Six times in the last few months, I have arrived in airports – and had to get baggage from a baggage carousel. Standing at the baggage carousel can be mildly infuriating at times. People push their baggage carts right up to the conveyor and stand laconically. Glassy-eyed. Waiting. Whole families including little kids press against the carousel. All hovering over a segment of their temporary turf. Everyone bellies up to the conveyor. Then the buzzer goes off. People press closer. Peering down the line – is that mine? That red one? People grab a bag. Turn it. Nope. Suddenly someone grabs a monster suitcase and swings it backward. Yikes!
I usually observe from a slight distance. Not afraid to get in the mix but poised at some opening in the milling herd to grab my bag when I see it.
It occurred to me that this whole process of recovering luggage could be made soooo much easier for everyone with a simple admonition: take one step back. Think about it. If everyone took one step back at the carousel, they would still be able to see down the line at the oncoming stream of bags. And at the appointed moment, step forward, grab the bag and whisk it away without endangering the knees of their brethren. One step back. That’s all it would take. But then you have someone feeling entitled (there are more and more folks who feel that way – don’t get me started) who steps up to the conveyor. And just stands there. And the herd would follow.