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Joining a line

We used to think that joining line was a simple matter.  But whether you realize it or not, it is a commitment.  Granted, one that lasts ten or fifteen minutes (if you choose correctly), but one that nevertheless deserves more consideration.  Simply put, there are some guidelines about which line to choose and how to actually get in line.


You need to get into a line and want to maximize the social experience while minimizing the wait time.  For example, you don’t want to get into a line of phone gabbers and wait an hour to check out.  By the same token, you want to spend your time wisely and in good company.  Many times spending quality line time can overcome a the efficiency of a short line.


Do a quick rating of the lines at your disposal.  You want to optimize the experience.  On one hand you want it short and quick so that you can get on to more important matters at hand.  But by the same token, many a relationship has started in line.  And, there have been reports of very accrurate medical diagnoses when you stand by the right physician.  So, it’s best to estimate the amount of time you expect to wait in a given line and do a quick computation of the types of individuals that are in line.  Then get in line and begin to form line-mates.


When you approach multiple lines that you could choose, it is best to do a quick ranking.  Keep in mind that all lines are not the same.  Choose the wrong one and you can spend an hour listening to the latest on feminine hygiene products.  So, it is important to pay close attention to the lines before you even get in one.

  1. As you approach the lines (say in a supermarket or you’re favorite liquor warehouse), immediately grab any line that is very short or has just opened up.  There is no sense in going through mental calculations when the best line is obvious.
  2. If you have several long lines with no clear front-runner, pick a short list of lines.  Each one should show one of the following characteristics:
  • Quick moving
  • Shorter than the rest
  • Happy faces
  • No one on a phone
  • Sexy ladies
  • Sharing of snacks
  1. Observe the short list of lines fo a minute or two.  Eliminate those candidates that exhibit any of the following behaviors:
  • Loud pointless conversations
  • Offensive laughing
  • Sleeping or dozing line-standers
  • Kids with sports equipment, such as bats, tennis rackets, etc.
  • People talking to themselves
  1. It is helpful to buzz a couple of prospective lines quickly.  Get in line, look around, get the vibes.  Remember:  the people directly in front are potential line-mates.  See if you like to spend any time with them.  Check out the line and see if it moves as quickly as you anticipated.
  2. As soon as you are in line, begin line-bonding.  (See Section 9.7 for more details.
  3. Keep an eye for any opportunities in other lines.  Remember your choice is always reversible, although it is always better to make that decision as early as possible.

Once in line, consider your new home for the short term.  The people around you are your neighbors.  You don’t have to like them or become their best friends. Consider the initial time once of interviewing prospects.  Find the line-mates that you can talk with.  Remember these initial moments are critical and are essential if someone begins making a phone call.  You want the line on your side.

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