I live near the UPS distribution warehouse of UPS in downtown Los Angeles. On the occasion when I venture out in my car to drive westward at 9 AM it is likely that I will find myself in the midst of a phalanx of big brown trucks. They pour from the UPS plant, down Blaine St. and empty onto Olympic heading west like the chocolate fountain I encountered recently at a friend’s baby shower. On both sides of me in these large brown box trucks, packages wend their way toward expectant customers all over Los Angeles.
Who are these customers who await the men and women in brown shorts?
1) The stay-at-home mom who ordered the cute die-cut mermaids for her Sea World scrapbook? Perhaps she stands at her sink rinsing out the remains of her second cup of morning coffee and pleasantly anticipating their arrival.
2) The slightly chubby 28-year-old single woman seeking someone? She sits on the sofa in her gym clothes, flipping through a fashion magazine and waiting for her diet supplement to arrive.
3) And me, at my desk at USC, awaiting the delivery of the three copies of each of the plays we will produce next fall?
I am constantly struck with the American obsession with efficiency and time saving. Yesterday, as I ordered some more scripts on Amazon, the screen said, helpfully, “Would you like this item in the next hour?” Stunned, I gazed at the screen in disbelief.
Two things: I couldn’t imagine what object I could need in one hour where I would have turned to the internet to find it. Two, would I have been so derelict in my planning to have not ordered it prior to an hour before needing it? Planning is what I do for a living. I can at least anticipate by two Amazon prime shipping days that which I will need. Get it together people!
And, so, as the herd of trucks winnows to three, peeling off to the left or right, a sole truck remains, leading me to my destination, and guiding all of us consumers to nearly instant gratification.