Why Am I So Impatient? (Deep thoughts while waiting in line.)

 

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You would think with everyone having a phone to occupy their brains that we, as a society, would have gotten better about waiting in line. There are emails to answer and the universe of social media to peruse. But for some reason it seems like we’ve gotten even more impatient. And by we, I mean, me.

I have become so impatient that the other day at the Nordstrom Rack I had to do some soothing inhales and exhales. What has happened to me that I think I’m too good to wait in line? Correction: Too good to wait in some lines because I’m still processing why in July of 2014 in a Florida heat wave (Wait, it that an oxymoron?) with a humidity level that was so miserable I felt like I was swathed in wet towels that had been soaked in Dollar Tree mayonnaise I stood in a line at Disneyworld for 93 minutes to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (which ended up being the lamest ride in the history of theme parks).

So, why was I okay enduring the misery of standing in that line and yet I was having a mental health crisis at the Rack? Needing human interaction and because I love chatting up strangers, I asked a woman standing next to me in line that very question. To her credit she didn’t look scared about my sudden and unasked for true confession wrapped in an inquiry and gave it some serious thought.

Her three-word response was “self-checkout lanes.” Could that be it? Had the efficiency of checking ourselves out upped the irritable factor as we were forced to wait in line for a human to do what we’re totally capable of doing ourselves?

I will share that, at first, I wasn’t a fan of self-checkout. It seemed like another chipping away of customer service. But it didn’t take long for me to get on the self-checkout band wagon. It was so fast, and I got to bag my groceries just how I liked them. Even better no chit-chat with the checker.

It’s not like I don’t like chit-chat (see the former paragraph where I divulged my love of talking to strangers). It’s that I don’t like comments about my grocery purchases. Hello, Trader Joes and your super skinny cashier that made a sarcastic comment about me buying waffles and maple syrup at 7 pm and asking if “that’s what I’m calling dinner?” Because my answer is yes that was my dinner and it was delicious.

My new “friend” standing in line with me soon began to open up sharing that Sam’s had ruined her in regards to checkout experiences because at Sam’s you just use your phone to checkout. You don’t even stand in line. When she told me this, I got goose bumps. I was that excited.

But not so excited I wasn’t doing a mental overhaul of the Rack and it’s three open checkout stations. They used to have a separate stand for people just using credit cards but when I first walked over there the cashier told me his “devices weren’t working” which I think is code for they need to be charged. Also, why isn’t there a separate area for returns only? I was timing it and the average return was taking seven minutes or more and sadly most of the people in line were returning. Where was the love for the person buying?

That got me all riled up again requiring more deep breathing leading me to the conclusion that I was perhaps not even a self-checkout girl but worse – a dedicated on-line shopper. I’m afraid once you can buy 36 rolls of Charmin 3 ply on-line and get free next day delivery it changes you – forever.

 

 

Baffled

There are a lot of things in life that baffle me. Some of these things are big issues like how anyone can deny climate change and then there are the small, niggling, things that get stuck in my brain like the Stanley Steemer commercial. (Really, you’ve never found yourself singling 1-800-Steemer?)

For instance, have you ever wondered why competitive cheerleaders wear such huge bows? Bows, in some cases, as large as a cranium of a T-Rex. Is it a salute to Texas (the birthplace of awesome cheerleaders) and the whole the bigger the hair the closer to God thing? Because if that’s it those gigantic bows are certainly boot scooting cheerleaders in the vicinity of the celestial byways. Or maybe it’s an aerodynamic thing and the bows act as mini wings to increase the cheerleaders lift coefficient.

Then there’s the unsolved mystery of the trend of TV anchors and reporters wearing sleeveless dresses when it’s 16 degrees out. This boggles the mind. They’re in a studio, usually sitting next to the meteorologist with all sorts of weather seals of approval and they’ve probably heard the forecast, at least, 10 times in the past hour, and yet they don’t it’s below freezing out. The very worst is when a meteorologist is sleeve free and standing by the weather map warning everyone that the wind chill is minus 2. Hello, are you not listening to your own forecast? Please go grab a sweater. You’ve got goose bumps.

The baffler of all bafflers in my life is, hands down, why is it that every single line I’m in automatically gets slower? Not sort of slow, but s-l-o-w as in sloth like, as in all forward momentum decreases to zero.

At the airport, even with TSA pre-check, even if there’s only one other person in line, as soon as I take my place, I can guarantee you the line will cease to move again for at least ten minutes.

It’s so bad my family will not get in the same line with me. Yes, they would rather forgo pre-check and stand in a line that’s serpentining down the airport corridor than get behind me. I can’t blame them.

