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IQ, others don't

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This morning, I got a first hand taste of this sense of entitlement that afflicts so many young people these days. A couple of co-frogs and I are standing in line at The Hideout, a local coffee house a couple blocks from where I work, and I'm awaiting my turn to purchase one of the breakfast tacos they stock every morning. The line is unusually long, but moving at a reasonable pace.

When I'm around the third customer from the register, a female about 25—let's call her Missy—enters the store and sort of hovers in front of me, but a little off to one side. It's apparent to me that she's trying to access the breakfast tacos sitting on the counter, so I take a small step back.

Missy moves in and begins rifling through the breakfast tacos, desperately searching for one that might bear satisfactory labeling. I figure that once she finds whatever taco she's seeking, she'll move to the end of the line, which is still just as long as when we had walked in due to a steady influx of customers. After all, why should she waste her time standing in line if they don't have her favorite breakfast taco?

So she eventually finds her taco. I even feel a mild twinge of relief as I revel in the leavings of her minor victorious moment. Except—she doesn't go to the back of the line. Instead, she turns to face the register, her back to me, with money in hand. Okay. I turn around to give my co-frogs the obligatory quizzical WTF expression and turn back to face this horrible, horrible person who has just cut in line. Does this young professional-looking woman really think she is going steal my spot in line? Really?


She turns slightly and I crane my neck to make eye contact. "Really?!" I repeat.

"I'm sorry?" Missy asks, surprised and confused.

"I'm sorry. The end of the line is back there," I point toward the back of the store.

"But I'm not ordering coffee," she explains. The Hideout, being a local establishment and not having a small squad of barristas at its disposal, is... well... slow at preparing its espresso beverages. So Missy has a system. In her system, non-espresso orders are faster and therefore should have a higher priority than espresso orders. I'm sure that in her mind, everyone in line would query one another and sort themselves accordingly. Non-espressos up front, espressos in the rear.

Aside from this generally being a shitty system (as systems go), Missy is the only one using it. She believes in her system and she defends it by saying things like, "But I'm not ordering coffee."

"I'm not ordering coffee either." I smugly proclaim. Guilt makes a sudden deep impression across her face.

The system that Missy designed, which was meant to bring harmony and efficiency to local coffee shops around the globe, has failed. She apologizes and relinquishes her spot and takes the one directly behind me...


(A shout out to Gregg Wygonik for the awesome image above.)

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