If I ruled the world

I can wait for hours in an airport. I can wait for days for my new shoes to come in the mail. I can wait for weeks till my next vacation. I can wait for months to move into my company’s new office building. But put me in a line, and all bets are off. I fidget, mutter under my breath, and glare at hapless queuers who wait until standing at the counter to dig through their purses and pockets to find what the signs clearly note that they need. Trust me, I’m no fun standing in line.

Since summertime means summer camp and I have kids, that means I have to stand in my fair share of lines at registration tables. For some reason, I naively believe that having all of my stuff organized and handled before I go will allow me to sail through the check-in process. Unfortunately, I fail to consider everyone else. Regardless of how prepared I am, no matter that I have filled out all the forms and paid online, I am still relegated to queuing up and waiting. And waiting.

Today was one such occasion.

In my (probably unreasonable, I admit) frustration, a brilliant idea germinated. I looked at my daughter and began, “You know what? If I ruled the world…” Then I proceeded to lay out my plan to reward the pre-registered, pre-paid, prepared people on the planet. (Excuse me for being an alliterative mess.) Here it is.

What if, like the special airport security lane for frequent travelers, venues with registration tables actually had TWO tables: one for people who just need to say “Hi, just wanted to let you know I’ve arrived,” and another for everyone else–people with a balance due, who want to add an amenity, who need special handling? The people who arrive transactionally complete can breeze through and get on with business. When they’ve all been accounted for, the registration personnel from that table can help the other table. Voila. Streamlined registration for everyone.

Alas, that was not to be the case today. My daughter and I arrived at camp and waited in the long line at the registration table. When it was our turn, the lady who greeted us asked my daughter’s name, found it on the list, saw that we had no balance, and put a check mark by her name. Thirty seconds after we had stepped in front of her, she sent us to the nurse’s table. There we waited again for our turn, at which point we reported we had no medicines to check in. The nurse found my completed online form (now printed) in her stack, placed a check mark by my daughter’s name, and sent us to the next table for our cabin assignment. Total actual transaction time at both tables: 60 seconds. Total wait time: 30 minutes.

If only I ruled the world.

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