Nov 9, 2010

I’m standing in line at the supermarket but I wish I were standing in line at the bank.

I don’t like standing in lines but if I had to stand in a line, I’d rather stand in line at the bank than at the supermarket because at the bank there’s only one line. This means that I don’t have to choose which line to stand in. At the supermarket, I have to look at how many people are in each line, how many items each person has, how bulky those items are and whether they are the same are not (standing behind someone whose cart is full with 8 gallons of water is better than standing behind someone whose cart is full with 100 different types of candy bars), how fast each checker is checking, how much time I am losing by walking around making these calculations and not waiting in a line, and whether or not I will make it to the optimal line before someone else who has also done these calculations and has also identified the optimal line. And then I have to wonder how much of my life I want to spend thinking about such things.

At the bank, there’s no question of which line to stand in because there’s only one line. It’s a great system because (1) I don’t have to think about anything, and (2) It’s fairer. I’m not going to get stuck behind someone who needs a price check or pulls out a bizillion coupons or finds out that one of their eggs is cracked and has to go back and get a different dozen. Or at least, I’m not going to get stuck behind this person by myself. Everyone’s in the same boat. We might get stuck behind a slow person but we get stuck collectively. The slowness of that person affects everyone who is waiting in line equally.

So, Mr. Supermarket, I wish your many unequal lines were like the simple single line at the bank.

And so does Larry David. This video was posted in the comments: