How Long Do You Wait?

At 7am today, the roads are a slick sheet of ice. So are the driveways and sidewalks. We had some snow yesterday which changed to freezing rain. The temps went below freezing last night and now, everything is slick and frozen. It’s dangerous for anyone to walk outside, never mind me, a dizzy broad.

I’m waiting to take out the garbage and recycling. I’m not sure how long I will wait. I hope to remember to get out there before the garbage truck comes around.

I did a little problem-solving, or maybe it’s problem-preparation:

  • I called our DPW to ask if the garbage was delayed. They said, “The trucks are out. They will get there when they get there.” I did not find that particularly helpful.
  • I have some data. I know that the recycling people arrive before the garbage people. I put the recycling in my car. At worst, I would jump in my car and follow them and beg them to take the recycling out of the bins in my car. Yes, I am willing to beg!

I’m planning to wait until the temp goes a few degrees above freezing before I try to take out the garbage. (Mark is still on crutches, due to his Achilles tendon injury.) I’m looking out the window and checking the temperature to see if it’s safe for me to walk on the road to take out the garbage.

We wait a lot. We wait to connect with the people we call, through many layers of menus. We wait in line for restaurants, for the checkout line at the grocery store, for almost anything we want to do.

How long are you willing to wait? Yes, this is a contextually-sensitive question. It depends on the situation.

When we wait for services, we often just wait. This is what happens in doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, and those infernal voicemail menus.

Sometimes, we can prepare for the best possible outcome as I did with the recycling. If we call ahead for reservations or otherwise ease our way, we can work around the waiting.

Sometimes, we can decide that we will choose another action.

I am spoiled by two-day shipping, often free, if I buy enough. I don’t like to wait for shipping and that affects where I shop online. I select other products when I can.

I don’t have a good answer to this question about waiting. Waiting depends on your situation. What are the risks of waiting? What are the risks of selecting an alternative? This question seems to provoke more questions for me.

And, to those of us who create products and services, here’s a slightly different question for you: What do you make your customers wait for and why?

As I drafted this post, I saw the recycling truck drive through the neighborhood. I jumped into the car and followed them. The very nice guy took the recycling out of my car. Am I lucky or what? I managed to get the garbage out to the curb. We’ll see when they pick it up.

That is the question this week: How long do you wait?

2 thoughts on “How Long Do You Wait?”

  1. If it were me, I’d have skipped the trash this week. I keep mine in my garage, which would be cold enough that smells wouldn’t accumulate. And I live more or less alone and don’t generate so much that the can would be overflowing next week. I want my life to be as much a hassle-free zone as possible!!

    1. Jim, for me, it was the spirit of the thing. How could I succeed in my responsibilities? To be honest, I did consider leaving the trash in the garage. However, we would have run out of recycling room.

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