ALLIGATORS IN A HELICOPTER

a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Line Cutting

When I was a kid, cutting in line was something that was bad. You saw someone slip ahead of you in line, and you pointed. "Hey! No cutting!"

Now it has been institutionalized.

I applied to get my passport renewed this week. It costs $67, and they estimate it will take 3 1/2 months. But if you pay a $60 additional fee, you get "expedited service", and your passport back in three weeks.

Line cutting. Why does everyone else have to wait 3 1/2 months? Because the line cutters get addressed first.

At Universal Studios, if you want to park in the parking lot closest to the park, you pay extra. Every one needs to park a little further away.

Inside the park, you can pay an additional fee on top of your ticket, and literally cut the line. Don't want to wait on the Jurassic Park line? No worries. Flash your badge, and you move right to the front.

When did this become so common? And it's easy to see where it is going, too.

No longer will you have to slip the maitre d' money to get a good table at a restaurant. Soon it will be built into the price.

Movies, too. You've bought your ticket online, but you don't want to get to the theater and find that you still have to wait on a long line to get into the theater. So you'll pay an additional fee, to be a member of the small group that is allowed into the theater first, to get the best seats.

You know that's coming, someday, not too far away.

The sad thing is this: if places let people cut in line, the people being inconvenienced are the ones who don't cut in line. They are the ones who wait a little longer, walk a little further, sweat out their passport getting there a little more.

They are the ones who should benefit, in some way, from the fees the others are paying. They should be paying lower ticket prices, lower fees.

If someone is cutting in front of me in line, I want to be paid for it.

But nope. It's become everyday and accepted. If you don't want to pay more -- straight into the pockets of the place you are going -- you get to watch as others get in first, get better service, get quicker service.

Bribery is now the norm.

Any other examples you can think of?

14 Comments:

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Allen said...

Well, the arclight came up with a better concept...assigned seating.

 
At 9:57 AM, Blogger Emily Blake said...

I always think about that when I'm in traffic. I call it Space Greed. You let somebody in front of you and they don't take it because they're greedy for a better space in the line.

But often that greed lands them further back because they miss the opportunity they did have. Like when they whiz in and out of traffic and act like a dick to the other people on the road and still end up at the light next to you, the guy who drove like a reasonable human being.

Eventually, karma gets everybody.

 
At 10:14 AM, Blogger E.C. Henry said...

Scott,

I don't think cutting in line has been institutionalized at all, it's just varrious places have found a market to pinch more money out of people to get services expedidited. IF if matters to you to get a little better service, pay the extra and avoid the hoards.

If you're a penny pinching mizer you need to realize that there are people out there who are willing to pay first class rates, and may be served ahead of you.

IF you're in line for something, and you're nice enough to help someone out get in line ahead of you, you SHOULD get a kickback: a smile, a pat on the back, a thanks. Being payed for being nice and providing advaced access, well... THAT it depends on what kind of line were talking about...

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

 
At 11:04 AM, Blogger Brett said...

What about paying for notes and coverage rather than earning it via some display of talent and worthiness?

Better seats have pretty much always cost more at sporting events and theater events. I'm not sure I see any huge downward spiral at work here-- some people have need and/or resources to seek extra service and considerration. That seems the very essence of a free market economy-- supply and demand. If someone has a supply of extra money, someone will create a sense of demand to help pry it away.

I was at Universal Studios with my 11 year old last summer. We stood in line for something like 80 minutes to ride THE MUMMY ride (very cool), and as we saw the "special people" wander right past us with their pricey first class premium added value "look at how important and busy **I** am badges" dangling around their pale thin necks, I just shrugged. I and my son had a fun 80 minutes of giggling conversation and people watching, then we got to enjoy a fun ride.

I guess I could have paid an extra 40 or 60 or whatever bucks and just wandered in, rode the rides, and then left for home a few hours early, but in that case what would I have really saved and what would I have really missed?

"A fool and his money," etc etc etc.
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B

 
At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Peter said...

I find those "premium pass" things at amusement parks to be absolutely abhorrent.

Way to make the poor working class shlubs who have shelled out their hard working dough to take their family to a headache inducing amusement park feel even WORSE by having rich, entitled pricks saunter past you while you bake in the hot sun.

Hell, amusement parks used to be an equalizer - of sorts.

Once you got it, (and obviously not everyone can), it was a fairly egalitarian proposition - you'd see folks from all walks of life, races, age, ethnicity, economic level, all huddled together in line for the shared experience of going on some silly ride.

Those "line cutting" passes are sick and demeaning.

Why can't they just use the Disney pass system? Seems to work very well (you pick up a pass for a set window later in the day.)

Then again, I haven't been to a Disney park in years, they probably have those premium passes, too.

Note to poor schlubs: Rent a wheelchair! You'll cut all the lines, no questions asked!

 
At 12:45 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Of course, what will happen is that as more and more people get these line-cutting passes -- and the wait for those who don't have the passes just gets longer and longer -- then everyone will get the passes.

And then everyone will be in the same line again.

Of course, then they'll come up with another pass, to bypass the cutting line.

 
At 12:52 PM, Blogger shecanfilmit said...

Yes, line cutting. Here's a good example - a few years ago, I flew often for work and had a Gold card with American Airlines. The card allowed me to use the first class line to go through security. I got the card right after 9/11, so it did save me loads of time. My friends resented it, but they didn't have to pack a bag and travel every other week either.

I think our society is moving from a democracy to whatever it's called where you have some really rich people and the a bunch of poor people (capitalism run amok), and nothing in between. This is a symptom of that.

 
At 9:14 PM, Blogger Danny said...

This is sorta like the discussion between Hammond and the blood-sucking lawyer in Jurassic Park 1.

The solution is a coupon day.

 
At 11:48 PM, Blogger Formerly, The Dude Spoke said...

You know what line cutters piss me off? The guys who barrel down the exit only lanes only to cut in at the very front, when I've waited 20 minutes in a stalled line, letting all these guys in.

That being said, the carpool lane remains the greatest line cutting device of all.

 
At 2:19 AM, Blogger David said...

Here in the UK, the Odeon cinema chain allows you to select exactly the seats you want. They have 'Premier Seating', which are admittedly slightly better seats, in the prime section of the auditorium (in the middle, central area), for which they charge a pound extra. To see exactly the same film. Quite bizarre.

 
At 5:19 AM, Blogger IQCrash said...

I suppose I'm the only one who has no problems with added benefits for those willing to pay more - whether it be line cutting or otherwise.

We live in a capitalist society, and I'm okay with that.

Bring on the coke and hookers.

 
At 6:58 AM, Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

I'm torn. Really.

On one hand I don't want people to buy their way to the front.

On the other hand I want the option to spend more and not have to wait with the masses.

Last time I went to Universal Orlando, the line reservation system was free.

I tend to go to parks at off peak times so I don't have to wait.

It seems that if I have problems with this, I'd also have to have problems with many other perks given to people of means. First class seating on airplanes.

I certainly want the ability to purchase those some day.

I also don't want to encourage "victim" thinking. I am a victim because I am not rich.

The truth is, the rich usually aren't the ones buying these perks at amusement parks. I know since I go to a bunch yearly. They are just average joes willing to part with more money than you. Plain and simple.

 
At 7:00 AM, Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

Boy, that comment is a fragmented train wreck. My apologies, but you know what I'm getting at.

 
At 5:51 AM, Blogger The Moviequill said...

if you are a big loser you get into the Vegas buffet lines ahead of everyone, since the VIP section is for the poor saps who dumped tons of cash

 

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