Friday, June 22, 2007

Long Line Every Time

Whole Foods introduced a new line system in NYC. A single line forms for all the registers and as a register opens it takes the next person from the big line, just like an airline check-in or a bank. I am the guy who always picks the wrong line and waits behind the shopper with the million coupons, the car attempting to pay a toll in pennies, the movie ticket buyer who needs a plot synopsis on each of ten shows at a multiplex, the rookie who doesn't quite get the self-checkout at Home Depot. I might even be the guy in the shouting match with the person who tries to cut the line. Bravo Whole Foods, Encore (in your suburban stores). The single line is faster, it's fairer and it promotes peace of mind, you just can't make a bad choice.

Although I applaud Whole Foods feverishly, I don't think we can give radical innovation credit. The Department of Motor Vehicles and INS - not generally lightning rods for change - were doing this a decade ago. Why can't we just use the single line with every line, everywhere.

If the major reason for delay in closing the US detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay is finding a place for all the prisoners, then just put them all in a single line. Whenever a space opens at a maximum security prison in the US, keep saying "next" until that long line is all gone.


Shannon said...

They already to this in all the stores in Ireland, grocery, clothing and otherwise. Although I'm not surprised Whole Foods will now market their new strategy as innovative and a unique display of superior American logic.

mhass30 said...

Trader Joe's in Boston already does this.

PS: Only 2 weeks for Shannon to turn into a Euro snob.

shannon said...

I hated America's ego long before I left for Europe, thank you very much.