Fried Chicken, Traffic And 'Absolutely Nothing.' Here Are The Things Worth Waiting In Line For In LA, According To Readers
Last month, we saw a photo of people waiting in line for a swing, got confused, and launched a full-scale inquiry about the business of waiting in lines in Los Angeles.
We started by asking you:
Is there anything in L.A. that's actually worth waiting in line for?
According to the more than 100 of you who responded to our query, there is.
Many of the worth-the-wait experiences you specified were food-related.
Some had to do with amusement parks and concerts.
Other things, like sitting in traffic to get to work, were included, but explained as essential to everyday living -- not lines you were waiting in by choice.
When it came to determining whether something was worth the wait, many of you emphasized the novelty of the event/place/thing and used that information to calculate how happy it might make you.
We asked an expert in marketing to explain this phenomenon.
"At one level, lines are kind of annoying and we don't like to wait," said Kristin Diehl, a professor of marketing at USC's Marshall School of Business. "We're all impatient, and it's actually ironic that we're choosing to get into line. At the same time, we can see waiting as a time of anticipation."
The anticipation, Diehl said, is more likely to lead to a more enjoyable experience. So maybe invite along your most interesting friends or make up a game to play while you're waiting in line?
Anyway, here's what you had to say about L.A.'s lines, from the worthwhile to the wildly overrated. (Note: Some of these comments have been edited for clarity and length.)
'ALWAYS WORTH IT'
The first question we asked was the biggest mystery. What's worth the wait?
"Porto's! It is 100% worth it to wait in line for an hour at Porto's bakery, after a half hour drive and a search for parking, for amazing pastries & cakes. No question." --Cynthia Phillips
"Waiting in line to get into either the Huntington Gardens or Theodore Payne's plant sale. While waiting, you end up talking with the other garden-heads, exchange information, worry about how much money you will spend, but thinking, 'Hey, it's worth it. It's a PLANT.' Because in these crazy days, escaping into gardening makes the most sense." --Brenda Rees
"The line for Salt and Straw is always worth it!" --Eliza Peterson
"I'll wait 3-5 hours in line before a live show at Troubadour or Whisky a Go Go to ensure I'm "riding the rails" for a band I love." --Rebecca Base
"French dip sandwiches at Philippe's, breakfast at Eggslut, Hollywood Bowl tickets on the first day they go on sale to the general public, playoff tickets for the Lakers/Clippers/Dodgers." --Christopher Ginnaven
"Howlin' Rays Chicken. That's pretty much it." --TJ Jefferson
"Every anime convention I can get my hands on. In the past, I've also waited in long lines to meet my favorite celebrities either via concert, meet up, or filming." --Pauline Nazareno
"Absolutely nothing. I hate crowds, I hate lines. ... For every popular place, there's another less crowded but equally good place I can visit." --Julie Mitchell
"Traffic itself is a line, so I wait in line to go to work." --Chip Ross
"I don't wait in line for any substantial length of time if it can be avoided. This is Los Angeles, one of the greatest cities on the planet. At any given moment, there are numerous great options for something to do, some place to eat, something interesting to see, etc. At any given moment, several of these numerous options will not have a long ass line and those are the options one should choose if they have any sense." --Reid G.
'DOES DISNEYLAND COUNT?'
We also asked about the buzzed-about activities that you wish you could do, but will not do because of the time it takes to do that thing. What won't you do? What's off limits?
"Howlin' Rays. I crave it, I want it, I see the pictures. I can't wait two hours for a damn sandwich." --Frazier Perez-Yadon
"West of La Cienega" --Janet Kim
"Amusement parks, trendy bars, CatCon. Virtually anything that requires driving on the 10." --Leenda Dela Luna
"Shop on the day after Thanksgiving. Buy gas from Costco after 8 a.m. Get a chicken sandwich from Popeye's. Car wash at Chevron." --Mike S.
"Does Disneyland count? If not, then Hollywood Bowl. Traffic is killer." --Ely Grinvald
"Infinity Mirror Rooms at the Broad" --Sylvia Nunez
"Everything that happens on a weekend" --Talia Parsons
'THE ILLUSION OF DEMAND'
We also wanted to know the activities you tried that did not meet your expectations. You said:
"Any of those pop-up 'selfie' or 'photo op' exhibits... I can't believe how many people are willing to wait in line for a chance to take a photo of themselves." --Scott Kampmeyer
"Pink wall. The 'beer garden' at Abbott Kinney Festival. Anywhere that charges you a bunch of money." --Jake O'Hare
"Almost everything I have ever waited in a line for is not worth it." --James Singer
"Pink's Hot Dogs. Bottega Louie -- it's too noisy in there with nothing to absorb the sound. Would it kill them to get some rugs?" --Adine Forman
"These days everything in LA is overrated. It's not a nice place to live anymore. Overcrowded and too expensive. And way too full of itself. 40 years here. Done." --Clementine Zinn
"Everything that describes itself as 'The Museum of _____'" --Gregory Ronquillo
"Urth Cafe -- there's better cafes in LA. The Grove -- it's just a shopping mall, only go when it's essential. Eataly -- sooooo overhyped. Runyon Canyon -- it doesn't even have great views and there are way more challenging trails. But like if you just want to be seen, you do you boo." --Alex Ford
""Clubs! Night clubs are notorious for the line sink and hook. I did a bunch of promotions back eons ago and that is where I learned that a line is just nothing more than to create the illusion of demand ... lines are usually created to create a buzz. Either that, or they are just incompetent, but lines usually don't dictate anything good" --Liliana Vasquez
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