How to create while you wait

I hate to loose time (unless I decide so myself, on purpose and for a reason…!). Sometimes I can’t avoid to be in situations where I have to wait. So I try to make the most of that time so it’s not lost. Below is one recent example:

In Luxembourg every car has to pass a yearly technical check up to make sure it’s still in an okay shape to be allowed on the streets.

All they do is check your CO2 emissions, your breaks, the lights and whether your car is not too rusty to fall apart tomorrow.

They send you a paper with a date and time during which you’re supposed to show up (give or take 30 minutes). Of course this ‘rendez-vous’ is always at a day or time that doesn’t suit you. You can call to fix a better day and time of course. Or you can just show up without a slot.

When you don’t have a reserved slot, you get the non-preferential treatment. Which basically mean it will take you 2 hours.

Because even when there are no cars with a ‘rendez-vous’, you still get to wait!
You get in put in the lane with all the other non-rendez-vous people (which today are about 25+ versus zero in the preferential lane) and you wait.

Because even with NO cars in the preferential lane, you just know they are playing with their thumbs in there to make you wait anyway…

So you bring patience, read a book, chat with the other drivers who wait, listen to the radio, … The options are endless.

Every time I come here (and by the way, you can avoid this if you buy a brand new car every 3 years, which I don’t) I shake my head at so much bureaucracy and crappy organizational skills – oh and not to forget the unfriendliness of the technicians taking ‘care’ of you.

It makes me want to become a consultant for them real bad to help them deliver a better, friendlier and faster service (if that’s what they want remains to be proven).

If I were to privatize this service, things would change quickly. I’d add a coffee corner waiting room with comfy couches. I’d add a newspaper stall. I’d have a ‘we clean your car while you wait’ offer. You’d have music playing. I’d probably also have a service where they come and pick up your car to get it checked.

Of course, like with every state-run business going private, you’d probably run the risk of less thorough check-ups. Because time is money and money needs to be saved at every odd and end. But that will not be my problem to solve today…

So what can you do if you’re in the non-preferential lane being treated like you did everything wrong because you should have made a frigging appointment (really! was it too much to ask to make a bloody phone-call to their call center that’s only open at hours when you’re in meetings and where some very frustrated and unhappy people want to get you off the phone as soon as possible so they can continue reading their glossy magazines?) — none of this is researched by the way and pure speculation – so the author of this post cannot be held accountable for any of the above! –

Here’s what you can do:

1. You can write your next blog post.

2. You can take up smoking again (half of the waiting drivers gets out of their vehicle to do just that – so if you cannot beat them, join them?). Nah, maybe not.

3. You can read a short book (try Poke the box by Seth Godin – who will give you lots of tips on initiating things (like a changing this bloody system…).

4. You can observe people and guess what their lives look like (I mean, why aren’t these people sitting on a beach in Palma anyway?!).

5. You can get a tan – if you sit outside the car on the plastic red and white traffic regulating boxes. Then again, that’s only possible if summer is actually here – which today is not the case (and hasn’t been for weeks).

6. You can do your finger nails (and toe nails if your flexible enough to lift them onto the dashboard).

7. You can bring your kids and see what it feels like to go completely bonkers! See the speed with which the technician zooms you through when he has to deal with an hysteric mother at the end of her nerves! Hah! I might even try that next time.

8. You can clean the inside of your car. At least you get one happy person out of the equation (yes, I am so nice as to take my husband’s car through this ordeal for him – because I am a nice person and also because he doesn’t have a blog for which he could write a post while waiting…

9. You can take a nap – albeit a one which will be very regularly interrupted by honking.

10. You can redesign the entire flow of this system and send it to the people who run this place.

11. You can find your way around the new Google+. Set up a Facebook Fan Page. Get a Twitter account. Just so you can enlarge your rant circle.

Oh no…, what just happened?

I just moved my car about 40 meters in 5 minutes!

Have they heard my pleas? Has an entire shift returned from their break?

Darn, I won’t have enough time now to finish my post! Bloody bureaucrats, they really know how to ruin your best of plans!

Don’t worry though. I am sure I’ll be back soon because the lovely technicians will find enough fault to make me come back.

Take that back. I was through in 1 hour and 37 minutes. And a check up paper that says ‘All is A OK’. Which made my husband fall from his chair of laughter. Because this NEVER happens to him.

So I might be going to the yearly car (and trailer) check up for him from now on… More blog posts to come :-)

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