Impatience and Inefficiency


Every time I’m standing in line at the grocery store, the same thought pops into my head: this is so grossly inefficient. As someone who is a mediocre programmer but a really excellent lazy person, I crave streamlining things – figuring out a way to stop repeating similar tasks, over and over again.

Waiting in the “10 items or less” line, I watched as other lines progressed faster. I’m not sure what was going on, but time seemed to drag as more and more people got into line and crowded the registers.

I began wondering when it was that I got so impatient. Did the rise of technology and mobile devices ruin my patience? With all the wonders and distractions available on my phone, why was I so bothered with waiting in line?

I do dream of the day where we no longer have to stand around and watch another person manually scan each of our items, one by one by one. I do feel like my ability to be patient has worsened over the years, but when I think of all the time I cumulatively spend in line at the grocery store… I want that time back.

What made matters worse: when I got home, I realized I had forgotten to get some items on my list. Which was on my phone. Which I failed to check. So I had to walk back to the grocery store again, and go through the whole process a second time.

How terribly inefficient of me.

Related:
Amazon Go: Grocery Store with No Checkout Lines
The Allure of Automation in an Imperfect World
Gathering Food, Gathering Storm

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