A More Efficient World
written by Mike Ballew November 6, 2022

Every time I go to the pharmacy I am amazed at how long it takes. I timed it recently and it took more than 5 minutes. I understand there are rules and regulations, but still. 

We both know who I am, they have my meds, I have the money – let’s just do this! I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but it seems like you could scan your credit card and have a machine spit out your prescription. The whole thing shouldn’t take more than a few seconds. Instead, you’ve got a pharmacy clerk rustling through bins labeled A-B, C-D...

Then you have to sign with your finger that you received instructions from the pharmacist. Could we not just sign one contract and have it be good for life? Besides, does that finger signature even mean anything? Mine looks like someone put a tracking device on a squirrel.

The other day we dropped off our car for routine maintenance. We’ve been there numerous times and our car is in their system. Still, every time it’s like changing your flight at the ticket counter. “Let’s see, here you are. Are you still at...? What are you in for today? Oh, here it is, you made an appointment online. Let me just go out and take a photo of your license plate."

Couldn’t they give you a secret code when you make the appointment or just scan your key? I can imagine walking in, tossing them your keys and getting out of there. 15 seconds.

Customer Service

Have you noticed the latest in customer service? You have to stand by while the person does their job. It used to be you could make a request and expect that it would be handled, but not anymore. Now you have to listen as they navigate their computer system and put you on hold a few times. It’s as if their attention would flitter away if you didn’t stay on the line.

Up, Up, and Away

Have you ever sat at the back of a plane and wondered how it can take so long for people to get up and leave? If ever there was an area for improvement, it’s getting on and off a plane.

What if the boarding and unboarding process were shifted to the terminal building? Imagine airport gates replaced by jet sleeves – giant tubes of the plane’s interior designed to slip inside an awaiting jet. Where the windows are the tubes would have large openings for passengers to enter and leave. You could just step on and off, no waiting. Just think, no more annoying boarding-by-row ritual or incessant yammering by the gate agent.

The jet would land, eject a tube of passengers, and pick up another one. The aircraft would only be on the ground long enough to refuel and swap passenger tubes. The airline industry could save millions: less time on the ground means less planes. Of course, every plane would have to be the same size. This could have only been implemented at the dawn of airline travel, before anyone ever imagined how awful flying would become.

A More Efficient World

Charles Duell was the U.S. Patent Office Commissioner in 1889. He famously said the patent office should close because everything that can be invented has been invented. Boy, was he ever wrong.

As a lifelong science and technology buff, I’m excited to see what the future holds. There is a world of opportunity for inventers and visionaries. Hopefully the future will bring more than just wandering around in Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse. 

Money can buy you a lot of things, but it can’t buy more time. Time is our most precious commodity. Technological advances should be aimed at saving time. A better future would include less time waiting and more time spent doing the things that we really want to do. 

Photo credit: Pixabay The Eggstack Blog will never post an article influenced by an outside company or advertiser. Our mission is to help you overcome uncertainty about retirement planning and inspire confidence in your financial future.
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Eggstack founder, Financial Planning Association member, engineer, and software developer.