Monday, January 6, 2003


Ethics of Buying a Line Cut

The above linked article rails against the anti-democratization of the ski slopes, but the practice it condemns is already becoming more commonplace. I raved about the Q-Bot after going to Six Flags this summer because I got ride the Superman 4 or 5 times in a day, and still go on other rides, when if I'd had to wait in line, I could've ridden maybe 3 times if I never went on another ride. I bit the bullet and paid extra for the privilge to stand in a shorter line, here's the argument I didn't consider:
But this is a different case. The folks who get to cut into the line up front are holding everyone else back in the rear.

The ski resort has, in fact, sold them your time.

Just unbridled capitalism, you say? Just selling convenient access to the mountain to the highest bidder?

Hogwash. If someone wants to move up in front of me, they can pay me the buck.
Q-Bot, and it's equivalent on the slopes, basically lets the attraction's owner seize the time of people waiting in line and sell it without compensating them. It's kind of like if I tried to cut a line by offering $5 bucks to the guy at the front to get in front of him; he would've been trading in the time of his linemates without their consent -- unless, of course, he got out of line and took my spot at the back.

So, do ski slope operators and amusement parks have the right to steal time from their paying guests and give it to people willing to pay more?
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