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An excerpt from Michael Sandel's book "What Money Can't Buy"

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Jumping the Queue
 
Nobody likes to wait in line. Sometimes you can pay to jump the queue. It’s long been known that, in fancy restaurants, a handsome tip to the maître d’ can shorten the wait on a busy night. Such tips are quasi bribes and handled discreetly. No sign in the window announces immediate seating for anyone willing to slip the host a fifty-dollar bill. But in recent years, selling the right to cut in line has come out of the shadows and become a familiar practice.
FAST TRACK
Long lines at airport security checkpoints make air travel an ordeal. But not everyone has to wait in the serpentine queues. Those who buy first-class or business-class tickets can use priority lanes that take them to the front of the line for screening. British Airways calls it Fast Track, a service that also lets high-paying passengers jump the queue at passport and immigration control.1
But most people can’t afford to fly first-class, so the airlines have begun offering coach passengers the chance to buy line-cutting privileges as an à la carte perk. For an extra $39, United Airlines will sell you priority boarding for your flight from Denver to Boston, along with the right to cut in line at the security checkpoint. In Britain, London’s Luton Airport offers an even more affordable fast-track option: wait in the long security line or pay £3 (about $5) and go to the head of the queue.2

Read more Morning Joe book excerpts





LEXUS LANES




THE LINE-STANDING BUSINESS










TICKET SCALPING DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS





CONCIERGE DOCTORS









MARKET REASONING








MARKETS VERSUS QUEUES









MARKETS AND CORRUPTION








WHAT’S WRONG WITH TICKET SCALPING?


Scalping Campsites at Yosemite




Papal Masses for Sale


The Market for Springsteen




THE ETHIC OF THE QUEUE








Copyright © 2012 by Michael J. Sandel