We have had lines since people had to get things. I would think that this would coincide with the agricultural revolution, but it could have been before then. However it happened, we got lines, or queues.
I bring this up because Wendy’s is going to be using chatbots in drive-thrus. They’re doing this, they say, because they want the lines to go faster. I don’t think that would be the choke point, but I also wouldn’t want to think that they haven’t done studies on this, had metrics for how long things took in line, etc. I don’t want to think that, but… I think that. I wrote about that already so we can skip that.
We need to talk about people who slow the lines down.
I live in a gated community, possibly to keep the lunatics in the asylum with a question as to which side of the gate is the asylum. To get in and out while driving, we swipe these cards, which requires winding our windows down and waving our card at a little sensor.
This is hard for some people.
The security guards sometimes open the gate for people because they left their card somewhere, can’t find it, etc. This can cause issues. Recently, I noticed the guards enjoyed watching me pull through because… I have a method.
I have a card, in hand, window already down, pull up to the sensor and slow almost to a stop and swipe the card. It’s fluid, it’s fast, and I noticed that the guards would tap each other when I was coming through and point. “Here he comes!”, they seemed to say. I pulled over once and went and talked to them about it because I am a curious sort of person, and they told me that I’m one of 2 people who has rolls through quickly.
There’s about 160 families in the community the last time I checked, so let’s call it maybe 200 drivers. 2 of us know how to get through the gate efficiently, roughly 1%. And we’ve all been in lines most of our lives. In fact, some people think we stood in line to get lives and some people think there’s a gate to some version of an afterlife which will have a… line.
When I was growing up, lines were efficient. You jumped in the queue, everyone seemed to know what to do, they got to the front of the line and did what they had to do and moved on with their lives. It was brilliant. It was clockwork. When you got to the head of the line you were ready.
No screwing around, no asking stupid questions, you got it together and things got done so the people behind you wouldn’t be inconvenienced… and you want to go do something else, which likely involves a queue somewhere else.
This is one of the foundations of modern civilization. Lines. Queues. They are the lifeblood of modern civilization. We all do it all of our lives, and by the time one gets past 18, you should be expert level.
It ain’t happening.
Around the world, there are people who don’t get it.
There are people who go through an entire line at a fast food outlet, one that conveniently folds for maximum visage of the menu, and get to the front not knowing what they want.
I’ve seen people fumbling at the front of the line at Kentucky Fried Chicken where the only things you need to know are the number of pieces, what sides, what drink. They even dumb it down into combos, easily visible to anyone with operational eyeballs. People get to the front of the line and… don’t know what they want.
You want chicken or you’re in the wrong place.
Some are distracted by the children orbiting around them at speeds that make them look like rings sometimes, and that’s understandable I suppose. The idea of sending the children to find and hold a seat, as I did as a child, puts them at risk of… of… well, I don’t know, I’m not a parent, so someone help me out here? My nieces and nephews, once they were around 7, could go and hold a table while our elders would stand in line.
Maybe that’s seen as child abuse these days. I don’t know. But we did it, it worked.
Some are staring at their phones, which has me thinking about that recent study on attention spans (now 47 seconds?!). Maybe it’s impossible to know what they want while they’re sexting with someone else in a line somewhere else, I don’t know, but they get to the front of the line and are completely unprepared.
My personal favorites are the ones who do fish impressions when woke from their revery.
This is not hard, people. Homo Sapiens have been standing in lines for millennia.
I’m considering writing The Commandments of Queuing so we don’t devolve.