Last month at KCI, when I was the second person in line, one away from the sweet, sweet freedom of being cleared to move onward to dumping my belongings on the conveyor belt, the human in front of me, of course, had an issue requiring a gaggle of TSA agents and I think the airport police. By the time I was allowed to move forward 20 minutes had gone by. By the time I finally cleared security my family, who had very smartly gotten in another line that was me free, was already sitting gate adjacent with fresh Starbucks that they sipped while smirking at me.

This line thing even applies to driving. Whatever lane I change into you can bet there will be a red light or some sort of snafu that makes it the slowest on the road. And if you’re ever behind me at a drive thru prepare yourself for a historic wait to get that Egg McMuffin.

It’s gotten so bad I actually have started apologizing to anyone that is standing behind me in line. I feel it’s a public service issue and I need to share that thanks to me this line is going take forever. Sure, it may not look that way, but trust me it’s going to be awhile.

I’m really starting to think I’m cursed or worse, but infinitely more interesting, that I’m some sort of alien. Perhaps, my interplanetary DNA is causing a cosmic breakdown that’s resulting in me being line challenged. Hmm, something to really think about as I stand in line.

Sigh.

 

 

Complaining Is My Hobby

complainingI complain a lot and I’m proud of it. As far as I’m concerned complaining is an under appreciated form of expression. It’s responsible for most, if not all, of the greatest advances. Think about it. The cave people were tired of whining about being cold so they figured out how to make this thing called fire. The Wright brothers were wearing themselves out grousing about the birds having all the fun so say hello to the fixed wing plane.

In fact, right now, based on my demographic, I am in the complaining sweet spot. No one takes an under 30 complainer that seriously because they haven’t had years to hone their craft to get quick results. The female 30 to 40 age bracket is usually too busy parenting young children to follow through on any kind of long-term complaining agenda. The over 65 group has grown out of or weary of complaining and has passed to torch to me – over 40 under 60 and ready to mix it up.

Which is way last Sunday I was in full complaining mode. I was standing in line at a local movie theatre waiting to buy tickets; only one family was in front of me. You would think this would mean I’d be out of that line in less than three minutes. Wrong. Because the theatre has brought back assigned seating. This means before you buy your ticket you look at a computer screen and pick your seats. I get it. In theory it’s not a bad idea. The big issue is you take what should be a 60 second transaction and turn it into Sophie’s choice. Do I sit here or there or way up there? You start asking family members where they want to sit. The horrors, because based on my phone timer, it took this family of four, seven minutes, that’s right, s-e-v-e-n minutes to pick their seats.

After my phone timer hit the five-minute mark I felt it was my duty to intervene and ask the cashier if she would kindly suggest the “best seats available” to this family. She replied that she could not, “you know, company policy and all.”

Finally, as an act of mercy, I told the family where they should sit and praise the almighty buttered popcorn they took my advice. After I quickly got my tickets I went straight to the information kiosk and questioned the wisdom in the assigned seating if you can’t have the box office cashier, with great kindness, nudge a family into making a decision.

I explained that come summer blockbuster time they were going to have a line a mile long, stretching past the Panera and circling Dick’s Sporting Goods, if they didn’t have some sort of system in place to aid and hurry people up in their seat selection.

This is where my ego took a mighty blow. The young woman suggested I “send an email to the corporate headquarters with my complaint.”  Oh no she didn’t!  You know what it means when someone tells you to send an email? It means they think you’re old. As in you’re so old you probably A) Don’t know how to send an email B) Won’t remember to send an email and C) If you do remember the email will be in all caps.

I know I needed a hair appointment to do a little gray camo and I had been using wrinkle cream purchased at Target but for the love of God I didn’t think I looked THAT old. I was steamed leaving me no choice but to go over her head. I asked her to call the manager.

The manager, a dude that looked a little bit older, like he had been shaving for at least six months, got a double whammy complaint. First, I went off on the suggestion of sending an email and second I went into great detail about the time suck of having people select their seats without any guidance. To his credit, he listen politely and even did a head nod or two. He also mentioned contacting “corporate” and I pointed out that “corporate” was right next door, like pick up a rock and you’ve hit the elusive corporate. He did, though promise to “bring it up.”

Now, this is where an ardent complainer brings her “A” game. I didn’t just contact corporate, I started a petition and I’m offering my services to the theatre chain. I will, for a  movie gift card only, conduct a class in how to gracefully aid a customer in seat selection thus keeping the line quickly moving. I’m still waiting to hear back. But really they’d be fools not to partake of my services.

**For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. 

To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.