Swap Places for Ten Bucks


The line at the post office snaked almost to the door. I couldn’t do the self-serve kiosk because I was using Media Mail, so I had to get to the counter. Looked to me like about a 20-minute wait.

I began to contemplate a tactical move. What if I went up to the second or third person in line and offered them $10 to swap places? Not let me cut in line, because that would piss off everyone who essentially got bumped back another spot. No, the person would walk back and take my spot and I’d move into their place, in exchange for an Alexander Hamilton.

They might take the deal. Or they might say no, whereupon the person behind them - or ahead of them - might say, “I’ll do that.”

Not everyone is in a hurry, and for some people ten bucks is a fair amount of cash.

I’ve proposed this idea before, and people say it would anger too many people. But why? If you’re no farther back in line, why would you care which humanoid shape is ahead of you?

It’s socially repugnant, I was told. It’s using money to get your way.

Yeah, I suppose it is. But so what? It soon won’t be my money anymore, and will belong to someone else. I’ve never heard of a more straight-forward transaction, a real-life example of “spreading the wealth around” that someone powerful once suggested.

So I’m wondering: What’s wrong with this?

For what it’s worth, I didn’t do it. I stood in line. And it was indeed about 20 minutes. Next time, I swear I’m busting out the wallet. Would you take the deal?


Photo courtesy of Thought Catalog on Unsplash