I think that we all (or at least all of us impatient New Englanders) can agree that waiting in line is one of the most annoying, aggravating, and frustrating things that we have to do on a regular basis. More annoying, aggravating and frustrating than waiting in line itself is waiting in the wrong line. You know what I mean – you get up to the cash registers and most of the lines have 3 or 4 customers with full carts waiting and there’s one short line…Score!…wrong. No. This is always the wrong line to go to. If it seems too good to be true, that’s because it probably is. The cashier for this line is probably going to be ridiculously slow (or stupid), and without a doubt the woman in front of you is going to have loads of coupons, tons of questions, a problem with her store card, or need price checks on multiple items.
The problem isn’t always the line though, it’s the people in it. I don’t know where or who brought these people up, but some people out there are so rude, or maybe just completely clueless, and I think someone should inform them. For instance, when you and one other person both turn the corner to get in line and one person has a heaping cart full of crap and you have a gallon of milk. The decent person would say “Hey, why don’t you go ahead”, but the everyday person that I usually run into says nothing and makes me wait an extra 15 minutes in line while they cash out their $350 of groceries, redeem 25 coupons, use 4 Big Y coins, and of course they want to bag their own food. Would it be that hard to let a person with literally one item who is holding the exact change for that item just check out and be on their merry way? Come on…I’m just tryin to have some Reese’s Puffs!
All of this aggravation has come to the surface for me because yesterday I was at Panera and I was waiting in line behind two old fat ladies. I wasn’t in a rush, nor was so famished I was about to faint, I was just standing in line. It was obvious that they were meeting up for the first time in a while and were so busy chatting it up with each other, when they got to the front of the line they had no clue what they wanted – OK fine, this sort of thing happens to me all the time. Just when I thought I was in the clear the Panera employee informed them that with their meals they could add a Pastry or Sweet to their meal for just 99 cents. They hemmed and hawwed about whether they wanted this dessert or not. COME ON – YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT! Then, once they confirmed that they did indeed want the extra sugar, they realized they had no ideawhich sweet they wanted…so there’s an extra 2 minutes.
Anyways, while this is happening, another Panera employee asks the woman behind me if she could take her order (obviously, she did not see me, as I was clearly next in line). And do you know what happened then? The woman walked right up to the counter and gave her order! Are you serious? If that were me, I would have done what any other decent human being would have done and said to the person in front of me “Hey would you like to go? You were next”. And I know I’m not being outrageous about this because I have gotten 2nd and 3rd opinions on the subject. The most annoying part about this situation is that there’s nothing you can really do about this without looking like a complete asshole.
I will say, though, that lines and line execution, like all other things, should follow a process. The combined T.J. Maxx / Marshalls in town does it right. They have just one line that everyone gets into and the next person in line goes to the next available cashier…its genius. You get into this line that looks monstrously long but you never wait more than a few minutes. No one is ever affected by people with questions, or coupons, or issues. The one downfall to this system is that there is always TONS of cool stuff in the extra long checkout line that you never thought you needed, but now that you see you you realize you cannot live without it.