Have you ever noticed that the more you hurry, the slower you are? It’s true, especially in line-ups.

The line-up at my bank had only three people in front of me.  And, checking out the tellers, I could see that two of them were just winding up their business, so  it should be a fast moving line.  No, it was unbelievable how everything slowed down when I got to the head of the line. I’m sure I could have bought and sold some stocks if I had some, moved my meagre funds around the world and had a long leisurely lunch with the bank president.  See, just when you think you’re ahead of the game, you’re suddenly behind.

The other day I was at the supermarket and with my five items, I headed for the Express Lane–you know, the lane that allows  9-items or less and cash only. There I was, thinking It was my lucky day because only one person was in front of me. Yep, you guessed right–that person had 15-items she had already unloaded and her debit card at the ready. The cashier gently pointed out this was a cash-only express lane for 9-items or less, but because there was now 6-persons behind me, the time and trouble unloading her stuff into her buggy and shuffling her off to another line was more trouble than it was worth. So, rather than being 10 minutes ahead of myself I was now 10 minutes behind.

Then there was my experience at the department store. I barely stepped inside the door and there was my one and only perfect wool sweater–-the right style, the right size and the right colour.  Of course I wasn’t going to leave it! So I grabbed this perfect sweater and ran to Customer Service. There were two cashiers working cheerfully and merrily away so the lineup, though long, was really moving quickly. Until it stopped at the lady in front of me.  Suddenly the cashiers weren’t looking so cheerful or merry and neither was working so efficiently anymore,

Three dreaded words when you’re in a lineup—Exchanges and Returns.

See, more proof that just when you think you landed in a fast lineup with a quick get-away, you inevitably can put down roots waiting for your turn to come up. And, from my experience, don’t look for the shortest lines–they’re usually the longest. I think that’s why supermarkets have all the snacks, chocolate bars and magazines close by. Smart marketing and “survival” rations for people held up by lineups.

9 thoughts on “Line-ups

  1. Funny, Judee and so true! The other day I was the hold-up in the line-up. I was ready to leave when I asked if my club card had gone through. I didn’t see a discount had been taken, so the poor guy behind me had to wait with is two items for the gal to figure out on the new system how to do a “re-print” of the receipt and apply my card. Thank goodness he didn’t mind. I felt horrible. Exchanges and returns: The worst! Thanks for the chuckle.
    : )


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