…getting a warm body to wait in line for you.
That’s right. No more camping out to buy tickets for that big movie release, standing around awkwardly with your frenemies waiting for your chance at the brunch buffet, or standing in line for a chance to shake hands with Justin Bieber.
Not with LineAngel on the case.
One of the latest and greatest apps to call itself the “Uber of [fill inthe blank],” this “Uber of lines” lets users punch in the place and time they’re expecting to need to wait in line. The app then connects them with a local “professional line sitter” who come and, well, be a warm body occupying a space.
For “as low as $18/hr”. They are “trained” after all.
If nothing else, the company definitely earns points for lowering the psychological bar on entrepreneurialism.
The egalitarian in me isn’t thrilled by the idea that the wealthy (or the less-than-thrifty) won’t have to waste their time at the DMV or the grocery store the same way I do. But the “temporarily embarrassed millionaire” in me (to borrow from the Internet’s favorite disputed John Steinbeck quote) looks eagerly forward to the day when the people I pay to wait in line for me can pay people to wait in line for them.
Truly, it does. And the fact that literally anyone with the mental capacity to go to a place and stand there can now become a money-making sole proprietor warms the cockles of my shriveled, Scrooge-like heart. But I have to wonder just how necessary this app is, especially when the technology itself seems sort of…self-defeating.
LineAngel’s existence proves that you can do pretty much anything with your smartphone and an Internet connection. These technologies give us a great boost in productivity (ostensibly), and getting other people to wait in line for us is a prime example of just how effective their far-reaching, crowd-sourcing, on-demand, disruptive, and otherwise buzzwordy apps can be.
The problem is, you can use your smartphone / connected device in a line.
Granted, the DMV isn’t my favorite place to work, but I’ve done it (seriously). A laptop or a decent tablet lets you be just as productive sitting in that world of linoleum, fluorescent lighting, and despair as you are in any modern office setting. Squint real hard and you might not be able to tell the difference.
In the modern, always-connected world, lines don’t just offer plenty of time to be productive; they also allow for some much needed recreation. Most of us feel productive enough just waiting in line that we’re OK surfin’ the web, watching a video, or playing a game we might otherwise have foregone because of that looming deadline or the fact that we may technically be on “work hours.”
I’d also be worried that I’d end up losing my spot when my LineAngel wandered off, or because I couldn’t find parking when my Angel reached the front of the line, or because the world is generally stacked against me and I refuse to be happy for the founders of LineAngel and their potential success.
For now, at over $11/hour + tip, I’ll be waiting in my own lines and praying that my Angels are willing to work on spec when I need them most.
LineAngel is currently in Beta – on both iOS and Android – and users can request to be invited through their website. If you’re in need of a few extra bucks, you can also apply to be a LineAngel there too…
Daniel A. Guttenberg is an Atlanta-based writer who fell into the startup world by accident and has been gleefully treading water ever since. He will be survived by his beard and his legacy of procrastination.
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