Get in Line for Weekend Assignment #310: I’ve Got a Line on You!

This week, Karen‘s question is concerns our feelings about one of those things that, like death and taxes, is an unavoidable fact of life for just about everyone:

Weekend Assignment #310: Nobody likes standing in line, generally speaking, but sometimes you have to wait around to get what you want. Are you one of those people who avoid lines as much as humanly possible, even if it means doing without? Or do you accept the need for queues, and simply try to make the wait as painless as you can?

Extra Credit: Do you see the problem of waiting in lines as getting better or worse in recent years?

I’m not a big fan of standing in lines, but I’m even less of a fan of people who seem to think they shouldn’t have to stand in line. They (loudly) complain and fuss about it, they jostle for better position, and they generally make the waiting-in-line experience even worse for everyone around them.
Here’s the thing: like it or not, very few of us really are so important or so special that we don’t have to wait for things sometimes. And if you’re going to show up at the busiest time of day, or at the last minute, or at Wal-Mart on Black Friday, don’t act surprised and put out to see that other people got there ahead of you. Just suck it up, people! You’ll get your turn. (I guess this is my response to the Extra Credit question – I’m not sure waiting in lines has gotten better or worse in itself, but I do think that people have gotten worse about having to do it.)
I accept that sometimes I’m going to have to wait in line. I’ll try to minimize that when I can, though – I’ll do my best to get there early or at a time of day that I hope will be less busy. My husband and I frequently do the late-lunch/early dinner thing when we go out to eat on the weekends – showing up at even the most popular restaurants at 4 PM usually means we get seated immediately, and we walk past the crowds on our way out. (It’s also good practice for our upcoming Early-Bird-Special years.)
But there are times and places where waiting in line just can’t be helped – movie theaters on weekend nights (which is one reason we usually go to early shows), popular tourist attractions, conventions and conferences, even book signings. When I’m in one of those lines, it’s usually best when I’m not there alone – having someone to talk with makes the experience much more endurable, and it can be a good opportunity to catch up with each other. Besides, misery loves company. But there are times when I do have to wait by myself – even though I’m surrounded by people – and that’s why I follow the “Always Carry a Book” rule. Waiting time can be some of the best reading time. Non-readers with smartphones have a ready way to keep themselves distracted while waiting, too – I don’t know how some people (including a couple I’m related to) coped before they got iPhones.
But having said that…if I can avoid waiting in line by taking care of something online instead, I’ll do it that way whenever possible. No matter how well you try to plan it, waiting in line at the DMV still means you actually had to GO to the DMV. And Christmas shopping on Cyber Monday has it all over Black Friday.
What’s your line on waiting in line? Where do you draw the line? Do you want to get in line to smack me for all these line-related puns? Line up to participate in this week’s Weekend Assignment, and share your thoughts! Here are the guidelines:
  1. The deadline is 6 PM PST on Wednesday, March 10th.
  2. You may answer in the comments on the main Assignment post, or, even better, write an entry about it on your blog. If you do write a blog entry, please mention the Weekend Assignment and link back to the main post.
  3. Use of the Weekend Assignment graphic on your blog is encouraged but not mandatory.
  4. Please make the rounds of other participants if you can. That’s half the fun, and your fellow bloggers will appreciate it!

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