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Never Stand in Line Again?

That is the promise being made by a company called QLess, which offers “virtual queue management” via cellphone* alerts. Its home page makes this alluring statement/threat: “On average, Americans spend almost 3 years of their lives waiting in line.”

This is one area (perhaps of many) in which I am way below average. I hate lines, and waiting in general, so much that I take great pains to avoid them both, whether it’s a physical line or a telephonic one.

So the QLess premise seems promising to me, if a bit familiar: if I recall correctly, a similar technology is already in place at such fine establishments as Chuck E. Cheese’s. When you show up, they give you a little electronic box to put in your pocket so you can wander around until they buzz you via the box. Granted, the idea of using your own hardware, and not having to physically be on the premises first, is a big advantage. I can see ways in which QLess might backfire — if it’s free for customers, it may get clogged by no-shows, or even competitors — but I can also see how it might make life much more enjoyable.

*In keeping with our occasional renaming exercise, can we please stop calling the cellphone a “cellphone” and instead call it a “mobile,” as the British do, and which makes much more sense?