Quite some time ago, just as the cyber circus and the digital disco were creeping up on us like some sort of ambiguous alien sixth dimension in time and space, I remember columnizing that with the coming of this new age in computers and interweb and smartphones there would be mega job opportunities in two fields: distribution and waste management.
OK, so I phrased it: “delivering stuff and cleaning stuff” but these days, it looks like I was in the ballpark. And back then I didn’t even imagine stuff like Amazon and Skip the Dishes, drones or climate change, but I figured that someday we’d most likely be getting our groceries, medicine and other essentials (such as beer) by ordering on the computer and getting them delivered by somebody. And by then there would be so many of us that we’d need more janitors, cleaning services and blue boxes to keep up to the general flotsam and jetsam of humanity. Who knew that such a literal landslide of social media madness would descend upon us before we could say, “CDs, what happened to CDs?”
So while there may be fewer checkout cashiers in department stores on account of self-checking and corporate stinginess there is now a steady stream of delivery people popping up at our doorsteps as often as various proselytizers used to. And since some industry, manufacturing and factory jobs have disappeared because of technology and arrogant robots taking over, those jobs are being replaced by occupations that attempt to make the world healthier and save the environment from ourselves.
But I hadn’t thought of one unforeseen job that has become quite common and actually quite lucrative, especially because of people rapidly shucking off their damn-demic claustrophobia and enthusiastically gathering in herds these days. If you don’t mind standing around all day.
I’m talking of course about the job of “Queue Professional”, also known as “Line Stander”. That’s right, upstanding (sorry) folks can make between $20 – $40 an hour standing in line. As in holding someone’s place in a line – someone who is too busy, too lazy and who obviously has too much money on their hands to be bothered to stand in line themselves.
Surrogate Line Standers wait in queues for concert tickets, book signings, and product releases for people willing to pay but not willing to stand. And these heady days with more people excitingly rushing out to catch up on a couple of lost years in public, business is booming for Queuers.
Long lines have been reported at big city liquor stores, supermarkets and malls. So say somebody doesn’t want to rub elbows and exchange sneezes with strangers to get a hold of the latest iPhone. No problem, if they’re going to pay big bucks for a phone or a 93-inch TV, what’s a few more shekels for someone stand in a queue to pick it up for them?
In fact, a lady by the name of Jennifer Goff has recently started a Professional Line Stander company in Washington, DC. It’s called “Skip The Line” and she has a team of eight to ten Standers and business is, well, outstanding (sorry). She says court cases, particularly Supreme Court hearings are her bread and butter. Apparently, so many people line up to be part of an audience in any court that Jennifer herself often stands in lines for paying customers eight to twenty hours a week!
So if you’re tired of sitting around on the couch in front of the TV earning nothing but a sore backside, maybe you can try professional Line Standing. And, hey, you can still binge on Netflix. It’s 2022 – it’s right there on your phone.
Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. You can send him column ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.