If you are worth a lot of money for Banorte, one of the largest banks in Mexico, you will know as soon as you enter one of their 900 branches. After you weaken your credit card on arrival, the staff receives a message that you are in the building – and that you are a priority. Follow the assistant who greets you – oh no, don't worry, you don't have to drive with everyone else.
This is all possible thanks to technology made by Wavetec, a specialist in "queue management systems". Wavetec's customers increasingly want ways to prioritize special or high-quality customers, so that the services can be tailored accordingly. It means a special treatment for the few chosen.
It can be done with print on a credit card, but Wavetec also experiments with other tools. For example, Bluetooth can be used to ping the phones to people who go to a business so employees know when a high-value client is nearby.
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"The technology is there, right?" says deputy chairman Tobias Bessone. "It's just about people accepting it or not."
But that's trouble. Not everyone is concerned with growing up "priority cows" or "trapping", which sometimes involves paying an extra fee to skip the main queue. The concept is considered an American phenomenon, but is now spreading all over the world. Queues can be effectively skipped anywhere from airport security to music festivals. Just buy a speed car ticket or "VIP access" pass.
In 2017, Julian Baggini, a column for the Guardian, wrote that this represented a takeover of "money chat". While claiming that the queue has never been as egalitarian as it seemed – the rich have always been treated differently – priority queues simply mean that cash does what class that used to do; segmentation of society.
And yet priority access continues to come up in more and more places. It used to be preserved by amusement parks, especially Disneyland in the United States or Alton Towers in the UK, where a pricier entrance card would let visitors skip the main queues for trips. Hopping to the front by banks – or even Santa's cave – suggests that the idea has now become pervasive in some countries.
However, there may be legal issues regarding the priority queue in certain contexts. Constitutional lawyer Andrew Le Seur has argued that having the ability to pay for fast British border tracking when entering the country seems to be contrary to human rights principles for travelers. "Faster and more private decisions should not be bought and sold by the state," says Le Seur.
Time to money
Government services aside, priority queues often give much meaning, says Ayelet Fishbach, an expert on behavioral science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Fishbach says having a priority access line allows people to choose what resource they want to use to get to the front – time or money. For many people, time is more valuable than money, so being able to transfer money to save time is a blessing.
And customers who do not actually use the fast-track option can still end up forming a rosy picture of the company's customer service – as long as the main queue does not take forever.
"It communicates good service, even if people opt out," Fishbach says.
She also claims that in many situations, the action of the queues increases the perceived value of a product or service. Sometimes this does not work altogether – no one appreciates waiting for two hours at the post office just to send a package.
But elsewhere people embrace love queues. Recently, thousands were waiting overnight in London to buy a couple of coaches as soon as they were sold – the shoes cost $ 180 and were designed by none other than Kanye West. Streetwear brands are increasingly increasing the launch of new products this way – and people seem to love queuing for what is called "drop".
This is a form of recreation queue if you want. It's companionship and expectation rolled into one. What makes it waiting for hours to get into the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships is not only nice but a source of national pride.
Any business thinking of offering a priority queue needs to consider whether it makes sense for a particular brand – is quick access something people really want? Or can it undermine and complicate the whole experience of buying?
Nick Carroll, Director of Retail Sales at Market Analysts Mintel, points out that in grocery stores, queues continue to annoy customers – with 24% currently not satisfied with waiting times in supermarkets.
Various ways to avoid lines in such places are now being tested. "There is particular interest in what Sainsbury is moving forward in terms of self-tracking via smartphone," says Carroll. More than half of the 16-34 year-olds believe that such technology should be more accessible in grocery stores, he adds.
As with 10-or-less priority checkouts, this is a way to categorize customers to try and improve their flow through a retail system. But the sticker problem remains when people can only pay a fee to move faster through that system. This is what seems to annoy many.
Does the phenomenon dictate a two-part society? It seems that the answer is "yes" – but as Colonel Baggini points out, there existed two-part society always. Does cash replace the class a problem? It depends on who you ask.
"These are just market forces that gradually take over many things," explains Dick Larson at MIT. An expert in waiting for a line that goes by the nickname, Dr Queue.  He also points out that people's experience of a queue is not necessarily about how long they spend in it. Importantly, it turns out, what's going on while they're waiting. Famously, mirrors were installed next to lifts in many New York skyscrapers in the post-war era in an effort to reduce waiting times. Instead of harsh thumbs, office workers and hotel guests could instead check out their appearance. Complaints about waiting times, which remain unchanged, shortened.
Spending a little longer in the queue can only be seen as unfair, so if the experience of using that time itself seems troublesome.
There is another way to look at all this. Take the idea, simply, that the queues are old-fashioned. With technology and a better understanding of what customers want and when they want it, an interesting question can be raised: why should anyone ever have to wait in line?
Tiffany Fountain, a vice president of market analyst firm Gartner, points to the example of Apple stores, where customers who need a technician to investigate a broken iPod or Mac can book an appointment before entering the city.
"There is talk of fast tracking, but there is more prevention – before you arrive in the store, let's make sure the line is not there," says Fountain.
Whether it scans groceries while shopping so you Can pay on airplanes or instantly manage bank payments online instead of waiting to do so in the industry, physically standing in line to achieve something that seems increasingly archaic. times when we actually enjoy them, but we probably all share the creepy realization that queues are very often superfluous. If the X-business or Y-service only organized itself better, we would not have to stand here for so long, would we?
Priority queues and highways are perhaps just money-making schemes, but they are schemes that still respond to our sparkling knowledge that most of the time is running for dopes.
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