To The End of the Line

12 Sep

If there is a line out the door, it must be for something amazing, right? Opening night for a huge summer blockbuster, a celebrity book signing, Black Friday sales – totally hellish sounding to me, but I get it… now how about standing in line for a half an hour for coffee, lunch at a “trendy” restaurant when there are a million other restaurants with no wait, bus when there is a subway station 4 blocks away…

It seems to me that people factor in waiting-in-line-time as part of the activity time, I have even seen waiting in line as a a facebook interest.  The anomaly of the Argentina Line, as I like to call it, continues to baffle me… it’s as if people seek out the longest line and get in the back of it, thinking maybe someone will give them 100 pesos once they get to the front.

The line at Starbucks Alto Palermo stretches out the door and curves around the block – I’m guessing an hour wait just to order. Also note that there are probably 20 other places to get good coffee within a 2 minute radius.

My theory is that people are so accustomed to waiting in line from the lack of organization, they are used to things being difficult to obtain – so a mere 45 minutes is worth the wait. Some other examples of line waiting include:

  1. Renewing of tourist visa – camping overnight just so one can renew her tourist visa all due a two week closing of the immigration office due to rain
  2. Friday afternoon bank/ATM machine
  3. 7pm Rush hour at the grocery store – I’m not exactly sure what Pago Facil is, but I always get stuck behind an old woman trying to use it when the sign at the cash register clearly says they are unable to use it
  4. Anything government oriented
  5. Retrieving movie tickets even though tickets already bought online – no distinct lines between those with tickets, and those who are trying to purchase them.

3 Responses to “To The End of the Line”

  1. Agustín October 30, 2009 at 8:20 pm #

    Allie, I just found your blog and I liked it very much. Regarding your comments about people doing lines everywhere as if they liked it to do them, let me tell you that it is not an argentine tradition but a porteña tradition. I was raised away from Buenos Aires and I come to live here when I was 18 and it's been many years now and I still find it absurd that people do lines. If you make a line to get something that is supposed to give you pleasure (for example a coffee), then you are losing part of its pleasure by doing the line. I always try to avoid lines.


  1. Standing in line for a choripan | Pick up the fork - June 13, 2010

    […] Posted to the wall written in marker and on blank white paper that has been greased and burned, customers have about 5 items to choose from like choripan (chorizo sausage sandwich) and morci-pan (morcilla, blood sausage, sandwich – BLECH!) both for AR$6 each, a vacío (flank steak) sandwich for AR$16, 1/2 portion of flank steak for AR$22. The owner, with his OUT OF CONTROL mullet looks like he just came from a Van Halen concert in 1981, is always around with his local crew, creepily hitting on any foreign-looking tourist in sight – both endearing and really awkward and disgusting at the same time.I came for the choripan (shown above) which I smothered in a green sauce (garlic, oil, parsley) and a red chimichurri sauce.  Even though I inhaled the massive sandwich in a few bites, I did take some time to taste what I was eating.  The chorizo was great, crispy, juicy, not chewy. No complaints there.  I did have an issue with the bread and sauce – I like my bread toasty and my sauce sausaay. The chimichurri had a funny flavor, maybe because it sits out all day long in jars that looks like it came in the time machine with the owner, and the green sauce appeared to be put in the refrigerator for too long so the oil was starting to harden. Basically, good but not enough to hop in back of the Argentine line. […]

  2. Take your anti-Starbucks campaign and shove it | Pick up the fork - July 22, 2010

    […] sucks about Starbucks? I would NEVER go if I had to wait in a line. Ever.  MAJOR CON. Second Floor of Starbucks Las […]

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