There are few things that irritate me more than having to stand in line. It’s the reason why I still keep my EZPass years removed from the sale of my car. When I started traveling domestically and I saw how long the TSA line could become, I immediately paid the $85 for TSA Pre (no more removing shoes for me!). International travel introduced me to customs and immigration, and even though I rarely fly abroad, the $100 fee was worth enrolling in Global Entry.
Years ago, I was on 125th Street – Harlem, heading to All Eyes On Us Optical. An online contact lens seller required an updated prescription to fill my order and this optical would perform a free eye exam. The streets were crowded and there was a massive line from the optical down to the avenue. Is all of Harlem getting a free eye exam? People were queued up in tents and lawn chairs. I maneuvered my way around the crowd and it all became clearer: the optical happened to be located right next to a Foot Locker. It turns out the line was for the release of some sneaker. The Foot Locker was to receive a limited supply and people were lined up in hope to snag a pair.
I walked in to the optical for my exam. Speaking with the optometrist the topic of the line arose. It turns out that people started camping out a couple days beforehand and the sneaker was not set to be released for another week. The thought of camping out for this long, for the “opportunity” to spend my money? That is going to be a hard pass. Working for what can sometimes feel like peanuts is already exhausting enough. But waiting hours or even days to exchange (within minutes) my labor for something which is a want is not appealing. Even if money were no object and I made an infinite amount, there is one thing no one can make more of: time.
I consider myself lucky not to have been bitten by the “sneakerhead bug”. Maybe it’s a result of my youth, where my parents bought me one bargain pair of sneakers and I wore them until the outsole had no more grip, the heel had lost its cushioning and on rainy days part of my socks got wet because the toe box was worn out. When this happened we would go back to the bargain bin and hope to get a better deal than last time (no line required).