During my entire adult life there have been 5-lines which required standing in that I knew would be a long wait. These lines consistently irritate me and every one else in line unless your a saint. You could never just pop in and out, you were at the mercy of how fast the clerks were willing to move X the number of people in line giving you an overrall hassle indicator. The strange thing is how wait times in line have changed due to new automation and society’s priorities making some lines worse than before and others better. The five most annoying lines are shown below and ranked 1-5 by the hassle factor 30-years ago versus today ( 1 being the worst line, 5 the easiest to endure).
DMV – Old rank – 1 / Current rank – 4 This line used to be the monster of all lines. It was a place where all people were equal. You waited in line to find out what line to wait in next. Black, white, rich, poor, male, female, all ethnicities were represented and all had to wait in the same lines. That was the only positive of this line, just viewing the incredible diversity standing and waiting. These people wouldn’t interact with those around them in any social situation, just the DMV line. The workers knew that the line was long, as it was ever single day, so no need to rush as the line would remain the same. The popular thought was that since they were municipal workers they didn’t give a crap but I believe the system was so antiquated and inefficient that it could never work faster. Then a light went off in someone’s head and the DMV encouraged and accepted making appointments…a huge step for mankind. I thought it originally to good to be true, but it actually worked. If you had an appointment for 2pm you were done and gone in less than 20-minutes. They actually kept their appointments, why somebody would not take advantage of this is a mystery to me. The DMV’s still look the same, smell the same, have the same clientele, but now work with efficiency plus one doesn’t need to go to a DMV all that often. DMV improves the most from #1 to #4.
POST OFFICE – Old rank –2 /Current rank – 3 The post office has had long irritating lines since 194ever. This was the epitomy of government workers really not giving a shit about how long you were waiting. If the 3- working clerks were staring at lines wrapped around and outside the door and it was time for one to take a break the closed sign comes out and the clerk is gone, no questions. The clerks could move at an incredibly slow pace almost giving the perception of no movement at all. This was definitely a case of slow workers, not the ignorance of those in line as is often the reason. Enter computers and the ability to figure out correct mailing costs and print from home, plus computerized weigh stations in the post office making it possible to meter and mail a package without standing in line. There also seems to be a new breed of clerks that actually care how about the consumer and the swifter movement of lines. Going to the post office, if need be, has a lower hassle index.
BANK LINES – Old rank – 3 / Current rank – 5 Bank lines are really a thing of the past. What a difference time has made. You can now take a picture of a check and deposit it. ATM’s are a convenient way to get cash and I really can’t remember the last time I stood in a bank line. Far cry from the past when lines were agonizingly slow. This was a case of morons in the line more than bad cashiers. People would regularly not have proper ID, try to cash banks from another bank, filling out deposit forms wrong and then actually yell at cashiers for not fulfilling their request. I never understood what they thought they could accomplish by yelling, banks have strict rules, but I have witnessed more arguments in bank lines than any other place. Maybe because it has to do with money which will bring out the worst in us all. So bank lines moves to #5 making it the least annoying line currently…in fact the need for bank cashiers has dropped dramatically in recent years.
RETURN LINE – Old rank –4 / Current rank – 2 I’m referring to the Best Buys, Home Depots, Sears (used to be a popular store) and other large chains. They are quick to take your money when you are buying but drag their feet when it comes to returns. The blame here seems to be evenly split between store and consumer. The store never has enough staff to handle the lines and the consumer will try any scheme possible to return a product that is no longer to their liking. If consumers just took a minute to save their original receipt the wait time would be cut in half…but no, “I lost my receipt and this scratch was on it when I bought it”. This guy will take a good 20-minutes to get it staightened out. I hate return lines, I always feel like they are looking at me suspiciously. My wife doesn’t even twitch when it comes to returning and always tells me that Nordstroms is the best.
PHARMACIES – Old rank –5 / Current rank – 1 The new worst line to stand in, bar none. Maybe I am getting older and have to go to a pharmacy more often to get my lipitor to keep my heart from corroding with cholesterol. Waiting in line at the pharmacy takes long even if there are only five people in front of you. People in these lines have to look up to see stupid. The chances of someone walking up to the clerk, giving their name, picking up their prescription, paying, and leaving within 3-minutes is one in a hundred. I’m talking just the pick-up line, the drop-off line is another matter. The following scenarios all play out, 1) insurance coverage hassles…doesn’t anyone know who their insurance carrier is and what the co-payment is?, 2) prescription not ready for pick-up…the doctor was supposed to call in a prescription but didn’t or person called in wrong prescription number, 3) the customer accusing pharmacy for overcharging them…” I only paid $5.00 last time, why are you charging me $8.00 now?” Maybe because your co-payment has gone up and the pharmacy isn’t trying to cheat you. 4) I don’t speak English and no one at the pharmacy speaks Vietnamese…so maybe if we talk real slowly at one another we can communicate, 5) I forgot to pick up my prescription that I called in 5-weeks ago and now it has been put back…” Can you please fill it again while I wait?”. Pharmacies now have a PLEASE WAIT HERE sign that keeps those in line about 10-feet away from the actual pharmacist while they are serving another customer so their private medications cannot be overheard. This is frustrating because before you could kill time by overhearing the pathetically lame people give their incoherent explanations and try to complete the process. This is the only current line that still has me saying – ” How F–King stupid are you?”. Pharmacies are the new #1 worst lines to wait in as other industries have shortened their lines through computerization and new policies. How bad do you need your Oxiconton?