So I went to the DMV. All I needed was a silly little sticker for my car. But I came prepared to wait in long lines, deal with angry-at-the-world clerks, navigate poor signage and combat an overall sense of helplessness.
Apparently, things have changed since I was 16. The DMV has figured it out. They have a guy. He stands at the front. You've got no possible way to avoid him. He says, "What are you here for?" You tell him. He shows you exactly where to go. You go there, and the sign actually says the words you want it to say. I followed signs with arrows that said "Chicago City Stickers" until I got there. Two people ahead of me. Fill out a form, pay, in, out, wham, bam, thank you ma'am.
Some places of business are a pleasure to visit: flower shops, candy stores, Home Depot if that's what gets you going. I could spend hours in Target. But other retail establishments are painfully boring: the bank, the gas station, the drug store, the post office. I think this is why the boring places offer ways to speed it up: ATMs and Speedpasses and drive-thru pharmacies and mailboxes on every corner. I see a widening gap between retailers who lure you to linger for hours, like Anthropologie and IKEA, and retailers who really focus on getting you in and out quickly. Because those guys have finally recognized that society has deemed their offering a "chore." Like getting gas or depositing a check. And so instead of trying to make it more fun or interesting, they go for efficiency. Thanks, DMV, for realizing that some things will just never be fun.