Good things come to those who wait. I’m sure you’ve heard that said at least once in your life. It’s even been used in popular culture:
- A US advertising campaign for Heinz ketchup in the 1980s
- A 1984 song by Nayobe
- A UK advertising campaign for Guinness stout in the 1990s and 2000s
I don’t think that most people actually agree with that sentiment. I’ve seen people pounding on a ketchup bottle, trying to make it come out of the bottle faster because they don’t want their food to get cold. With the Guinness, well, I might make an exception.
Do you believe that people should have to wait for a reward or incentive? I’m sure that you don’t mind waiting for things – waiting in line or waiting for your next vacation and then arriving at the airport only to find out that your flight is delayed.
Oh, you don’t like to wait? Well, I guess there are times when being forced to wait can make you unhappy. For instance, when you’re in your ninth month of pregnancy.
And, surely, there are times when you really shouldn’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Like applying to college.
And then there are times when you’re sorry you waited:
- You’re running late in the morning and get stuck in horrific traffic.
- You forget to use a really good coupon and it expires.
- You ignore a ‘free shipping’ offer and the next day you discover that you really need something from that store. (This is why Amazon Prime is so popular – free two-day shipping.)
Personally, I think that waiting can sometimes feel like agony. Like when I’m trying to work online and I see the “spinning beach ball of death”. If you use a device that runs the Apple® OS, I’m sure you’re familiar with it. Windows® users may be more familiar with the “spinning hourglass of death” (Windows XP or earlier) or the “spinning blue circle of death” (later models). Did you notice that all three are associated with death? Coincidence? I think not.
In 2012, The New York Times published an article by Alex Stone, entitled “Why Waiting is Torture,” which stated:
Americans spend roughly 37 billion hours each year waiting in line. The dominant cost of waiting is an emotional one: stress, boredom, that nagging sensation that one’s life is slipping away. The last thing we want to do with our dwindling leisure time is squander it in stasis.
I can’t help wondering, then, why anyone would inflict this torture on someone they want to reward. Wouldn’t you rather give them instant gratification?
The next time you consider a reward or incentive program, think about the recipient. We believe that instant gratification is a powerful incentive. In fact, we built our business on the idea.