I’ll admit it: I have a few pet peeves.
One of them is when rules are made up. Here’s an example from the security checks at Lollapalooza:
Security at the three-day music festival consists of bag checks. Twenty feet beyond the bag check is the actual entrance to the festival. Let’s call it “No Man’s Land.”
On Saturday as my wife, Amy, was getting her bag checked, I stood in this neutral zone waiting for her. That’s when the gate attendants told me I couldn’t stand there.
Curious, I asked them why. They responded by telling me the same thing again.
“You can’t stand there.”
So, I asked again.
I wasn’t holding anyone up. I wasn’t preventing anyone from entering Lollapalooza to see their favorite band. I was just simply waiting for my wife, just in case there were any problems with the bag check or with one of our entry wrist bands. Here I was thinking I was doing the gentlemanly thing.
They didn’t think so but still could offer no reason as to why I couldn’t stand where I was. Things got a little more heated as Amy made it through the bag check.
Once I cleared through the gates, I said a little flippantly, “Sorry, I was waiting for my wife.”
One of the attendants told me, “You could have waited for her inside the gates.”
I looked back and said to him, “But I waited for her back there and didn’t cause a problem, what’s the big deal?”
He gave no answer.
See, there’s my problem: The lack of answers and the lack of reasons. Had one of them provided me with a suitable explanation, I would have gladly complied, even though it didn’t seem to be a problem standing in the neutral zone.
I don’t think seeking an answer is an unreasonable request.
The guards could have simply told me I couldn’t stand there for security reasons. They could have told me the neutral zone needs to be clear at all times, because crowds were unpredictable or whatever, but they didn’t.
Amy was my priority, not their made up rule.
But hey, at least they didn’t kick me out.
To add to this, there’s the problem of selective enforcement of rules. Admittedly, that’s another pet peeve (surprised?).
On our return flight from Chicago, Amy and I handed our boarding passes over to the gate agent. Everything seemed smooth until she told Amy she would have to gate-check her bag because it was “oversized and wouldn’t fit in the overhead compartment.”
We tried to calmly explain that we brought the same suitcase to get here and it fit in the bin just fine.
She didn’t budge or care, nor did she offer an explanation. I don’t even think she even listened. This rule was being applied to us, “because she said so.”
Meanwhile, people with the same size suitcases were walking past us, bags in tow, headed down the jet way.
This is selective enforcement.
It’s where the rules don’t apply to everyone equally. I get it — that’s the way of the world. Life isn’t fair, and all that. All I’m asking for is a little cooperation, an maybe an explanation, instead of just “because I said so.”