A friend of mine was telling the following story last night to a group of our mutual friends, and I agreed to re-post the story here. The incident occurred on the day that my wife and I were moving into our new home. For the record, my wife cannot stand it when people cut in line. It’s her biggest pet peeve. I have watched her castigate little old ladies who were dragging around walkers and oxygen tanks when they cut into line.
It’s quite a sight to behold.
Years ago, we attended the wedding of a friend. During the cocktail hour, the mother of the bride accidentally cut into the hors d’oeuvre line, and Elysha could barely restrain herself.
Perhaps this is where I found the inspiration for my problem solving described below.
On Saturday morning, I was standing in line at the local U-Haul franchise, waiting to pick up my truck. One of my friends was sleeping in his car outside the apartment, waiting to begin helping me move, and several other friends were expected at any moment.
I was in a rush.
After ten minutes of waiting, my friend and I finally made it to the front of the line, where a polite gentleman began processing the paperwork necessary for my rental. Thirty seconds into the transaction, his phone rang, and he excused himself to answer it and take a reservation for another truck.
A minute later it happened again. And again.
It seems as if 9:00 AM is prime time for Last Minute Charlies to attempt to find a truck for the weekend. And each of these under-prepared morons was managing to cut me in line with their phone call, thus delaying my departure.
During the third of these interruptions, I entered the phone number of the U-Haul office into my phone, and once his call ended and the employee returned his attention to me, I placed the call, my hands and phone concealed below the counter.
A second later his phone rang again and he politely excused himself one more time.
“U-Haul Moving and Storage. Can I help you?”
I then raised my phone above the counter, placed it to my ear, and said, “Now that I have your undivided attention, can we finish processing my rental, please? I’ll wait on the line if necessary.”
The gentleman paused for a moment, appearing to take in all that had happened before deciding how to react, and then, after a few seconds, he smiled and said, “Props to you, man.”
My friend then apologized to the employee, saying that it was a jerky thing for me to do, but the man disagreed, saying he hated how often the phone interrupted his transactions with customers.
"Maybe it was jerky, but it was smart, too," the man said.
Either way, I was on my way back to my apartment in less than five minutes.