So you pull up to the drive-through ATM. There are two lines, each with an identical number of vehicles waiting. What do you do?
At times like these, being wantonly judgmental can save a lot of time. I always go with the line which, in my estimation, contains the vehicles more indicative of good decision-making abilities and clear thinking. Model selection and state of repair are the main criteria.
Accord? Camry? Late-model minivan? Almost certainly fine. Economy car with a driver over 30? Again, probably fine. Kid? Probably not. Car full of teenagers? Definitely not. Big trucks and SUVs are a reasonable bet if there is evidence of use for big truck purposes (trailer hitch, ladder rack, or the like). Big trucks that are obviously exclusively grocery- and kid-schleppers are dicey. This excludes almost all Hummers, for example.
First-year Korean and GM products raise a yellow flag. Anything not built by an American, Japanese, Korean, German, or Swedish company is a red flag. Anything trendy and impractical is questionable. (Smart cars are on that list right now for me, unless I collect significant contrary data.) A hybrid that substantially resembles the non-hybrid version (Civic, Accord, Escape, and so forth) is good. Prius? Roll the dice. Insight? No.
State of repair is important, as well. A neglected newer car is trouble. Any temporary window covering (shower curtain, duct tape, and so forth) that is obviously older than a couple of days is a demerit. Anything over 10 years old that is in unusually good repair is probably golden. He may be a serial killer, but he’s clearly a systematic sort of person, which is all we’re concerned with in the ATM line. I’m particularly impressed when the vehicle is even older, and all of the lights (marker, license plate, etc.) work.
There are two variables. A small one is weighing the relative vehicle characteristics vs. the line length. What if a line contains substantially better vehicles, but is slightly longer? Make a call. Obviously, the longer the line, the less a slight discrepancy matters. Think in terms of average duration per car.
The bigger variable is the open door. Anyone at the machine with the vehicle door open is big trouble, no matter what s/he is driving. Whether the door is open because the vehicle window control is broken/absent, or the driver lacks the spatial sense to pull his/her car close enough to the machine to use the vehicle window, the mental processes occurring in the vehicle are likely of questionable quality, quantity, or both.
I’ve not yet encountered two lines of identical length for which the open door at the machine isn’t enough to tilt the equation conclusively in favor of the other line. The other line would have to be something like a diesel Oldsmobile 98, a $700 car with $5,000 wheels, and a Hyundai Scoupe full of giggly cheerleaders for me to stay in the open-door-at-the-machine line.
Judging books by covers? Yup. No way around it. If you drive a vehicle described as negative above, I apologize. I’m just going with what I see. This method works. Use it. Enjoy.
I help people. That’s what I do.