I’m Sick Of Standing In Lines, And You Should Be, Too

his weekend I stood in the cashier line at Victoria’s Secret for a good 20 minutes.

I was waiting with my visiting sister, who was buying underwear. She was willing to wait because she forgot to bring any on her trip (honestly, I would have rather gone commando), but I strongly doubt the other 30 people in line were as desperate for knickers.

Ever since H&M and Zara hit the US, it seems like many other stores have embraced the model of making customers wait in a lengthy, snaking, Great America style line to purchase their wares. Take the Levi’s store, for example. They used to have a register in every department, but now customers have to wait in one long, slow line to buy anything (and always, while you’re standing in line, droves of people who work at the store stroll by with nothing to do).

It seems to me that the stores don’t give a shit about their customers’ time, which is not surprising! What IS surprising is that the customers, themselves, don’t seem to give a crap about their time.

No way would I ever wait in a line to give someone else my money for something I don’t require to survive. (I might consider it if I’m on the receiving end of the money, but it would take a big chunk to get me in that queue.)

Of course, I would stand in line to get, say, the bread and water my family needed to eat, but for the dime a dozen cheap crap they sell at malls? No way. I lose interest in useless crap in about two minutes.

Apple and Nordstrom have wisely gone in the other direction. More and more of their employees have handsets that can check you out immediately, so you don’t have to wait.

My sister thinks stores are creating the long lines to drive people to shop online. That way they can eliminate the cost of sales people and physical shops. Which, I have to say, wouldn’t be a bad business decision.

What I can’t figure out is why customers willingly accept waiting in line to buy superfluous crap??? Especially when it doesn’t have to be that way? Do they really lack that much respect for their own time?

We actually have total control. If customers were not willing to stand in line for, or even buy brands online that disrespected their time, the shops would change immediately. (We’d only screw the workers if we merely stopped going to the physical stores.)

In retail, the customer has ALL THE POWER. Of course, it only works if we act together.

the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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