Sunday, December 11, 2022

Sign of the Season

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... in the sense that the lines at Target are even worse than usual. 

The cash registers were a mess. Just super long lines everywhere you look. And the way Target sets things up doesn't help, with one set of registers behind another, and in this case they had registers open that were stacked on top of each other. So it was an ambiguous line situation--is it one line feeding into two registers? Is it two lines? Those of us making up the tail of the line tacitly agreed among ourselves that it was one line.

And then a woman walked up and tried to make it two and all of us 1) knew full well that it was an ambiguous situation, so the woman wasn't wrong, per se, and 2) were too polite to confront her anyway, but 3) were not happy that our implicit assumption was being challenged. But maybe 30 seconds later I took decisive, passive-aggressive (emphasis on passive, honestly) action. "Wow," I said aloud. "These lines are a real mess. It's not really even clear if there's one line or two." 

The woman who had turned it into two lines turns to me and says "Oh, was it one line?" I said we weren't really sure... but we were all assuming (gesturing to the growing line both in front of and behind me) that it was one line. 

She apologetically joined our line and all was well with the world again.

As we got up to the registered, I continued in my leadership role, suggesting the couple in front of me might go up to the second register and then, comparing the cart of the next person at the near register and the people I'd just promoted, I decided to follow them.

And then, someone from way back in the line sees me going to the far line and is like "Hey! We all were treating this like one line!" 

I was suddenly being mistaken for a line-jumper! I cleared up my status though, and muttered to the people ahead of me "I've been the one enforcing one line." They laughed with me. 

Anyway, all of this could have been avoided if Target got their act together and made their lines make sense. Good systems trump (hoping for) good behavior most of the time. 

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