 extra minutes to our travel time because of it.  On the good side.  Airports have made waiting for flights a bit more bearable.  I remember back in the day when airports had a news stand a few chairs and mostly open hallways.  Thanks terrorists...ya jerks.

4. Gas Station - Ok, Ok, there really aren't lines at the gas station.  Except way back in the 1970's there were horrible gas lines because of a gas shortage.  Another economics lesson there, but I won't go into it.  Bottom line was there was very little gas and lots of cars.  People started installing extra fuel tanks in their cars so they could fill up as much as they could when they did finally make it to the gas pump.  If there was a shortage of gas then...why isn't there almost no gas now?  hmmm...

3.  Celebrity Signatures - Talk about shortages.  All celebrities are the same.  One of them, lots of us.  As a result they charge money for a signature or a picture because there is only one of them.  That's a line wherever they seem to go.  These celebs include but are not limited to.  Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Cameron Diaz, Santa Claus.  Folks seem to line up for any of them.

2.  New Tech - It seems this is a happening for any geek, it just depends on your flavor.  For me, it was the Nintendo Wii.  I waited all night with my son in sub 0 temperatures to finally get a ticket for the console.  For others, it was the Iphone, or the Xbox360, or the Playstation 3.  If the tech is anticipated enough, there are lines at the mere suggestion of availability.

1.  Food -  If you have been to any buffet, and you probably have, you will wait in line for the good stuff.  Usually deserts.  Even on a cruise ship, when they take the covers off of those chafing dishes, it's time to queue up!  Funny thing is, when you go back for seconds.  there is usually hardly any line at all.

There it is, another 10.  Only just.  Tune in 2 weeks from now, and I will regale you with yet another decade of things I think about.  No lines here.

No comments: