The era of impatience is upon us.

I walked into a Chipotle yesterday, saw a line about 10 deep, mumbled an expletive that would’ve miffed my mom, and walked out.

I’m an impatient person.  Always have been and always will be.

But as I turned the corned on my way to McDonalds, I couldn’t help but think . . . am I more impatient than I was a decade ago?  Or two decades ago?

The answer is a burrito-sized yes.

Sure, I’m busier than I was a decade ago, and two decades ago I wasn’t living in the city, and we all know that New York injects you with impatience upon arrival.

But still . . . and I don’t think it’s only me.

I think we’re living in The Impatience Era.

The last twenty years have given us so much technology that so many things are available instantly . . . and at our fingertips.  News, television shows, and yes, even burritos, all seem to be “on demand.”

So, when things aren’t available instantly, the modern-day consumer, like a spoiled brat, gets frustrated . . . and may choose to go elsewhere . . . like McDonalds.

This is going to ripple through the theater very shortly, so we better start taking precautions.

What can we do to reduce the lines at the TKTS booth in Times Square?  What about the lines for ticket pick-up at the box office (when oh when will we just get ATM-style pick-up and purchase kiosks)?  How about how long it takes to buy a ticket online?  (Amazon.com answers their customer’s impatience with “1-Click Ordering” – can’t we do the same?)

Of course, the best way to get a customer to not care about how long it takes to get your product is to create such an in-demand burrito show, that they’ll literally wait a year to experience it (Phantom, in its hey-day, or BOM, today).

But those shows are rare . . .  and for the rest of the market, it’s important that we come up with an impatience antidote, because while our audience won’t go to McDonalds instead of seeing a show . . . they could just stay home and watch another type of show on their TV, computer, Netflix, Xbox, iPad, iPhone . . . and whatever will be invented tomorrow.

What about you?  Are you more impatient today than you were?

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

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Comments
  • Bryce says:

    I think the more important question to ask, when discussing impatience, is really theater itself. Like you said our audiences are demanding food, entertainment, friends, connections… etc., and as a society we can access it all instantly (probably from an iPhone). I think theater is facing that very issue and not just in ticket lines but in storytelling methods. We don’t like an episode of something we change channels. I want to watch a movie, so I go to Netflix Instant. I want to talk to someone so I Skype, or Facebook Chat. Theater really doesn’t have this ability.
    If you look at groups like Punchdrunk who are doing Sleep No More, there is instant gratification for an audience. As a viewer grows impatient with one character they just travel to another room or follow someone else. I can’t remember the name of the group but there is a “show” where you are applying for a job and travel all over downtown Manhattan not knowing who is playing a character and who is a real person. It gives the audience member the control and instant gratification for their participation and work. Most theater does the opposite and presents the viewer with a story, ignoring the fact that 400 people are there viewing the story with you. And honestly, I’m kind of tired of being ignored.
    Essentially it all comes down to an argument of a presentation vs. an experience. And frankly I would rather experience a story then be presented a story.

  • Malini says:

    I am most definitely more impatient now to the point where I take it into consideration when producing.
    For eg, when we did Much Ado in the parks, I wanted to make sure the audience was comfortable and welcomed. I had Beatrice and Hera welcome the audience and give them gifts. Something to eat up the time before the show starts. I just know me and I hate waiting. I am now walking into a show almost 10 minutes before curtain so I won’t fidget and text.
    Technology is awesome but now we all have the attention span of a cat.

  • Margie says:

    So why can’t you have someone (like your Godspell Girl or Boy wearing a Godspell hat) cruise up and down the TXS line on Broadway the second it opens and give those who want them, INSTANT Godspell seats if they part with their cash (or bring a credit car imprint thingie). Ticket-wanters stand in line at 3 – they have no idea what shows are out there, but they’ve been told the tix are cheaper here. Isn’t that a win-win for you? Fill the house and make the line-standers happy and get them out of line?

  • Matt says:

    I’m so disappointed that you ate at McDonalds.

  • Douglas Hicton says:

    Patience is a virtue. If you made an effort to just quit being impatient, you’d probably find yourself a lot happier, generally speaking. Other people have to wait in line, too, and your need for service is not greater than theirs. Just deal with it.

  • Bryan David says:

    Dear Mr. Davenport, et al:
    If you think you’ve waiting in line for food is time consuming, you’ve never waited as a Playwright & Lyricist with a dozen (YES 12) Two-Act musicals with one sitting in a ‘maybe pile’ to be accepted or rejected. ‘No’ usually comes quickly and ‘YES’ well ‘YES’ can take forever. You’ve been counting down and have opened, “GODSPELL” I am sitting on Ms. Caplow’s desk waiting for her ya or nay & her one or two page synopsis for your blessing. I’ve Eleven (YES 11) more behind this one but you said send your best (and hope for the best!) and hurry up & wait.
    “Whitechapel” ©
    The Life & Times
    of:
    ‘Jack The Ripper’
    A Musical Love Story! ™
    http://www.myspace.com/jacktheripperwhitechapel1888
    © Copyright 1996/2007
    Bryan David/Brandon Kress
    All Rights Reserved
    All I need is the patience of Job. I’m trying to remember what my Grandmother always told me growing up, “Patience is a virtue.” and so I wait, tick, tick, tick…

  • I have an idea. Until we can actually find a way to make the line shorter or faster-use hashtags to connect the people on line and they can play games with each other. Maybe the winner of a particular game (maybe guessing info about that show, or producer(impatient when buying burritos) or whatever..gets some prize like their ticket is free. Just a thought
    Cheers and I love your blog posts.

  • Mary says:

    This is my take on it. I think we as a nation suffer from a lack of focus and an enormous underestimation of what it takes to turn out a good product, creatively or any other way. (my career has encompassed writing for theater and IT). Habitually, people underestimate the time it takes to turn out a good end product because they confuse “delivery” with “content.” Jon Stewart said it best when he said, “I can write a novel this weekend. It won’t be a good novel but I could write it.” So delivery systems are speedy, so we assume what goes over them will not take focus, concentration and time. This in the creative arena is a huge mistake. Writing, trying to make a scene, story, chapter, work has made me very patient. As for the other issue, I generally keep a pound of smoked turkey and a pound of cheese in my fridge and make a sandwich, add tomato and avocado. I am the fastest fast food restaurant I know.

  • Sprugman says:

    You may not have saved yourself any time by switching restaurants. At least at my Chipotle in Union Sq during lunch time, the workers are such ninjas that a ten person line is nothing….

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